Norway wins men's cross-country team Olympic sprint

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World Cup number one Petter Northug finally got to show off his ability on Monday as he awarded Norway the title with teammate Oeystein Pettersen in the men's cross-country team sprint at the Vancouver Olympics.

Northug blew past Germany's Axel Teichmann shortly before the finish, parading down the final straight for his first Olympic gold, finishing in 19 minutes one second.

"Finally it's a day for me. He (Pettersen) did a great job on the last leg and gave me a great position for the last leg," said Northug.

"I wanted this medal. It's been a little bit up and down here so now I have the gold medal I am happy."

The German duo of Teichmann and Tim Tscharnke won the silver, with the Russian team of Nikolay Morilov and Alexey Petukhov taking the bronze.

"Today my job was to stay in the group and give Petter the best possible position," said Pettersen. "I didn't have any more to give."

As triple world champion and World Cup leader, Northug was tipped to clean up in Vancouver but had sealed just one medal, individual sprint bronze, after disappointing in his first two events.

"It feels great. It's like a dream for me to be an Olympic champion. Today was the day," said the 24-year-old Norwegian.

Pettersen was also licking his wounds ahead of the team sprint, having been cruelly taken out by Kazakhstan's Alexey Poltaranin in the individual sprint final.

"I know we are a very strong team, but there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good athletes out there," said Pettersen.

Germany's Tim Tscharnke made the first big move of the race, establishing a 1.9 seconds lead as he handed over to Axel Teichmann for the final leg.

"My job was to work for Alex and to bring him to a good position. I am happy with the result," said Tscharnke.

It looked like Teichmann was set to capture a remarkable team sprint double for Germany, with Claudia Nystad and Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle having just taken the women's title.

But Northug and Russia's Alexey Petukhov led the chase, cutting the gap down to less than a second as they turned into the stadium for the last time.

"He (Petter) did have really good skis and he did very well. All I can say is that I did my best and we came in second and we are happy about that," said Teichmann.

Finally Northug took to the front on the back straight, racing away like a man possessed as his rivals could do nothing but stared helplessly to see the world champion pass the finish line first.

"It's amazing to win the first Olympic medal, for me it's a dream coming true. It has been a dream for me for the last eight years. The race was amazing. Tim did a great job," said Teichmann.

"He chased some guys and gave us some seconds. I got an opportunity of three or four seconds on the last lap and I did everything I could, but Petter was too strong. He's a very good athlete.

"It's not a matter of losing gold, it's a matter of winning a medal. All I thought about was to win a medal and go to the Medal's Plaza and I made it," added he.

The freestyle event features a two-man relay, where each skier takes turns going three laps around a 1.4-kilometer course.

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