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    Kriukov, Bjorgen Sprint to World Cross Country Gold

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    Vancouver Olympic cross country sprint champions Marit Bjorgen and Nikita Kriukov won their respective events at the world championships in Italy on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, February 21 (R-Sport) – Vancouver Olympic cross country sprint champions Marit Bjorgen and Nikita Kriukov won their respective events at the world championships in Italy on Thursday.

    Russia’s Kriukov, 27, clinched his first world title, covering the one-kilometer course in three minutes, 30.4 seconds.

    He slid to the line at Val di Fiemme 0.3 seconds ahead of two-time Vancouver champion Petter Northug of Norway.

    “Second-time win was hard, the first one was at Olympics and now it’s my second biggest start,” Kriukov said in the televised comments.

    “It was amazing, now I like both Canada and Italy. My tactics were to push at the last uphill, it was very difficult, I needed a good finish and I made it.”

    The bronze went to Canada’s Alex Harvey, who skied in 0.8 seconds behind Kriukov.

    In the women’s event, the 32-year-old Bjorgen of Norway claimed a ninth world championship gold and third sprint title, clocking 3:16.6.

    Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter, a 2011 world champion in team sprint, took the silver, 2.3 seconds behind Bjorgen, while Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway took bronze, a further 1.4 seconds back.

    The championships end March 3.

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    Nikita Kriukov, Marit Bjorgen
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