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Olympics-Cross-country skiing-Norway’s tactical sprint plan ends in team gold – Metro US

Olympics-Cross-country skiing-Norway’s tactical sprint plan ends in team gold

Cross-Country Skiing – Men’s Team Sprint Classic Final
Cross-Country Skiing – Men’s Team Sprint Classic Final

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) – The Norwegian pairing of Johannes Klaebo and Erik Valnes executed a perfect tactical plan, taking down their rivals from Finland and the Russian Olympic Committee to sweep to the gold medal in the men’s team sprint at the Beijing Games.

Valnes was given the task of reining in Iivo Niskanen of Finland and Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov, teeing up Klaebo for the thunderous finish on Wednesday that saw Norway claim their 13th gold of the 2022 Olympics.

“I think for us now it’s just an amazing day. We’ll just keep focusing on today’s race and what we did well and just celebrate a little bit today and also in the medal ceremony tomorrow,” Klaebo told Reuters.

Following his Olympic debut in 2018, Klaebo has become one of the most feared sprinters in the sport and on Wednesday was set up by his team mate for another golden grandstand finish.

Valnes was more than happy to do the grunt work, especially as it delivered a gold medal.

“The tactic was to stay with Bolshunov and Iivo. I knew that they would try to keep a high pace,” Valnes told Reuters.

“Before the last leg I said to my coach that I have a little bit more now so on the last leg I can push even harder.

“It was an amazing feeling to just push out and see both Bolshunov and Niskanen struggle a bit,” he said.

Valnes’ hard skiing kept Norway’s closest rivals in check and though it was Klaebo who crossed the finish line, his team mate was in no way disappointed.

“He’s our best man there and I’m a good man to have on the first leg so I have no problems with that,” said Valnes.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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