Klaebo becomes youngest cross-country ski World Cup champ

FALUN, Sweden (AP) — Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, 21, became the youngest man to win the overall cross-country ski World Cup title Sunday, while his fellow Norwegian Heidi Weng retained the women’s title.

Klaebo finished just 25th in Sunday’s 15-kilometer freestyle pursuit, the last race of the season, but that was enough for him to keep hold of the standings lead.

Russian Alexander Bolshunov won the race by almost 50 seconds, a day after his first career World Cup win. Second place went to Alex Harvey of Canada, with third for Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, the only skier who could have challenged Klaebo for the overall title.

That ends a dominant season for Klaebo, who won three Olympic gold medals last month. He started the World Cup season with five wins in the first six races, and held the standings lead for all except a brief period in January when he was overtaken by Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

The previous youngest winner was Sweden’s Gunde Svan, who was 22 when he won the first of his five titles in 1984.

Weng became the women’s cross-country ski World Cup champion for the second year in a row Sunday, holding off U.S. skier Jessie Diggins.

Weng, who had been complaining of fatigue, was only 18th in Sunday’s 10k freestyle pursuit race but that was enough to cling on as fellow Norwegian Marit Bjoergen took the race win, denying Weng’s title rivals the 200 points on offer for the winner of the World Cup’s final round.

Diggins finished second, 16.7 seconds behind Bjoergen and just over a minute ahead of her U.S. teammate Sadie Bjornsen.

Weng won the overall title by 40 points from Diggins, becoming the first woman to win consecutive titles since Justyna Kowalczyk in 2011.

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