Eurosport - Wed, 17 Mar 19:53:00 2010
Olympic champion Nikita Kriukov captured the cross country sprint event at the World Cup Final in Stockholm to bring the curtain down on his breakthrough season in style.
The Russian sprint specialist finished ahead of overall World Cup winner Petter Northug and Sweden's World Cup sprint champion Emil Joennson to strike his first career World Cup victory.
The 24-year old struck a surprise gold at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver last month, beating compatriot Alexander Panzhinskiy in a lunge for the line to win in his debut Games.
And having slumped to 27th and 26th in the two World Cup sprint events since Vancouver, Kriukov bounced back to the top of the podium in Stockholm, qualifying seventh fastest before powering through to gold.
Meanwhile, the crowd celebrated a home winner in the women's event as Anna Olsson prevailed to score her first podium finish of the season in the last sprint race of her career.
The 33-year old has decided to call time on her 13-year career at the end of the World Cup Final but had flattered to deceive this season, qualifying in the top three on three occasions - including in Vancouver - before disappointing in the knockout rounds.
But Olsson put an end to her losing streak in front of her home crowd, leading qualification by more than 0.5 seconds before streaming through the knock out rounds to win.
World Cup champion Justyna Kowalczyk followed Olsson home in silver while triple Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen finished off the top spot for the first time since Vancouver, coming third.
The World Cup Final continues in Falun on Friday with a further three days racing.
Cross-Country World Cup Falun
Women's 5km - Friday 10.30am LIVE on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin 525) and Eurosport Player
Men's 5km - Friday 12.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Women's Pursuit - Saturday 12.15pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Men's Pursuit - Saturday 5.30pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Women's 10km - Sunday 12.15pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player
Men's 15km - Sunday 2pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player