World Championships - Johannes Klaebo leads superb Norway to 10 in a row
Johannes Klaebo got one over Sergey Ustiugov for the second time in the Nordic Ski World Championships as he led Norway to victory in the men’s relay on Friday.
Klaebo and Ustiugov were the final competitors for their countries in the 4x10km at Seefeld and they went into their stint level pegging.
Ustiugov led out and Klaebo who quietly waited to pounce until just before the beginning of the final lap.
Then the 22-year-old made his move, powering away from the Russian and opening up a monstrous lead.
Any talk before the race of the pressure Ustiugov would bring completely evaporated and Klaebo thundered on, sealing a dominant victory for Norway.
France produced a stunning finish of their own as they shocked Finland and secured a memorable bronze.
Earlier on, Russia and Norway had cagily exchanged the lead, with neither team able to put together a significant lead until Klaebo took the race by the scruff of the neck.
The work done by Klaebo's support team of Emil Iversen, Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Sjur Roethe was excellent as they put their young team-mate in the best possible position.
Speaking afterwards Sundby spoke of just how important the team event is and praised Klaebo's final effort.
“This is a different kind of emotional but for the team this is the most important. This is the one we’ve been thinking about since we started training in May.
" For the team and for Norway this is emotional for the nation and for us we are such a good group and to be able to do this together and watch Johannes destroy Russia on the last leg was amazing. "
It is Norway’s fifth men’s gold of the championships as they bid for a clean sweep and remarkably it is their 10th men’s relay gold in a row.
It is Klaebo’s third gold of Seefeld having won both the individual and team sprint races and he gladly milked the applause in the final stretch towards the finish.
Victory comes after an incident in the semi-finals of the sprint when Ustiugov was disqualified for illegally overtaking Klaebo which also saw an incident between the pair at the finish line, which they both quickly downplayed.
Klaebo will feel vindicated in choosing to miss the 15km classic, a race won by compatriot Sundby and now the Norwegian team will turn their attention to the 50km mass start.