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Norway Sweeps World Cup Relays

Mon, Nov  24, 2008 - By US Ski Team

GAELLIVARE, Sweden (Nov. 23) - Norway came away with the men's and women's victories Sunday as the first World Cup of the season wrapped up in Gaellivare, Sweden with men's 4x10K and women's 4x5K relay races.

In the men's race, Sweden was relegated to second place by a .2 second margin followed by Germany in third. Finland took second for the women with Sweden nearly 43 seconds back in third.

The U.S men used it as a training opportunity, with Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) skiing the first two legs.

"We did do what we wanted to do as far as getting Newell and Cook some good racing," U.S. Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "They definitely had the kind of workout we wanted them to have going into Kuusamo and I feel pretty confident that we're going to have a good weekend there."

Norway's Petter Northug had the fastest anchor leg, outsprinting Sweden's Marcus Hellner for the win. The Norwegians took the opening leg lead, but then dropped back to ninth before staging a dramatic comeback when Northug took over at the end.

The Norwegian women, meanwhile, had been running second behind the Italians and then the Finns on the first three legs. Marthe Kristoffersen outsprinted Finland's Liisa-Riitta Roponen for the victory.

UniversalSports.com will provide same-day coverage from Gaellivare starting with the women at 12 p.m. ET. Universal Sports broadcasts into 30 million cable households, as well as providing free access to full race coverage online with commentary from Steve Schlanger and noted cross country expert Peter Graves.

The Team now moves on to Kuusamo, Finland for both sprint and distance races where World Cup winner Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) joins the Team for the classic sprint.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
2009 Viessmann Cross Country FIS World Cup
Gaellivare, SWE - Nov. 23, 2008


Men's 4x10K relay
1. Norway-1 (Johnsrud Sundby/Roening/Hofstad/Northug)
2. Sweden-1 (Rickardsson/Olsson/Andreasson/Hellner)
3. Germany-1 (Filbrich/Angerer/Reichelt/Teichmann)
-
DNF - United States

Women's 4x5K relay
1. Norway-1 (Bjoergen/Johaug/Steira/Kristoffersen)
2. Finland-1 (Muranen/Kuitunen/Saarinen/Roponen)
3. Sweden-1 (Hansson/Norgren/Haag/Kalla)
# # #

For complete results click here.