Niskanen golden in 15 km classic at Lahti 2017

(Lahti, Finland) - At the age of twenty-two Finland's Iivo Niskanen was already an Olympic Champion in the team sprint at the Sochi Games.  Now at the age of 25, he is World Champion in the 15 km classic in Lahti, Finland.  Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby started 6 bibs behind Niskanen but never led him at any split points.  The closest they were all day was 0.5 seconds at the 1.5 km mark. By the 9.5 km mark Niskanen had increased his lead to 25.3 seconds but at the finish it shrunk down to 17.9 seconds but remained a clear victory for Niskanen.  Sundby took his second silver medal of the Championships and was joined on the podium by his teammate Niklas Dyrhaug for the bronze +31.3 seconds slower than Niskanen.  

This was Dyrhaug's first individual World Championship medal to go along with a team gold in the relay from Falun two years ago.  Dyrhaug trailed Russia's Alexander Bessmertnykh but a strong final few kilometer's secured him the bronze.  In 5th place there was a tie between Norway's Didrik Toenseth and Russia's Andrey Larkov +53.2 seconds off the winning time.  

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ATHLETE QUOTES

Iivo Niskanen (FIN)
After first intermediate I felt quite fresh. Everybody was cheering on me. I had difficult last kilometres but I was thinking about myself and I said to myself I was not going to lose 20 seconds. It is such an awesome feeling to win. I was dreaming that one day I could sing national anthem in Lahti and the dream has come true. I think I am the happiest man on Earth now.

Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
Iivo showed he was in a great shape for the World Championships. My race was good. I felt I was fast and when I heard I was 20 seconds behind Iivo I could not believe it. At the end I think I did one of my best 15 km C ever. I felt good the whole way but it was not possible to win today.

Niklas Dyrhaug (NOR)
I tried to ski four laps in the same pace. I wanted to have the best 15 km. When I heard I was 3 seconds behind Bessmertnykh it was still some kilometres left. I had some energy left and I could dig deep in the last lap. I did not hear anything as it was so loud in the forest. I fought for every second.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS

MEN - 15 km classic interval start 

1. NISKANEN Iivo 1992 FIN 36:44.0
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984 NOR +17.9
3. DYRHAUG Niklas 1987 NOR +31.3
4. BESSMERTNYKH Alexander 1986 RUS +41.8
5. LARKOV Andrey 1989 RUS +53.2
5. TOENSETH Didrik 1991 NOR +53.2

Men's RESULTS