“I think it was good,” Sundling said. “Today we thought we should do a little bit more of a tactical race so I think it worked out fine.”
And what were those tactics? “To just be calm, ski well and try to save as much energy as possible,” Ribom, who put her team-mate in prime position going into the final lap, said. “I have been sick for a while so it was really fun to be out there racing today.”
The real excitement was happening behind the Swedes, though, where Germany – Olympic champions in this event – denied Finland a home podium thanks to a late burst from Coletta Rydzek, who screamed in delight as she crossed the line.
Klaebo pips Pellegrino – again
There was a similar sense of inevitability about the men’s race, although the all-conquering Klaebo would have been wary before the men’s final. The last time he raced Federico Pellegrino in Lahti – albeit the Norwegian was just a teenager at the 2017 world championships – the Italian came out on top.
Since then, the two have treated fans to many a thrilling shootout. But this is a different Klaebo – now established as the sport’s greatest-ever sprinter, with experience and confidence to match. And so it proved, on a course that had increasingly cut up as the day wore on, with temperatures well above freezing.
An already challenging layout claimed several fallers as the race progressed, but Klaebo stayed out of trouble – perhaps even more so than usual.
“My plan was to just to be in the front and if I had good legs to speed up on the last lap,” team-mate Erik Valnes said. “I didn’t have that power today but it was good enough to stay in front.”
This left Klaebo to make his move a little earlier than normal, with Pellegrino (racing with Francesco de Fabiani) the only skier to go with him – as has often been the case. “The plan was to have little bit of control then, for the last 500 metres, it’s just full speed,” Klaebo said. And in truth, he never looked like letting his lead slip, eventually crossing the line 0.68 seconds ahead.
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