Norway takes both relay events in Ulricehamn

Today's team relay's in Ulricehamn capped off a great weekend up competitions for the first time World Cup venue.  In the ladies' relay Norway dominant from the second leg when Heidi Weng openned up a big lead over the chasing teams and then began the battle for the final spots on the podium.  Charlotte Kalla skiing third leg for the Sweden I team took over the chase with three other teams including Germany, USA, Norway II.  Each team took their turn trying to separate from the group and pull seconds back from Norway I.  On the final leg it was the hometown favourite Hanna Falk for Sweden who attacked with just a under 2 km remaining in an attempt to get rid of Germany and USA I.  All three final leg skiers for those teams had top 10 finishes the day before.  In the end it was Germany anchored by Sandra Ringwald who took second place - for the team's first podium since 2010 - just ahead of Falk in third by just 0.2 seconds.  The USA's Jessie Diggins wasn't able to overtake the two athletes on the finishing stretch and had to settle for 4th place just 0.2 seconds from third.  Norway saw their lead shrink of around 25 seconds to just 8.8 seconds in the finish but were never under threat of being caught with Marit Bjoergen skiing their final leg.  

Just when it seemed that the racing couldn't get anymore exciting the men's relay came down to 9 teams together with just 2 kilometers remaining and at the finish all nine were separated by just 3.8 seconds.  From the beginning it looked like it would be a showdown between final skiers for Norway I with Finn Haagen Krogh and Sweden I's Calle Halfvarsson and it was Norway ultimately that took the win in the final meters of the competition.  Several teams had anchor skiers with sprinting ability and it was Canada's Len Valjas who brought his team home for their first ever men's World Cup relay podium.  It was Len Valjas' second World Cup podium in the last two World Cup weekends with his team sprint win with teammate Alex Harvey last weekend in Toblach.  For Harvey it was his 3 podium in a row which included two wins.  

The World Cup now travels across and up Sweden to Falun the site of the 2015 FIS World Ski Championships for a free technique sprint and mass start classic competitions 28-29 January 2017. 

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ATHLETE QUOTES

Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
It was closer at the end that I thought. I think I did a good race. When I crossed the finish line I saw the other girls were only 100 m behind me.

Sandra Ringwald (GER)
I did not want to be fourth again. I managed to stay in contact with Hanna. I gave everything I had. It is absolutely amazing to be 2nd.

Hanna Falk (SWE)
It was again a great experience. I tried to ski easy at the beginning. I was not sure if I should wait for the final sprint or try before. I tried to break away. I was motivated by the audience. It is great we made it to the podium.

Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR)
Calle was in the front before the last curve but I skied the turn nicely before the finishing stretch. I had a dream finish. It is an amazing feeling to win the relay.

Calle Halfvarsson (SWE)
I am of course not satisfied. I thought it was going my way, but I had a pretty bad curve before the finish and Finn gained higher speed.

Devon Kershaw (CAN)
It’s a first time podium for Canada in the relay. I have been waiting my whole career for this. All the guys did a great job today.

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OFFICIAL RESULTS

LADIES - 4 x 5 km relay 

1. NORWAY I  50:33.3
OESTBERG Ingvild Flugstad 13:08.4
WENG Heidi 13:17.7
JACOBSEN Astrid Uhrenholdt     11:58.0
BJOERGEN Marit 12:09.2

2. GERMANY   +8.8
HENNIG Katharina 13:20.3
BOEHLER Stefanie 13:24.7
CARL Victoria 11:54.7
RINGWALD Sandra 12:02.4

3. SWEDEN I  +9.0
INGEMARSDOTTER Ida 13:08.8
HENRIKSSON Sofia 13:34.9
KALLA Charlotte 11:55.8
FALK Hanna 12:02.8

4. UNITED STATES I  +9.2
BRENNAN Rosie 13:19.4
BJORNSEN Sadie 13:23.5
STEPHEN Elizabeth 11:57.3
DIGGINS Jessica 12:02.3

5. NORWAY II  +44.8
WENG Lotta Udnes 13:09.8
SLIND Silje Oeyre 13:34.5
HAGA Ragnhild 11:55.5
SLIND Kari Oeyre 12:38.3

Complete ladies' results are available HERE

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MEN - 4 x 7.5 km relay 

1. NORWAY I 1:06:47.5
KRUEGER Simen Hegstad 18:29.6
SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 18:12.1
GLOEERSEN Anders 14:46.1
KROGH Finn Haagen 15:19.7

2. SWEDEN I   +0.5
RICKARDSSON Daniel 18:30.1
OLSSON Johan 18:17.8
HELLNER Marcus 14:39.6
HALFVARSSON Calle 15:20.5

3. CANADA   +0.5
KERSHAW Devon 18:28.6
HARVEY Alex  18:16.6
JOHNSGAARD Knute 14:47.3
VALJAS Len 15:15.5

4. SWITZERLAND   +1.8
BAUMANN Jonas 18:34.6
COLOGNA Dario 18:07.8
LIVERS Toni 14:45.7
PERL Curdin 15:21.2

5. ITALY +2.6
NOECKLER Dietmar 18:29.3
DE FABIANI Francesco 18:17.2
SALVADORI Giandomenico  14:45.6
PELLEGRIN Sebastiano 15:18.0

Complete men's results are available HERE.