Supreme World Championships win in the team sprint event
Two years ago, the expected gold medal for Norway in Lahti was lost when Emil Iversen stumbled on the finishing straight. On Sunday, Iversen and Johannes Høsflot og Klæbo got their revenge in the team ski event in Seefeld.
The Norwegian team was in a class of their own in both the semi-finals and the final. Klæbo performed a world-class change of pace on the last uphill and outclassed the competition. The move provided an unrivalled Norwegian gold medal in front of Russia. The victory margin was 1.88 seconds.
The sprint came to a grinding halt at the top of the last downhill as nobody wanted to lead out. When the Russian finally assumed the responsibility, Klæbo got into the position he wanted, hot on his heels.
“We had absolutely amazing skis, I could just sail past from the second position into the lead straight away. When I got it as I wanted, it was just about giving my all from there to the finish. When you turn your head around and see that you have a gap, that is an indescribable feeling,” Klæbo tells NRK.
Italy became third, just ahead of Sweden.
Revenge for 2017
The victory was longed for by the Norwegian duo. In the Lahti World Championships in 2017, Norway had the gold medal halfway in their pocket. Just before the finish, Iversen fell and broke his ski pole. Russia slipped past him to become World Champions, while Norway had to settle for the bitter-sweet fourth place.
The gold medal is Norway’s fifth so far at the Seefeld World Championships. Earlier in the day, Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg achieved the bronze medal at the women’s event. Klæbo and Iversen thus completed a nice Norwegian team sprint day in the Austrian Alps.
Første World Championships-medalje for Iversen
The World Championships Gold was the first senior’s medal for Iversen. Klæbo can now adorn himself with three Olympic gold medals, two World Championships gold medals and one bronze medal at the tender age of 22.
“It couldn’t have been done in a better way than how it happened today. My career is almost at stake every time I make a fool of myself. If I had done so today, I would have been past tense. I, however, know that if we do the job, we are the best,” Iversen tells NRK.
“I was really pretty calm and confident about my condition and of myself. I had excellent skis, and then I have the world’s best skier as a companion. That is both an honour and a joy,” the freshly coronated World Champion continues
Finland fell once again
It was drama at the second-but-last exchange when Russian Aleksandr Bolshunov collided with partner Gleb Retivykh. The Russians escaped from the incident without losing too much time.
Bolshunov recouped the lost distance on the last leg. When his patience ran out at the top of the last downhill, it was just a matter of time before Klæbo outdistanced the Russian.
In Lahti, Iversen collided with the Finnish team. On Sunday, the Finns once again took a count of five, when Ristomatti Hakola bit the snow, to end up in 7th spot. This time around, nobody else was involved in the fall.
Norway in third when Sweden won the women’s team sprint
Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg failed to defend Norway’s gold medal in the team sprint event. They had to settle for third. Sweden won.
Norway chased its third straight win in the team sprint event for women, but Stina Nilsson and Maja Dahlqvist put an end to that run. The duo provided Sweden’s first gold medal in the event since 2011. Then Ida Ingemarsdotter and Charlotte Kalla were crowned as the World Champions.
Falla was beaten by Dahlqvist in the sprint in the semi-finals, and the same was repeated in the final. Sweden won 0.60 seconds ahead of Norway in the third spot. Slovenia secured a strong silver medal.
Norway was first into the ski stadium, but Sweden set a tremendous pace. Falla also failed to keep Anamarija Lampic behind her.
The bronze medal is Norway’s third so far at the Seefeld World Championships. They head the medals table with 5 wins.
The last time Norway did not win the women’s World Championships team sprint event, was in Val di Fiemme in 2013. Then the US won, while Falla and Østberg had to settle for fourth.
Norway in the 2nd spot in the Nordic Combined team sprint
Jan Schmid and Jarl Magnus Riiber skied Norway into second place in Sunday’s team sprint, Nordic Combined. Germany defended their gold medal from 2017.
Germany’s star duo, Eric Frenzel and Fabian Riessle, were unrivalled. Admittedly there was excitement when Riessle had to let go of half the lead a couple of exchanges before the finish, but the challengers lacked the stamina to close the gap completely.
Norway has never won a World Championships team sprints event. Two years ago, Magnus Krog and Magnus Moan ended in second, while a bronze medal was achieved by Moan and Håvard Klemetsen in 2015. The event was introduced in 2013.
Earlier in the day, Riiber was still not quite on friendly terms with the Bergisel ski jumping hill. He has been struggling with the big hill in Innsbrück ever since the World Championships squad arrived in Austria. Riiber ended up with 123 metres on Sunday.
“It was a step down from the training yesterday. It is boring to go up and be cautious instead of going full throttle as I usually do,” Riiber tells NRK.
It was better for individual silver medal winner Schmid, who jumped 127.5 metres. The combined total provided Norway with 4th place and 27 seconds of idle time at the starting line before the cross country part of the event.
“I’m pretty happy. It was a normal jump, and that’s the most important thing at a team event. Then you shouldn’t try with any hocus pocus risking a disaster,” Schmid informs NRK.
The German team consisting of Riessle and individual World Champion, Frenzel, impressed on the hill. They jumped 130 and 128 metres, respectively.
Japan (Akito Watabe and Yoshito Watabe) started eight seconds behind, while Austria (Bernhard Gruber and Franz-Josef Rehrl) had 22 seconds to make up.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today