World Championships - Sweden end Norway dominance thanks to incredible late rally
A superb performance from Sweden saw them finally end Norway’s dominance and win the Ladies’ 4x5km relay at the Nordic Ski World Championships on Thursday.
Norway had won the women’s relay at the past four World Championships and they were favourites this year alongside the Swedes.
Both of the big guns trailed the Russians after the opening leg but they roared back in the second to distance themselves from the rest of the pack as Ingvild Flugstad Ostberg put Norway ahead having edged Sweden’s young prodigy Frida Karlsson.
However a sensational second-half of the event from the experienced campaigners Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson gave Sweden a historic victory.
Kalla was always going to be key to Sweden’s tactics, it was vital that she put as much time as possible between her and Norway’s third skier, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen which she did.
That left Therese Johaug, gold medallist in the 10km classic and the 15km skiathlon, with 18.8s to make up in the final stretch.
That she could even reel Nilsson back in is remarkable, and at times she briefly took the lead.
However Nilsson dug deep and found an extra gear right in the final stretches as she led Sweden to victory to go with the Team Sprint gold she gave them.
Speaking afterwards Nilsson to Eurosport paid tribute to her team-mates saying “The conditions out there were so tough, it was a real struggle to push hard and I was hunted by Therese so that was a bit stressing!
“So happy that the girls gave me such a good advantage because I needed it today!"
Russia rounded off the podium, taking bronze.