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Klaebo claims sixth straight victory with 10km masterclass

Mar 16, 2024·Cross-Country
Finland's Iivo Niskanen (left) with Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (centre) and Martin Loewstroem Nyenget (right) on the podium © NordicFocus
Finland's Iivo Niskanen (left) with Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (centre) and Martin Loewstroem Nyenget (right) on the podium © NordicFocus

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) secured his sixth consecutive victory in the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup as he crushed the competition in the Men’s 10km Individual Start Classic in Falun, Sweden, on Saturday.

The Norwegian 27-year-old sprint ace has found a top shape across the disciplines, three of his six straight victories coming in distance races. Klaebo won his 83th World Cup race – the 15th this season - by a margin of more than 22 seconds before runner-up Iivo Niskanen (FIN), saying afterwards that he could have gone faster if he needed to.

With the starting number 70, however, Klaebo was well informed about his opponents’ times throughout the race and could pace himself well in the snowy and windy conditions to save energy for Sunday’s 20km Mass Start Free while still taking a convincing victory, as Martin Loewstroem Nyenget, 24 seconds after his teammate, made it two Norwegians on the podium.

"It was a hard race," Klaebo said.

"With the snow and the conditions and everything it was really, really tough one but I had amazing skis and I feel like the waxers have done a really good job waxing our skis, so it was cool to finish off this way."

Niskanen, whose sister Kerttu Niskanen had won the women’s race a few hours earlier, plowed on with a powerful poling in the heavy snowfall, long looking like it could be another double victory for the Finnish siblings.

But the 32-year-old with bib No.46, whose eight World Cup wins have all come in the 15km distance, could not do much at Klaebo’s times as the Norwegian superstar started to beat his times when he was coming to the end of his race.

Niskanen was not happy with his choice skis as he missed the penultimate chance to claim a victory this season.

”It stood between two skis and I’m not sure that I picked the right ones,” said Niskanen, who had to settle for second place in a classic distance race for the third time this winter.

”It is a little bit disappointing even though this is a good race and one of may best performances this season.”

"I did not make the same mistake"Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo on runner-up Iivo Niskanen who was unhappy with his choice of skis

Klaebo said the first thing Niskanen had told him after he took over the lead had been that he must have had very fast skis. 

"I did not make the same mistake (as Niskanen)," Klaebo said.

"I had really good skis so I am really satisfied with that choice (of skis)."

Nyenget clinched the third place 24 seconds behind Klaebo, beating teammate Didrik Toenseth (NOR) by 0.3 second. It was the seventh podium this season for the Norwegian 31-year-old who finished first in the 10km Classic in Ruka, Finland, in November, and holds the fifth place in the overall World Cup standings.

Those standings still have Harald Oestberg Amundsen (NOR) on top with 2,582 points. The Norwegian 25-year-old, who finished third in Friday’s sprint, had to settle for an eight place on Saturday but is the favourite to win the overall Crystal Globe as the World Cup concludes on Sunday.

Amundsen is 112 points ahead of Klaebo, who has missed crucial parts of the season due to illness and would surely like the season to last a bit longer.

"One last race tomorrow. It will hopefully be a little bit better weather so let's see how that goes," Klaebo said.

"The season has been really good so far so I'm looking forward to finishing it up tomorrow."

Henrik Doennestad in fifth place and No.7 Erik Valnes made it six Norwegians among the first eight, as Mika Vermeulen (AUT) made a solid race to finish sixth.

Italy’s veteran sprint ace Federico Pellegrino finished ninth, 52.8 seconds after Klaebo, and Michal Novak (CZE) completed the top-10 just over a minute after the winner.

Click here for full results from the Men’s 10km Interval Start Classic.

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