OBERSTDORF, Germany (Reuters) – Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo obliterated the rest of the field on the final climb to claim gold for Norway in the men’s team sprint event at the FIS Ski World Championships on Sunday, while Jonna Sundling snared a thrilling women’s gold medal for Sweden.
Finland took the silver medal while the team representing the Russian Ski Federation took bronze in the men’s event, with Switzerland scoring a surprise silver ahead of Slovenia in the women’s competition.
Erik Valnes left Klaebo 4.3 seconds behind coming into the final lap of the 1.2km course behind the Russians, and he waited until the final climb before exploding past Gleb Retivykh to take control of the race, winning by a margin of 1.68 seconds.
Having won the 30km classical sprint race on Thursday, the gold medal is the 24-year-old Klaebo’s second in Oberstdorf and his fifth overall.
Finland’s Joni Maki also managed to pass Retivykh on the final stretch to claim the silver medal for Finland, 0.41 seconds ahead of the Russians.
Earlier in the day, Sweden’s Sundling made the most of the slim lead provided to her by team mate Maja Dahlqvist in bright sunshine and warm conditions as she entered the last lap under pressure from Russia’s Natalya Nepryayeva.
Nepryayeva’s challenge fell away as they entered the final climb, but Switzerland’s Nadine Faehndrich suddenly took up the chase to set up a thrilling sprint finish, with Sundling keeping her cool in the final bend to cruise to victory.
Faehndrich and Laurien van der Graaff took an unexpected silver medal for Switzerland 0.95 seconds behind the Swedes, with Eva Urevc and Anamarija Lampic coming in 2.51 seconds later to secure the bronze.
Jarl Magnus Riiber anchored Norway as they overcame a 35-second deficit to take the gold medal in the Nordic combined team normal hill event, with Germany coming second and Austria taking the bronze.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)