Sweden beat mighty Norway for women's relay world title
February 28 2019 05:12 PM
(C) Winners Sweden's Ebba Andersson, Sweden's Frida Karlsson, Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Sweden's
(C) Winners Sweden's Ebba Andersson, Sweden's Frida Karlsson, Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Sweden's Stina Nilsson celebrate next to second placed (L) Norway's Heidi Weng, Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, Norway's Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Norway's Therese Johaug on the podium after the Ladies' cross country skiing relay 4x5km event at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

Dpa/Seefeld, Austria

Stina Nilsson survived a desperate assault from Norway's Therese Johaug to give Sweden a first ever world title in the women's 4x5-kilometres cross country relay on Thursday.

Nilsson was handed an 18-second lead by Charlotte Kalla for the anchor leg, which the two-time Seefeld winner Johaug made up with around one kilometre to go but the Olympic sprint champion Nilsson then had the stronger finish on the home stretch.

Sweden had never won the 4x5km race at the worlds where their last success was in the 3x5km format in 1960, finishing second at the last four worlds. Sweden however took gold at the 2014 Olympics, with Kalla also part of that team.

‘I had so much pain in the last lap and felt Therese,’ Nilsson said. ‘I knew I would be stronger the last 100m which was an advantage for me.’  Johaug said: ‘It was tough. I tried but she was stronger. I did my best but Stina is a good skier.’  Norway, Sweden, Russia and Germany skied away on the opening leg and the two Scandinavians then moved ahead for their decisive battle, while Russia eventually took bronze more than two minutes adrift on another mild and sunny day for very soft snow conditions.

Nilsson collapsed right after crossing the line in 55 minutes 21.0 seconds and was mobbed by her team-mates Kalla, Ebba Andersson and and teenage sensation Frida Karlsson who now has a first gold after 10km silver.

Nilsson meanwhile got her second gold after topping the team sprint with Maja Dahlqvist, and also has a sprint silver.

Thursday's other medal event is the men's Nordic combined normal hill event in which World Cup winner Jarl Magnus Riiber was leading after the jumping portion.

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