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Klaebo signs off season with seventh straight win as Amundsen claims Crystal Globe

Mar 17, 2024·Cross-Country
A Norwegian clean sweep: Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (left), Harald Oestberg Amundsen (centre) and Erik Valnes (right) claimed the three top spots in the men's overall World Cup rankings © NordicFocus
A Norwegian clean sweep: Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (left), Harald Oestberg Amundsen (centre) and Erik Valnes (right) claimed the three top spots in the men's overall World Cup rankings © NordicFocus

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) won the 20km Mass Start Free in Falun, Sweden, on Sunday, to cap off the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2023/24 season with seven straight individual victories.

The 27-year-old Norwegian superstar's 15 wins this winter were however not enough to clinch a third consecutive overall Crystal Globe. Instead, Harald Oestberg Amundsen (NOR), who has shown a consistent high level throughout the season, took the overall title on 2,654 points - 54 more than Klaebo who had to settle for the second place. 

Having missed crucial parts of his 2023/24 campaign, including the Tour de Ski, due to illness, Klaebo could still look back at an impressive season. He signed it off with a mass start masterclass, finishing 0.4 seconds before runner-up Gjoeran Tefre (NOR) as Martin Loewstroem Nyenget (NOR) in third place made it an all-Norwegian podium in the Falun sun.

"It was nice with the weather and so many spectators," Klaebo said.

"It was a little bit difficult with the speed on the skis. I felt like where it was dry it was pretty slow but I’m really satisfied."

The overall sprint champion said before the season that his main focus was the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Trondheim, Norway next year. He had a month out of competition before coming back to Oberhof, Germany in the end of January. After missing the individual podium in Oberhof he won 12 of 15 competitions and will know exactly what to do to top his form at this time next year.

"Since Oberhof it’s been really amazing so it’s good to finish off this way," Klaebo said.

He had picked up the maximum of 30 sprint bonus points along the way, with Amunsen behind him at the 5.8km and 15.8km marks adding 24 points to his overall tally.

With 2.5km remaining of the race, a group of 17 skiers were within seven seconds of each other in the front, Amundsen sitting comfortably in the back as Klaebo made sure to stay among the first positions.

"It just makes the victory taste even better" Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo on winning a Norwegian one-two-three in Sweden, in front of the Swedish king

Klaebo, Tefre and Nyenget were side by side coming into the home straight but there, the best sprinter in the world was once again unbeatable as he pushed past Tefre to finish first, with Nyenget 2.2 seconds behind the winner.

"In the last 100m it was really dry snow and I was struggling a lot but I managed to keep up the pace and finish first which is great," Klaebo said, adding that the Norwegian clean sweep in Sweden 'just tastes even better' knowing that Sweden’s king Carl XVI Gustaf was in the stands.

For Tefre, who made his only World Cup race this season, the second place was a phenomenal result. The 29-year-old had finished second in the team sprint in Planica, Slovenia, in December 2019, but this was the first individual podium of his career.

”It’s fantastic. I have almost not realised it. I am empty for words. It was a perfect day,” Tefre said.

Nyenget, who finished fourth in the distance standings and fifth in the overall, ended his season with two podiums in Falun, having finished third in Saturday’s 10km.

Watch as it happened: Klaebo finishes in beauty with seventh straight win

The Norwegian top trio were followed by a big group as 15 skiers crossed the finish line within 10 seconds of the winner. Fourth-placed Jules Lapierre (FRA) missed the podium by 0.8 second as Mika Vermeulen (AUT) took the fifth place a second behind him. Jan Thomas Jenssen (NOR) came sixth, Hugo Lapalus (FRA) seventh before the best home skier, Jens Burman, in eighth place.

Germany’s Friedrich Moch ended his season with a ninth place as 23-year-old Iver Tildheim Andersen (NOR) made it five Norwegians in the top-10.

Amundsen, who finished 17th 19.4 seconds after the winner, kept it calm and did what he had to do to earn Norway’s 18th overall Crystal Globe – twice as many as No.2 Sweden have. The 25-year-old from Asker ski club was a promising teenager with several junior and U23 world championships titles, but has yet to finish first at a senior world championships, where he has a 15km Free silver and bronze to his name.

Amundsen has been consistent this season, starting 34 races to bag a total of 10 podiums; three wins, three second-places and four times in third. Last year he had to settle for one win and a third place, having landed his only individual podium before that – in 15km Interval Start Free – in Falun in March 2022.

Also securing the distance Crystal Globe, Amundsen leads a field of five Norwegians in the top of the men’s overall standings, where Erik Valnes claimed the third place and Paal Golberg finished fourth.

Click here for full results from the Men’s 20km Mass Start Free and here for the men’s World Cup standings.

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