Clean sweep! - Russian skiers oust Norwegian hosts to claim all podium places in World Cup marathon
Russia's Alexander Bolshunov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and Andrey Larkov powered past Norway's golden boy, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, and his teammates, who came into Saturday’s event as hot favorites after their recent success at the World Championships in Austria.
But it just wasn’t their day as the Russian trio produced some impressive speed and team work on the track to claim a respective one-two-three on the podium.
The three escaped from the pack with some 4 kilometers remaining before the finish to put their impressive victory beyond doubt.
First place was taken by Russian No.1 Bolshunov, completing the distance in 2 hours 23 minutes 49.8 seconds, in doing so replacing Klæbo at the top of the Word Cup’s overall standings on 172 points. Bolshunov also became the youngest ever winner of the race aged just 22 years and 68 days.
“Today everything was planned. As for the struggle for victory in the overall standings, I don’t think about it,” Bolshunov said after the race, RIA Novosti reported.
Silver went to veteran Vylegzhanin, for whom it was the last race in his impressive career, giving the 36-year-old three-time Olympic silver medalist the perfect stage on which to bow out in style.
Alexander Bolshunov @san_sanych_bolshunov becomes the youngest winner of the 50km @holmenkollenskifest with 22 years and 68 days 🙌— FIS Cross-Country (@FISCrossCountry) March 9, 2019
He shares the podium with his colleagues @max_vylegzhanin who completes his international racing career with 🥈 and @andrey__larkov on 🥉 pic.twitter.com/K2I62ncTO4
The podium was concluded by Larkov, with fourth place also taken by a Team Russia member, 25-year-old Ilya Semikov.
Eirik Myhr Nossum, Norway’s coach, told local TV2 broadcaster: “We were beaten by four extremely strong Russians. It’s very painful, because it’s a home World Cup stage.”