LIBEREC, Czech Republic (Feb. 22) - Petter Northug of Norway took in the first World Championship gold of his career Sunday as he won the men's 30K pursuit at the FIS Nordic World Championships in Liberec. James Southam (Anchorage) led the way for U.S. men finishing 33rd.
"That was James' best result by 15 places so that was really good for him," U.S. Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "He skied his best in the classic part and faded a little bit towards the end of the race, but still, that's his best Worlds finish. He's got to be really happy with that."
Sweden's Anders Soedergren finished second and Giorgio Di Centa of Italy was third.
According to Vordenberg, the stress level and challenging equipment issued are an added benefit to being at Worlds as the Team looks toward 2010.
"It's been similar every day with the waxing being pretty tricky. It takes a lot to get it all dialed in," Vordenberg said. "It's a little bit of a stressful situation, but I really like it because it's going to be a lot like this in Vancouver. It's really good practice for us. It's been stressful but in a really good way. We're learning to work in these conditions and come up with good skis."
Up next for the cross country athletes at Worlds is the freestyle sprint on Tuesday.
"We have the spring and that's been one of our best for sure. We have a bunch of gamers for that race and we've got the staff totally dialed in," Vordenberg said. "I'm really excited about our possibilities in that race."
Daily news and video highlights are available from the World Championships on UniversalSports.com presented by High Sierra.
2009 NORDIC SKI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Liberec, Czech Republic - Feb. 22, 2009
Men's 30K Pursuit
1. Petter Northug, Norway, 1:15:52.4
2. Anders Soedergren, Sweden, 1:15:55.5
3. Giorgio Di Centa, Italy, 1:16:04.3
4. Alexander Legkov, Russia, 1:16:12.5
5. Roland Clara, Italy, 1:16:16.0
33. James Southam, Anchorage, 1:17:36.6
DNF: Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT)
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For complete results click here.