March 01, 2017

LAHTI, Finland (AP) Iivo Niskanen won the men's 15-kilometer classical cross-country race Wednesday at the Nordic world championships.

Niskanen won by 17.9 seconds to give host Finland its first individual gold medal at a major championship since 2011.

Niskanen said he had a plan ''not (to) start too hard'' and save energy for later in the race.

It was Niskanen's second world championship medal following bronze in the team sprint last week, and denied Norway a 100th cross-country gold medal in world championship history.

Martin Johnsrud Sundby won his second silver medal of this year's championships, beating Norwegian teammate Niklas Dyrhaug by 13.4 seconds.

Dyrhaug had lagged behind Russian rival Alexander Bessmertnykh's time with less than three kilometers remaining, but produced a late surge to claim the final podium place.

Johannes Rydzek of Germany won his third gold medal of this year's championships, and fifth of his career, with victory in the Nordic combined large hill event.

Rydzek delivered his trademark final sprint to beat Akiko Watabe by 4.8 seconds. Watabe became Japan's first Nordic combined world medalist since 2009. Francois Braud of France was third, 13 seconds behind Rydzek.

Mario Seidl of Austria dominated the ski jumping portion of the event to start the cross-country race with a 46-second led, but was caught by a group containing Rydzek at the 7.5-kilometer mark and had to settle for fourth.

Rydzek can complete a sweep of the gold medals in Nordic combined if he wins the team large hill sprint with Germany on Friday.

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