MOSCOW, December 8 (R-Sport) - Russia got off to the best-possible start to the team event in cross-country skiing's World Cup on Sunday with victory in Lillehammer, Norway.
The Russian quartet of Dmitry Yaparov, Alexander Bessmertnykh, Alexander Legkov - a 2007 world silver medalist - and Maxim Vylegzhanin finished the 4x7.5km course just 1.6 seconds faster than the second Norway team.
Norway's A team was 0.2 seconds further adrift for third place.
The result bodes well for the Sochi 2014 Olympics in Russia, when the men's relay will be contested over a longer 4x10km course.
"It is a great day and great victory for us," Legkov said on the International Ski Federation website. "This season is the most important and I am happy we showed such a great performance in the relay today."
"Maxim did a great move towards the end. I hope in Sochi we will perform in the same way."
It was the first of three team events on the men's cross-country World Cup calendar this season. There is a ladies' World Cup event in Davos, Switzerland, next week, but the next stop for the men is a team sprint in Asiago, Italy, on December 22. After that comes the relentless pace of the nine-day, three-country Tour de Ski around New Year.
The Olympics run from February 7 through 23.