Friday 9/17/21
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Iversen named 50km world champion after Klaebo disqualified

Finland's Iivo Niskanen finished the race in seventh place, but was moved to sixth place after Klaebo's disqualification.

07 March 2021, Bavaria, Oberstdorf: Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway (L) crosses the finish line ahead of Emil Iversen of Norway (R) and Alexander Bolshunov from Russia during the men's 50 kilometre classical mass start event at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf. Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa
Johannes Klaebo (L) crosses the finish line ahead of Emil Iversen (R) and Alexander Bolshunov. Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa.

Norway's Emil Iversen was crowned 50-kilometres cross-country skiing world champion on Sunday after initial winner Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo was disqualified by the race jury for obstruction.

Klaebo raced side-by-side with Russian Alexander Bolshunov on the home straight, and Bolshunov's ski pole broke as both made contact on the outside of the course.

Klaebo crossed the line first and Iversen also passed Bolshunov who stood no chance with one pole and burst into tears after crossing the line in third and his bid for victory ruined yet again.

Finland's Iivo Niskanen finished the race in seventh place, but was moved to sixth place after Klaebo's disqualification.

The jury decision came almost an hour after the concluding race of the championships, and stood after an ensuing Norwegian protest was turned down.

"It is a special way to become world champion, there is no doubt about that. This is a big day for me. It's a childhood dream," Iversen told Norwegian broadcasters NRK.

"But I'm very sorry on Johannes' behalf, and I do not support the jury's decision. He is the moral winner."

Altercation with Joni Maki

Iversen got his first major individual event gold in 2 hours 10 minutes 52.9 seconds, seven-tenth ahead of Bolshunov and 8.2 seconds clear of another Norwegian, Simen Hegstad Krueger, who was promoted from fourth to third.

Bolshunov was out of sorts after crossing the line but kept his composure - being on probation after an altercation with Finland's Joni Maki at a recent relay event.

The classic style race only came to life in the late stages, with Bolshunov and four Norwegians breaking away and the Russian then trying to shake them off like he managed in the skiathlon a week ago for his first and so far lone major title.

But Klaebo followed which set up the home straight drama which cost the Norwegian a fourth gold at the championships following his sprint, team sprint and relay golds.

That would have emulated compatriot Therese Johaug who ruled the women's races with four golds - 10km, skiathlon, 30km relay - for a career tally of 14.

"It is a fantastic experience to come here and get four golds," Johaug said after her last gold Saturday. "I know that there is a lot of pressure on me out there, and you have to fulfil it every day."

Norway dominated championships

Norway dominated the 11-day championships behind closed doors even though their ski-jumping World Cup champion Halvor Egner Granerud was among nine people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Oberstdorf, missing his two events in the process.

The Nordic superpower won 31 of the 72 medals on offer in the 24 events, 13 gold, 11 silver and seven bronze.

They won nine of the 12 cross-country races and three more in Nordic combined: the first-ever women's world champion in Gyda Westvold Hansen and Jarl Magnus Riiber taking two; plus women's ski-jumping from Maren Lundby.

Austria impressed with four golds, two of them from Nordic combined teenage sensation Johannes Lamparter. Hosts Germany saw Karl Geiger become the first ski-jumper to earn four medals at one worlds, two golds, a silver and a bronze.

The next worlds are 2023 in Planica, Slovenia but the next highlight for the Nordic skiers are next year's Olympics in Beijing.

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