Winter Sports

Klaebo digs deep to deny Nyenget in Falun

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo survived an almighty scare to tighten his grip on the Crystal Globe trophy double of sprint and overall champion in Falun, Sweden on Friday, with his third victory in the 10km Classic time trial this season.

Great credit must go to fellow Norwegian, Martin Loewstroem Nyenget, though. Just six days after claiming bronze in a gruelling 50km race in Oslo, the 30-year-old – who had just six podium finishes to his name before today, and only one over 10km – pushed Klaebo all the way.

Fresh snow had fallen during and after the women’s race in the morning, meaning conditions were likely to get faster as the men’s race progressed. And so it proved, with only Erik Valnes of the early starters – going out third – finishing in the top 10.

With many of Sweden’s top skiers missing from the women’s race, the raucous home crowd pinned their hopes Calle Halfvarsson in the men’s competition. The sprint specialist set the early pace but faded badly after the halfway point.

Nyenget looked like staying the distance, though, holding an advantage of 5.6 seconds over Klaebo at the 7.7km checkpoint. But exuding his usual calm, the triple Olympic champion was clearly skiing within himself.

By the final split at 9.1km, Nyenget’s lead was just 0.4s. Using all his experience and sprinting prowess, Klaebo then turned on the afterburners to such an extent that his legs nearly gave way as he crossed the finish line. Nyenget couldn’t respond, eventually crossing the line 10.7 seconds slower.

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