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US, Russia take victory in team sprints at Nordic Worlds

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy -- Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins gave the United States its first gold medal in cross-country skiing at the Nordic World Championships, winning the women's team sprint Sunday.

The American duo finished 7.8 seconds ahead of defending champions Charlotte Kalla and Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden, which also finished second in the men's event.

It was closer in the men's race, with Alexei Petukhov and Nikita Kriukov of Russia edging Marcus Hellner and Emil Joensson by 0.4 seconds.

Olympic champion Jason Lamy Chappuis — who won the individual title on Friday — led France to victory in the Nordic combined team event. He finished 0.4 seconds ahead of Magnus Moan in a close sprint on the final straightaway.

That was to be Norway's only medal after it won six out of the 10 on offer on Saturday. While Japan won the first ever mixed team ski jumping title to secure its first gold of the championships.

In the women's 6x1.2-kilometer sprint, Randall anchored the victory with a scorching final lap to pull away from the Swedish and Finnish teams.

Finland's Riika Sarasoja-Lilja and Krista Lahteenmaki were third, 10.9 seconds behind the Americans.

Norway, one of the pre-race favorites, finished fourth after Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg fell.

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Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall pose with their gold medals on the podium of the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Cavalese, Italy on Sunday, Feb. 24. (AFP)

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