Krueger leads Norway to sweep of men’s skiathlon


Simen Hegstad Krueger

Reuters PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) — Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway broke away on the penultimate lap to storm to victory in the men’s Olympic skiathlon on Sunday and lead a clean sweep of medals for Norway.

Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Hans Christer Holund took the silver and bronze in the grueling cross-country event, in which athletes have to race 15-kilometer classic style followed by the same distance freestyle.

Following the switch of skis at the halfway point, a group of 18 opened up a gap on the rest of the field and the lead changed hands several times in the freezing conditions as the racers sought shelter behind each other from the wind.

Finland’s Iivo Niskanen made much of the early running in the race, but the Norwegians took over with three laps left and an epic internal battle for medals unfolded.

Krueger made his break for glory with little more than a lap to go, striking out on his own and leaving the rest of the field struggling to find an answer.

The 28-year-old built up a lead of more than 20 seconds before his Norwegian teammates Sundby and Holund struck back, breaking away from the chasing pack to try to reel him in.

Though they managed to close the gap considerably, it was too little, too late as Krueger held on to cross the line and claim the gold medal in a thrilling finish. Speech

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