While the Norwegian women’s team seized a predictable victory in the Lillehammer World Cup 4 x 5 k relay on Sunday, Finland and the U.S. duked it out for second, with a late crash taking the Americans out of the running for their best-ever relay result.
With five penalties, Lars Berger didn’t stand a chance of defending his sprint win from Friday. Instead, the last three World Cup Total Score winners crowded the podium. Martin Fourcade of France timed his strike to come out as the clear winner, with Emil Hegle Svendsen and Tarjei Bø of Norway finishing second and third.
Ole Einar Bjorndalen moved Norway from 16th to first on the second leg of the men’s World Cup relay, and then Emil Hegle Svendsen sealed the deal with strong shooting on the anchor leg. It was a rematch of a previous race where he faltered and allowed Russia’s Dmitry Malyshko to take over – but today Malyshko made the mistakes. Sweden placed second.
Aided by an early bib and a mid-race snowstorm, Lars Berger – who was left off the Norwegian national team this year – earned his sixth win but the first in three years. He beat Martin Fourcade of France, who had two fewer penalties but was stuck in slow snow conditions. Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway was third.
Despite a mid-race snowstorm that put later starters at a serious disadvantage, Lowell Bailey finished 16th and Tim Burke 24th in the 10 k sprint in Hochfilzen. They were the only two Americans, men or women, to qualify for the pursuit races on Sunday. “We can’t control the weather,” shooting coach Armin Auchentaller said.