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Norway's Berger wins men's 15-kilometer cross-country race

Norway's Berger wins men's 15-kilometer cross-country race

Norway's Lars Berger made the transition from biathlon to cross-country a smooth one Wednesday and won the men's 15-kilometer freestyle event at the Nordic World Ski Championships.
Berger crossed the finish line in 35 minutes, 50.0 seconds, 35.8 seconds better than Leanid Karneyenka of Belarus, who took the silver medal.
"I got a bit lucky with the weather," said Berger. "The first half of the race was very fast but then the snow started to feel like glue after that."
After the race started, the snow picked up and made it difficult for the skiers who started later in the day.
Germany's Tobias Angerer, who leads the World Cup cross-country standings this year, finished third, 52.4 seconds off the pace.
"The snow made it very difficult," said Angerer, who started last. "I knew as the race went on that I had a chance so I'm happy with this medal but a little sad at the same time."
Norway won only one gold medal in Nordic events at the Turin Olympics with Lars Bystoel winning normal hill ski jumping, and is well on its way to restoring some national pride in this event.
Berger captured Norway's 10th medal of the meet. Norway leads the overall medal standings followed by Germany with six and Finland with five.
The Norwegians are using all resources and have called upon biathletes Ole Einar Bjorndalen and Berger to help out in cross country.
Defending champion Pietro Piller Cottrer of Italy finished in 10th place 1:24.3 seconds off the lead.
Karneyenka also took advantage of the early start.
"I didn't expect this result at all," said Karneyenka, who started third out of 121 skiers. "When I finished I watched on the big screen and knew I had a pretty good time."
The 2007 championships mark the first time the meet is being held as an independent event in Asia. In 1972, when the Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, they doubled as the FIS World Ski Championships.
The Feb. 22-March 4 championships continue Thursday with the women's 4X5-kilometer cross-country race.


Updated : 2021-10-16 12:48 GMT+08:00