La Clusaz, France – Petter Northug, winner of yesterday's 30km mass start race, led the Norweigans to victory in the men's 4x10km relay. Northug once again matched up with Sweden's Marcus Hellner in the anchor leg . At the World Cup opener in Gaellivare, Sweden, the two overcame a 17 second deficit, overtaking the lead pack and breaking away for a sprint finish. Northug got the better of Hellner, who also has an individual victory under his belt this season, winning the distance race in Gaellivare.
Today, the two had a somewhat easier task, taking the tag at the front of the field, along with home team France's Emmanuel Jonnier and Czech Republic's Martin Koukal only 15 seconds behind.
The finish did not feature the toe lunging excitement of the previous relay, with Northug opening up a safe margin, crossing the line 2.2 seconds ahead of Hellner. Jonnier hung tough and completed an impressive French performance, finishing 6.6 seconds behind Northug and giving the hosts the final podium spot.
Koukal faded hard and was caught by both Italy and Finland.
The first leg featured a small break, with Jean Mark Gaillard (FRA), Sergey Cherepenov (KAZ) and Dario Cologna (SUI) opening up a gap of 10 seconds on the bulk of the field. Canadian Devon Kershaw was just off the leaders, posting a strong performance on the first leg, +5.8.
The Norweigans were able to avoid the weak leg that plagued them two weeks ago, closing the gap and taking the lead on the second leg. Sweden remained a bit off the pace at +12.5 seconds heading into the first skate leg but comeback kid Anders Soedergren skied them back to the front.
The Canadians remained in the hunt with Ivan Babikov holding the team within 12.5 seconds of the leaders. He tagged off to Stefan Kuhn, who struggled, dropping nearly three minutes to the leaders. The team ultimately withdrew from the competition.