Sunday Olympic Rundown: Klæbo Anchors Another Norwegian Gold; Fourcade Edges Schempp in Mass Start

FasterSkierFebruary 18, 2018
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo anchoring the Norwegian men’s 4 x 10 relay to gold on Sunday at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, while Denis Spitsov (background) celebrates silver for the Olympic Athletes for Russia. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

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2018 Olympics (PyeongChang, South Korea): Men’s 4 x 10 k relay

International report

North American report

For a while in the men’s 4 x 10-kilometer relay on Sunday, it looked like the Russians might run away with the win. But that was just two classic legs and 20 k into the race, with a lot more racing to come.

While Kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin had handed off in first at the first exchange, just ahead of Andrey Larkov of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, Italy, France and Norway skied together behind them, with Norway’s Didrik Tønseth trailing off the back, 18 seconds behind.

On the next classic leg, Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov put a hurt on the field. Within the first 3.3 k lap, he was 25 seconds ahead of Kazakhstan’s Yevgeniy Velichko in second, who was followed closely by Italy, Norway and France in third through fifth. Sweden’s Daniel Rickardsson had fallen farther behind to more than a minute back in sixth place, after his teammate Jens Burman lost contact with the lead group on the first leg.

By the second exchange, Russia was 24.5 seconds clear of second place, while Italy’s Francesco de Fabiani tagged Giandomenico Salvadori in second, France’s Maurice Manificat tagged Clement Parisse in third (+28.0), and Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby tagged Simen Hegstad Krüger in fourth (+32.1). Kazakhstan’s Velichko had fallen off the pace and was another 19 seconds back in fifth.

Over the next 10 k, the first skate leg, Krüger and Parisse reeled in Russia’s Alexey Chervotkin, catching him before the end of their second lap. One lap later, Krüger came through the final exchange in first, tagging Johannes Høsflot Klæbo 0.4 seconds ahead of France in second. Chervotkin tagged Russia’s anchor Denis Spitsov in third, 16.2 seconds back, while Finland’s Matti Heikkinen passed Italy’s Salvadori on the last climb to put Finland in fourth (+58.6).

Team France celebrates its bronze-medal finish in the men’s 4 x 10 k relay at the 2018 Olympics on Sunday in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: FIS Cross Country/Twitter)

Early in the final leg, France’s Adrien Backscheider took the lead ahead of Klæbo. The two held Spitsov off until the end of the second lap, where Spitsov came through the stadium first to start the final loop. Spitsov and Klæbo soon upped the pace, dropping Backscheider, and shortly after the 8.27 k checkpoint, Klæbo truly put the jets on to accelerate away from Spitsov. He dropped the Russian on a climb just before the final uphill, where it was clear that the gold was Norway’s.

As he sped down into the stadium, Klæbo relaxed his arms, skied to the sideline and took a flag from the stands. He looked back for a moment and then crossed the finish line first in 1:33:04.9 hours, while Spitsov followed 9.4 seconds later for silver for Russia. Backscheider held on for bronze (+36.9) as his team exuberantly celebrated with him at the finish.

Finland placed fourth (+1:40.5), Sweden fifth (+2:05.6), Germany sixth (+2:08.2), Italy seventh (+2:35.2), and Kazakhstan eighth (+3:31.4). Canada was ninth (+3:41.0) for its second-best Olympic relay result (with Len Valjas, Graeme Killick, Russell Kennedy, and Knute Johnsgaard), and the U.S. finished 14th (+9:24.2), out of 14 teams, with Andy Newell, Reese Hanneman, Scott Patterson, and Noah Hoffman.

Results (will be posted here)


France’s Martin Fourcade lunging for his second gold of the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, winning the men’s 15 k mass start on Sunday. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

Biathlon: Men’s 15 k mass start

Full report

Martin Fourcade is the champion once again. Six days after he won the 12.5-kilometer pursuit for his first gold in PyeongChang, the 29-year-old Frenchman did it again in the men’s 15 k mass start on Sunday, winning in a photo finish at the line.

He took charge on the first loop, leading the field into the range for the first prone shooting. There, Fourcade shot a penalty and slipped to 19th, but it wasn’t over.

Clean shooting on the second prone brought him up to eighth, 9.4 seconds out of first. Germany’s Benedikt Doll took that lead at that point after his second stage without a miss. Meanwhile Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø shot three misses on that second stage and dropped out of contention.

One loop later, Fourcade moved into first with a clean standing. He left the range about 1 second ahead of Germany’s Simon Schempp and 2 seconds ahead of Germany’s Erik Lesser, after both made it through the first three stages without a miss. Doll missed one to slip to seventh, almost 30 seconds behind.

After Fourcade and Schempp exchanged leads over the next loop, Lesser moved into first just before the final shooing, Going head to head, Fourcade and Schempp both missed one while Lesser missed two. Fourcade and Schempp still left the range in first and second, respectively, separated by 0.4 seconds, while Lesser slipped to fifth, 22.5 seconds back.

Doll left the range in third (+19.2) after cleaning and Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen moved into fourth (+21.9) with a clean standing stage as well.

In the end, Fourcade outlunged Schempp for the win in 35:47.3 minutes, with Schempp finishing less than a tenth of a second behind for silver, and Svendsen beat out Lesser in the finishing stretch by 0.4 seconds to claim bronze, 11.2 seconds behind, while Lesser settled for fourth (+11.6). Doll followed them in fifth (+18.8), Austria’s Julian Eberhard placed sixth (+30.7) with three penalties, Norway’s Erlend Bjøntegaard seventh (+32.1) with two misses, Norway’s Tarjei Bø eighth (+34.6) with three penalties, Sweden’s Jesper Nelin ninth (+34.6) with two misses, and Slovenia’s Jakov Fak 10th (+36.1), just ahead of the Czech Republic’s Ondřej Moravec in 11th (+36.3), with one miss each.



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