Victoria Carl pulled off a stunning spurt on the final straight to win gold for Germany in the team sprint at the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday, edging out Sweden and the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for victory.
The Swedes took the silver, 0.17 of a second behind Germany, with the Russian team 0.71 seconds behind the winners in a race that exploded into life on the last bend.
After leading for much of the race, Finland left empty-handed as Norway’s challenge came unstuck after a broken ski pole earlier.
Concerns over the cold saw the races moved back to earlier in the afternoon, with each racer taking turns for six laps of the 1.5 km course in the classic style, which has provided rich pickings for Finland’s skiers, male and female, in the Games so far.
They looked like making the most of that advantage as the 10 finalists remained bunched together for the opening half of the race, with 2018 champion team sprint champion Jessie Diggins doing her best to keep the Americans up at the front.
A battle for position led to a broken ski pole for Tiril Udnes Weng which saw Norway slip down the rankings and they could not recover to challenge for the medals.
There was little between the teams until the last leg and Sweden’s Jonna Sundling was lucky not to hit the deck after colliding with Finland’s Krista Parmakoski. But individual sprint champion Sundling recovered and looked set to spurt to gold in a battle against Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia.
They hadn’t counted on Carl, who hurtled around the final bend and chased the Swede down, passing her on the run-in to the finish line to add a stunning golden victory to Germany’s 4×5 km relay silver.