Eldar Roenning, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Sjur Roethe and Petter Northug ensured Norway defeated Sweden on their own snow in Gaellivare to win the first relay of its kind at the season opener.
And with Didrik Toenseth in for Northug, who has chosen to skip the round in La Clusaz, in the only change to the quartet, Norway repeated the trick as 0.8 seconds separated the top three.
It was Kazakhstan, who were to finish 11th, who led after the first leg as Sergey Cherepanov posted 20:25.5 with Russia's Evgeniy Belov second fastest and Roenning third.
Cherepanov's teammate Alexandr Malyshev couldn't follow suit on leg two though as Kazakhstan fell away and Russia took the lead through Maxim Vylegzhanin.
The Czech's, thanks to Lukas Bauer, were now up to second with Sweden third and Norway down to fourth after Northug's replacement Toenseth clocked 20:18.7.
However, as Tour de Ski winner Alexander Legkov maintained Russia's led heading into the fourth and final leg, Sundby hauled Norway back to second with Sweden third and the Czech's fourth.
Roethe then put in the third quickest fourth leg to move Norway up one place again to first with Sweden moving up to second and the Czech Republic third.
He beat Marcus Hellner to the line by 0.5 while Martin Jaks was just 0.3 behind, after producing the quickest time of the leg, with Russian having to settle for fourth 9.3 back.
- Sports & Recreation