Northug powers Norway to relay gold at World Championships
It was the gold medal Norway wanted more than any other and she got it dramatically as Petter Northug pushed by Swede Marcus Hellner on the final uphill at the edge of a sold out Holmenkollen Stadium and powered home for the men's relay gold.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Eldar Roenning and Tord Asle Gjerdalen made up the rest of Norway's team finishing the four by 10km challenge in an hour, 40 minutes and 10.2 seconds, a full second ahead of Sweden. A huge charge from Tobias Angerer brought Germany the bronze.
The Norwegians stayed in touch throughout the race, never ending a leg worse than fourth, but that fourth was handed to Northug for the final leg starting 11 seconds behind Finland, with Italy in second and Sweden third. Northug was not having any of that and quickly caught the leaders, tucked in with them and waited to the final kilometer before showing his strength.
When Northug decided to go he left no doubt as to the outcome of the race. He went by Hellner in three strides and powered to the finish continuing to put distance between he and his competitors. The race was not as close at the time made it appear. Northug did a bit of mugging as he approached the finish, standing sideways and sidestepping over the finish line to claim the win and his second gold medal of the World Championships having also won the 30k-pursuit.
The team celebrated with fans before joining King Harald and Queen Sonja in the royal box (along with most of the royal family, and Danish and Swedish royalty).
The win gives Norway six gold medals and 14 total for the event, leading Austria 14-8 in the total count and 6-5 in the gold harvest.
|JOHNSRUD SUNDBY Martin||26:05.7|
|GJERDALEN Tord Asle||24:22.4|
|DI CENTA Giorgio||25:50.0|
|PILLER COTTRER Pietro||24:36.6|
|GAILLARD Jean Marc||26:48.0|
|14||UNITED STATES OF AMERICA||USA||1:47:05.0|
|PLATT Simon James||31:11.6|
|VAN DER PLOEG Mark|
|MOELGAARD Asger Fischer||30:47.7|