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20 teams started in the men's relay. Photo: Kalle Parkkinen


Opening of the relay season at the World Cup: Norway dominated the men's relay, Finland finished sixth

In the end, Norway overwhelmingly celebrated the men's 4x7.5 kilometer relay victory with the team of Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Sturla Holm Lägreid, Tarjei Bö and Johannes Bö. Germany took second place and France was third.

Norway, which used seven spare cartridges, reached the finish line 43.9 seconds ahead of Germany. France was 1.05.9 behind the top. Even in the last exchange, Norway and Germany were level, but Johannes Bö turned the situation into an overwhelming victory for his country.

"The win feels good, especially with this new line-up. The message was as we expected: fast track, shooting is important. The message was strict even though there was a breakup at the end. A funny message", Bö said.

Bö was in his familiar flying ski condition on his leg. He thanked his skis for that.

"My skis were great, big thanks to the maintenance guys. The shooting was also good, but without those skis, maybe we wouldn't have won", he thought.

"Definitely a good overall contribution from us"

In the men's relay, Finland took its best ranking in a long time, when it was sixth. Jaakko Ranta, Tuomas Harjula, Tero Seppälä and Olli Hiidensalo ski in the team.

Seppälä had to go around one penalty lap, the team needed 12 spare cartridges. Finland's performance was excellent, as the team only narrowly lost fifth place, and fourth place was only 2.9 seconds away.

"It went very well and according to plans. An intact part. It's lying on the shelf, so I was able to go on that front group trip. The first ski round was a bit nervous, it was a bit of a search for one's own place. It went well until the end," said Ranta.

"Skiing was balanced and enduring from start to finish. I was able to keep the gap to the front quite small, a good overall performance", said Harjula.

"Usually when one of us goes around the penalty circle, it has dropped us really far, but today we held on. Fortunately, it was such a good team effort. We were good on the track, so even though a lot of money was spent and my vertical shooting went completely wrong in practice, it was still a good result. You have to be satisfied with that," Seppälä said.

Hiidensalo skied a strong last round and finished in a close fight for fifth place. It didn't quite happen, but the winner summed up Finland's performance well:

"Definitely a good overall effort from us today. You have to be satisfied with this," Hiidensalo said with a smile.