(Lahti, Finland) - Russia's Sergey Ustiugov after just missing out in the sprint two days ago got his gold medal today in the men's 30 km Skiathlon at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. Around the 20 km mark of the competition it became a two man race between Ustiugov and Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby and they traded the lead back and forth until the final lap when the gamesmanship began with neither really wanting to take the lead.
On the final climb the two leaders went for it full speed and neither was giving an inch until Sundby missed a pole plant and stumbled ultimately breaking his pole and the gold was Ustiugov's. Sundby was in tough anyways to beat Ustiugov in the final kilometer with Ustiugov's World class sprint speed. In the bronze medal position was Norway's Finn Haagen Krogh. The 4th place finisher from the sprint two todays before he made sure to get the final spot on the podium today. He led into the final curve and left little doubt who would take the bronze. Krogh finished +31.8 seconds back of Ustiugov's winning time of 1:09:16.7. Sundby crossed the line +6.7 behind.
Similar to the ladies' competition positions 4th to 7th were separated by less than one second and there were 10 nations represented in the top 15 spots.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
It is a great achievement for me. I was disappointed after the sprint so to win the gold medal is amazing. It is not only my success. The whole team did a great job.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
It was a tough race. There were a lot of athletes in a good shape. After the ski exchange the pace was even faster. I think I have never skied such a fast 15 km in skate. I was skiing with one of the fastest men in the world. I had to try to gain some seconds on the last climb. Unfortunately it did not work and I made a mistake.
Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR)
It was a tough pace for me al the time. On the second skating lap Sergey and Sundby pulled away. I tried to catch them. When I realised they were top far I wanted to save some energy. Everybody in our group wanted a medal. It was a hard fight to win the bronze.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Men's 30 km Skiathlon
1. USTIUGOV Sergey 1992 RUS 1:09:16.7
2. SUNDBY Martin Johnsrud 1984 NOR +6.7
3. KROGH Finn Haagen 1990 NOR +31.8
4. ROETHE Sjur 1988 NOR +33.1
5. HARVEY Alex 1988 CAN +33.3