(Lillehammer, Norway) - Through two weekends of competition to start the 2017-18 FIS Cross-Country World Cup season Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway remains unbeaten. It appeared that the race was over on the long final climb with Martin Johnsrud Sundby lifted the pace and pulled away from the leading group. Only Klaebo and Hans Christer Holund (NOR) were able to stay close but it looked like Sundby had made the winning move. However with one hill to go Klaebo turned on his sprint gear after trusting a fast pair of skis to keep him close on the long downhill and closed the gap and overtook Sundby to winning his 5th in a row. Sundby crossed 1.3 seconds later followed by Holund +6.8 back to complete the Norwegian sweep of the podium. Holund was third here in 2015, the last time Norway swept the men's podium.
Norway took the top 4 spots today despite having 5 nations in the top 10. The World Cup now moves from Scandinavia to middle Europe with the first stop in Davos, Switzerland with a free technique weekend with a sprint and 10/15 km interval start.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
I gave Sundby little bit of a gap but I did not want the distance to be too big. I knew my skis were fast. During the long downhill I could recover a little bit and I had some power left. It’s great fun to win a distance race but it’s unbelievable what happened today. I had not dreamed about being ready to fight for the victory in a 30 km race.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
I had to try to shake Johannes and the rest of the guys off my back in the final climb, and I almost made it, but he’s a fantastic skier and we’ll just have to learn from him. I knew he had a much higher speed than I had. I realized it’s done a long time before we’re on the final few meters. But I did what I could to shake him off, but today I’m not good enough. But as I said, he’s unbelievably good. I’m impressed!
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
I thought the last climb was a bit tough and we started to fall pretty far behind. So that Johannes are able to catch up with Martin is nothing but impressive. I think I’ve never seen a more complete skier than Johannes. I’m on the podium and together with the boys I’m competing against, it’s not something I’ll experience every day. I’m very, very happy to be on the podium today.
MEN 30 km Skiathlon
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot 1996 NOR 1:16:47.1
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984 NOR +1.3
3. HOLUND Hans Christer 1989 NOR +6.8
4. KRUEGER Simen Hegstad 1993 NOR +10.9
5. MANIFICAT Maurice 1986 FRA +11.3
OVERALL WORLD CUP STANDINGS
1. KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot NOR 526 pts
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud NOR 328
3. BOLSHUNOV Alexander RUS 282