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Sweden and Norway win team sprint at snow chaos in Planica

Sweden II with Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) and Linn Svahn (SWE, Fischer **) won the women's team sprint in heavy snowfall in Planica (SLO) ahead of Sweden I with Stina Nilsson (SWE, Fischer **) and Jonna Sundling (SWE, Fischer **). In the men's race, Norway I succeeded with Sindre Bjørnestad Skar (NOR, Fischer ***) and Erik Valnes (NOR, Fischer ***) followed by Norway II with Gjøran Tefre (NOR, Fischer ***) and Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR ).

With six wins in the last seven World Cup team sprints, the Swedes went as clear favorites in the very difficult race due to the insane weather. Sweden I was represented by Stina Nilsson and Jonna Sundling, who took first and second place yesterday. For Sweden II, the crash victims Maja Dahlqvist and Linn Svahn wanted to make amends. The biggest rivals were the Norwegians Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR, Fischer ***) and Ane Appelkvist Stenseth (NOR), but this time Falla was not the last skier. Due to the difficult conditions, after the heavy rain turned into snow during the semi-finals, the pace was slow for a long time: the snow was deep, the visibility poor and then an air-filled archway collapsed under the snow masses, which could be erected again until the ladies came over next time. The pace was only increased significantly in the fifth of six laps, so that under the speed work of Stina Nilsson, both Swedes and Norway I managed to get ahead and give their final skiers a lead into the last lap. But Nadine Fähndrich (SUI) did not give up and she managed to come back for the Swiss team together with Julia Kern (USA, Fischer **) (in the team with Sophie Caldwell (USA)), while yesterday's winner Jonna Sundling paced up alone on top of the group. Finally Linn Svahn attacked her compatriot and could no longer be caught. With anger in her stomach after yesterday's misery, she crossed the line as the winner and fell into Maja Dahlqvist's arms. "It is very nice to win here. Maja has a good series im team sprint and we have continued", said Linn Svahn and Maja Dahlqvist added: "I am very happy. This was a nice Christmas present!" The fight for second place between Sweden and Switzerland was really tight, but Jonna Sundling narrowly succeeded. In the end, Norway's Stenseth no longer had a chance to fight for victory and finished fourth in front of the USA.

=> Teamsprint Planica (SLO)

In the thinned men's field due to snowfall, starting between the first and second semi-finals, the Norwegians Sindre Bjørnestad Skar and Erik Valnes (NOR I) and Gjøran Tefre and Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR II) as well as France I with Richard Jouve (FRA) and Lucas Chanavat (FRA, Fischer ***) were the favorites, Italy could only be counted as an outsider because of first skier Stefan Zelger (ITA, Fischer ***) despite a strong Federico Pellegrino (ITA). In the men's race the pace also was significantly increased by Gjøran Tefre two laps before the end. Sindre Skar and Richard Jouve went with him and shortly before the handover Skar tried to open a gap, but he failed. The final racers had to make the decision, which Erik Valnes tried immediately after the exchange. Together with Taugbøl, Lucas Chanavat and Joni Mäki (FIN, Fischer ***) he escaped from the other teams led by Switzerland. Lucas Chanavat attacked on the way to the stadium, but he lost his energies in sight of the home stretch and Erik Valnes stormed past to win for Norway I. "It was a challenging day, very different from yesterday. But it's the same for everyone. You can only do your best", said Sindre Skar. "It was a close race and in this weather it is difficult to be alone in front. I tried it but it was difficult. But Erik was the best in the final sprint." Taugbøl ensured a Norwegian double victory and even Joni Mäki, who formed a team with Ristomatti Hakola (FIN, Fischer ***), crossed the finish line ahead of the Frenchman. Fifth went to Italy ahead of Switzerland.

=> Teamsprint Planica (SLO)

* = Fischer skis

** = Fischer skis and bindings

*** = Fischer skis, bindings and boots