Valnes leads another podium sweep for Norway in Oberhof

Norway's Erik Valnes celebrates after the mass start classic over 20 kilometers during the cross-country skiing World Cup in Oberhof. Martin Schutt/dpa
Norway's Erik Valnes celebrates after the mass start classic over 20 kilometers during the cross-country skiing World Cup in Oberhof. Martin Schutt/dpa
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Erik Valnes led another podium sweep for Norway in Germany's Oberhof with a win in the cross country World Cup mass start on Saturday.

Valnes completed the 20-kilometre course in 46 minutes 03.0 seconds to finish ahead of team-mates Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget and Paal Golberg.

On Friday, Valnes won the sprint, while Norway team-mates Ansgar Evensen and Even Northug completed the podium.

"I'm loving it here in Oberhof," Valnes said. "I was feeling good so in the last half of the race I was very much staying in the top-three-four or in the front. I was feeling really strong and just waiting for the finish."

World Cup leader Harald Østberg Amundsen was only 14th, while defending champion Johannes Høsflot Klæbo was 17th. Both of them also represent Norway.

In the women's race, World Cup leader Jessie Diggins of the United States was sixth and again failed to be on the podium a day after she didn't make it past the semi-finals in the sprint.

Sweden's Frida Karlsson was the winner with the fastest time of 55:33.6 minutes, while the home crowd was delighted by a second place for Katharina Hennig.

Four-time Olympic medallist Kerttu Niskanen of Finland completed the podium in third.

"I've been longing for this. It was a long time since last victory so today I felt really good," Karlsson said. Her last World Cup win was in January 2023.

"We've had a lot of sun and cinnamon buns so I think that's key to the success," she said.

A men and women's relay complete the programme in Oberhof on Sunday.

Norway's Erik Valnes (C) and Paal Goldberg (R) celebrate after the mass start classic over 20 kilometers during the cross-country skiing World Cup in Oberhof. Martin Schutt/dpa
Norway's Erik Valnes (C) and Paal Goldberg (R) celebrate after the mass start classic over 20 kilometers during the cross-country skiing World Cup in Oberhof. Martin Schutt/dpa