The Russian Duo of Ivan Alypov and Vassili Rotchev unexpectedly out-sped the Norway I team of Tor Arne Hetland and Jens Arne Svartedal in today's 6 x 1.1km freestyle team sprint relay in Bern. Almost no one would have picked the two Russians to win today after 17th and 40th place finishes in yesterday's individual sprint event. By comparison, Norway grabbed five of the top seven spots yesterday, interrupted only by Sweden's Thobias Fredriksson and Bjoern Lind.
Despite the odds, however, Russia rose to the occasion and held off second-place Norway by 0.3 seconds at the finish after a conservative start on the first few laps. Italians Renato Pasini and Christian Zorzi finished an additional half second behind and took the final podium spot away from Bjoern Lind and Thobias Fredriksson who ended up in fourth.
The sprint for first place was even closer among the women's teams, but in the end it went according to expectations for Ella Gjoemle and Marit Bjoergen, who took third and first places respectively in yesterday's individual race. As a team today, they managed to get around the course 0.2 seconds faster than Germans Stephanie Boehler and Claudia Kuenzel. Arianna Follis paired with last year's overall World Cup winner, Gabriella Paruzzi, took third while the home-crowd-supported Swiss team of Laurence Rochat and Seraina Mischol stepped it up for a strong fourth place finish. No North American teams were entered for either race.
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