After his three Russian teammates did most of the work ahead of him on Sunday, Maxim Vylegzhanin took advantage of skiing in the top three and a major risk in the final stretches of the World Cup 4 x 7.5 k relay in Lillehammer, Norway. With the likes of Norwegians Petter Northug (NOR I), Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR II), Tord Asle Gjerdalen (NOR III) on his tail, Vylegzhanin attacked on the second-to-last climb and held the gap all the way to the finish for 1.6-second Russian victory.
Gjerdalen fell behind on the final ascent, but Krogh and Northug pushed relentlessly in an effort to catch Vylegzhanin down into the stadium. With Dmitriy Japarov, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Alexander Legkov (who made a decisive attack in the third leg to break 11 skiers down to three), and Vylegzhanin, Russia won in 1:19.04.7, and Norway’s second team captured second with Krogh (+1.6). Norway took third and fourth as well, with Northug (+1.8) and Gjerdalen (+9.3), respectively, and Marcus Hellner carried Sweden to fourth (+21.0) ahead of France’s Ivan Perrillat Boiteux in fifth (+22.2). The Czech Republic placed sixth (+49.7) with Martin Jaks as its anchor. Norway’s fourth team placed seventh, 1:15 out of first.
Canada finished 14th with Lenny Valjas, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, and Devon Kershaw (+3:01.4), and the U.S. men placed 17th of 19 teams (+3:48.2), with Andy Newell, Kris Freeman, Noah Hoffman, and Simi Hamilton.