Kriukov wins men's cross-country individual sprint

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Nikita Kriukov of Russia captured the gold medal in the men's cross-country individual sprint classic at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games here on Wednesday.

Kriukov finished in three minutes and 36.3 seconds. His countryman Alexander Panzhinskiy led for much of the race before Kriukov pushed hard down the final straight and won by the toe of his boot.

"It was really a difficult race for me, I qualified fourth and I knew Panzhinskiy was one of the favourites after qualifying first for the final," said Kriukov.

"I wasn't nervous at all, it didn't put me at a disadvantage, I knew medals were up for grabs and I fought to the death."

Panzhinskiy was not let down by the loss.

"I was very surprised, I was lucky because for the last two weeks I have not felt very good," said Panzhinskiy. "I am very, very happy with silver."

The bronze went to World Cup points leader Petter Northug of Norway, who finished 9.2 seconds behind the winner.

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