VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Like he always seems to do at big events, Petter Northug, Jr., made sure the men’s relay came down to a final sprint on Friday at World Championships so he could win the drag race, pull a finish-line smirk out of his repertoire, and leave Sweden wanting revenge for the umpteenth time. Our photos from the day:
The men’s 4×10 k relay gets underway on Friday in Val di Fiemme..
Italy’s Dietmar Noeckler and Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson take the first turn at the lead.
A packed stadium cheers the men up the first climb.
Richardsson still out front on the second lap.
Under the bridge.
Poland’s Maciej Kreczmer briefly in front.
Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR) steps out of the tracks.
It was a slushy 50 degrees F for the men’s relay.
Final lap of the first leg.
Richardsson and Evgeniy Belov lead the train.
Andy Newell (USA).
Lenny Valjas (CAN).
Hannes Dotzler attempts a breakaway.
The second classic leg: Eldar Roenning and Tobias Angerer lead.
Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS) sets the pace.
A deafening roar spurs skiers up the climb.
Second leg, second lap.
Vylegzhanin and Angerer.
Angerer breaks wind.
Second leg, beginning of third lap.
Kris Freeman (USA) in front.
The second exchange: Switzerland’s Dario Cologna tags off to Toni Livers.
Italy’s Roland Clara fights for the lead.
Clara leading Sjur Roethe (NOR).
Still the third leg: Marcus Hellner (SWE) checks his competition.
Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Hellner make a small breakaway.
Only to lose it after the exchange. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) takes the front before the pace slowed way down.
Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson on Russia’s tails, with Petter Northug, Jr., in the hunt.
Japan’s Akira Lenting attempts to bridge the gap; France and USA behind him.
Final leg, beinning of the second lap: USA’s Tad Elliott has closed in on the crawling leaders within his first three kilometers.
The lead group reaches the top of the climb out of the stadium.
Through the stadium for the last time before the finish, Northug assesses.
Elliott and Finland’s Matti Heikkinen just off the pace.
Big surprise: Northug and Halfvarsson will sprint it out.
Northug toys with him.
“I get what I want,” Northug later told the NRK.
Roenning and Gjerdalen greet their anchor.
Roenning hoists Northug.
Sweden and Norway shake hands in the finish pen.
Roethe, Northug, Roenning and Gjerdalen wave to the hoards of Norwegian fans in the bleachers.
1. NOR, 2. SWE, 3. RUS.