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Jouve and Jay joyous after team sprint triumph

Jan 22, 2023·Cross-Country
France's Renaud Jay (left) and Richard Jouve (right) won the men's team sprint: @Nordic Focus.

On Saturday, Richard Jouve was centimetres from snatching the sprint victory off Norwegian ace Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo at the COOP FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Livigno, Italy.

On Sunday, the French 28-year-old made another strong finish and got to climb to the top of the podium with Renaud Jay in the team sprint.

The French duo were in fifth position as Jay exchanged to Jouve in the final's sixth and last leg. Coming into the long home straight, Jouve was third, with a lot more energy in the tank, sprinting to his fourth World Cup win, 0.44 seconds before runners-up Francesco De Fabiani and Federico Pellegrino from Italy. Switzerland, with Janik Riebli and Valerio Grond, finished third.

"Richard did a very good job to give me the first place," Jay said.

"I tried to keep (among the front skiers) until the last leg and I knew that Richard was very strong here, so I did my best and Richard finished the job."

Claiming his first World Cup victory in the team sprint, Jouve made the French tactic sound easy.

"The plan was to be on the podium," he said.

"We win, we are very happy to end this weekend with a first-place."

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In the women's team sprint, the Swedes finished off a successful weekend in the Italian Alp resort with another dominant display as their two teams claimed the podium top spots.

Maja Dahlqvist and Linn Svahn won the race before Jonna Sundling and Emma Ribbon, USA's Rosie Brennan and Julia Kern finishing third.

"I love to sprint with Maja," 23-year-old Svahn said.

"We've been a good team before and in our last sprint we came second so it was like 'OK, now we are going to get a rematch', so it was nice."

The plan worked out for Sweden's team sprint winners Maja Dahlqvist (left) and Linn Svahn (right): @Nordic Focus.
The plan worked out for Sweden's team sprint winners Maja Dahlqvist (left) and Linn Svahn (right): @Nordic Focus.

Dahlqvist had finished second behind Sundling as Sweden made a clean sweep in the women's sprint on Saturday, Emma Ribbon finishing third.

In the team sprint final's last leg, Dahlqvist and Sundling were up against each other again.

"I feel like we've been doing it so many times," Dahlqvist said about sprinting it out against her compatriot.

"If we don't win we want them to win, so it's (mixed feelings), but it's fun. And she (Sundling) is so strong so it's fun to win."

Dahlqvist, 28, stayed in second place, saving some energy for the long sprint.

She and Svahn had spotted a camera position next  to the course where she should shift gears and go for the first place.

"That was my attacking point," Dahlqvist said.

"Linn was like 'just go by the camera man and you will take it'. That was the only thing I was thinking about."

The plan worked, Dahlqvist pushing past Sundling to win 0.73 seconds before the other Swedish team.

"When I saw that she was behind Jonna and attacking by the camera man I was jumping, (realising that) this is our day," Svahn said.

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Svahn, who had been out of World Cup action for almost two years due to a shoulder surgery, can look back at a successful comeback weekend, finishing fifth in Saturday's sprint before claiming her 12th World Cup win on Sunday, showing that she is in it for the medals as the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica, Slovenia, kick off in a month.

The World Cup continues on Friday 27 January with three competition days of 10km individual free, sprint and 20km mass start classic, in Les Rousses, France.

Click here for full results from the women's team sprint and here for full results from the men's team sprint.

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