Northug secured the home victory - Swedish ladies also top
In the 4 x 10 km men's relay competition of the World Cup weekend in Beitostoelen (NOR), the Norwegians were able to celebrate a home victory.
Team Norway I with Eldar Roenning, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Ronny Andre Hafsaas and Petter Northug claimed victory in a time of 1:48.50,7h, just 5,1 seconds ahead of the Russian Team (Maxim Vyleczhanin, Nikolai Pankratov, Alexander Legkov and Ilia Chernousov). The third spot took the Germans (Jens Filbrich, Axel Teichmann, Rene Sommerfeldt and Tobias Angerer) finishing 11,8 seconds behind the winning team.
The race was tight and the decision of the victory was done in the last round of the fourth leg. Norway, Russia and Germany were together until approx the last three kilomters where Tobias Angerer (GER) couldn't follow the last racers of Norway and Russia. Petter Northug searched then the decision on the last uphill where he attacked Chernousov successfully.
In the 4 x 5 km ladies competition, the Swedish team with Anna Olsson, Sara Lindborg, Anna Haag and Charlotte Kalla took the victory 16,7 seconds ahead of the favourites from Norway I (Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug, Kristin Steira and Marit Bjoergen). The third place went to Finland (Pirjo Muranen, Virpi Kuitunen, Riitta-Liisa Roponen and Aino Kaisa Saarinen) with a gap of 22 seconds to the winning team.
It was an exciting competition in ideal winter conditionn with fresh snow. On the last round, the top three teams were very close together but then Charlotte Kalla attacked and managed to make a gap to Norway and Finland. For the Swedish ladies it was since February 2007 in Davos the first victory in the World Cup relay.
After this weekend, Norway is leading in the Nations World Cup ranking ahead of Sweden and Russia.
Contributed by Sandra Spitz (FIS)