Eldar Roenning (NOR), Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), Sjur Roethe (NOR), Petter Northug (NOR)
Petter Northug (NOR), Johan Olsson (SWE), Emil Jönsson (SWE), Marcus Hellner (SWE)
NORWAY CELEBRATE VICTORIES IN RELAY EVENTS IN GÄLLIVARE
Norwegian girls Vibeke Skofterud (NOR, Fischer), Therese Johaug (NOR, Fischer), Martine Ek Hagen and Marit Bjoergen (NOR, Fischer skis and boots) dominated women's relay during World Cup opener in Gällivare. Petter Northug was able to enjoy his arrival in Hellner-stadium in Gällivare - nobody was able to beat the Norwegian 4x7,5k relay consisting of Eldar Roenning, Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR, Fischer skis and boots), Sjur Roethe (NOR, Fischer) and Petter Northug (NOR, Fischer).
Johaug creates a gap, US-girls strong
After Norway II kept the speed high in the beginning of the race Vibeke Skofterud took the lead during her second lap. Meanwhile the main group was splitted due to falls of several athletes. When Johaug started into her race she created a gap and increased the speed. Soon the Norwegian was alone on her way but US-girl Kikkan Randall (USA, Fischer) came closer and closer. Randall's team mate Liz Stephen shortened the gap more and more at the third leg.
Bjoergen decides the race
The final decision was made by Marit Bjoergen who finished 19 seconds ahead of all chasers. Second went to team Sweden with Fischer skiers Sofia Bleckur (SWE, Fischer) and Charlotte Kalla (SWE, Fischer). Kalla increased the speed after the last exchange and closed the 10 seconds gap within a few hundred metres. Diggins (USA) wasn't able to counter her speed but she made a podium with team USA just ahead of Norway II.
Northug can use tactics
After Roenning opened the race very conservative for team Norway and Swede Emil Jönsson (SWE, Fischer skis and boots) kept the pace up, Martin Johnsrud Sundby tried to escape unsuccessfully. Just Sjur Roethe was able to leave the others according to his great performance so Petter Northug was able to ski tactically. Although the team was already 17 seconds ahead Northug kept the pace high up to half of his leg and then visibly decreased his speed. He crossed the line with a small swedish flag.
Hellner never gives up
Runner-up became team Sweden although they lost a lot of time with Johan Olsson (SWE, Fischer) and Daniel Richardsson (SWE, Fischer skis, boots and poles) after Jönsson's great beginning. But Marcus Hellner (SWE, Fischer) never gave up and he showed a great effort in his stadium and closed the gap to chasing group with Russia and Germany together with Alex Harvey (CAN, Fischer) and Roman Furger (SUI, Fischer skis and boots). Third went to Russia with Fischer skiers Evgeniy Belov (RUS, Fischer) and Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS, Fischer).