The French cross-country mixed relay team defeated reigning champions Russia on Sunday (1 February), on the last day of the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin, USA.
France (27:10.6), composed of standing skier Benjamin Daviet, Anthony Chalencon with guide Lucas Duperrex and Thomas Clarion, guided by Julien Bourla, claimed gold in the 4x2.5km race.
"It's a really collective victory," Clarion said through a translator. "We are only three athletes in Team France and we decide to compete all together and so it seems to have been the best choice."
By the end of the third split, France had built a lead of over one minute. Russia pressed in the final leg, but could not catch up.
Daviet, who skied the first and third legs for France, said: "I (started) very strong. I tried to stay with the first skiers and I finished with all I have - my best."
Russia (27:30.7), composed of sit-skiers Grigory Murygin and Roman Petushkov and standing skiers Vladislav Lekomtcev and Rushan Minnegulov, were third after the first leg, but improved to take silver.
The Ukrainian team of Iurii Utkin and guide Vitalii Kazakov, Ihor Reptyukh (standing), Maksym Yarovyi (sitting) and Iaroslav Reshetynskiy with guide Artur Gergardt, led for the first two legs before giving way to France and settling for bronze in 27:40.3.
Russia (29:47.5) did manage to claim one of the two gold medals available on Sunday, racing to victory in the mixed relay.
Composed of sitting skiers Natalia Kocherova and Alexey Bychenok with Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov, and Stanislav Chokhlaev with guide Evgenii Fatkhullin, Russia won the relay on the final lap, gaining a minute in time to capture the top spot on the podium.
Ukraine (30:26.8), formed of Anatolii Kovalevskiy, guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn, and standing skiers Oleksandra Kononova and Liudmyla Liashenko, took silver after leading at the second and third splits.
Norway's (30:38.9) team of sit-skier Mariann Marthinsen, standing athlete Nils-Erik Ulset and the duo of Eirik Bye with guide Kristian Myhre Hellerud, claimed bronze.
Ulset, who skied the second leg of his team's race, was happy to return to the podium and close out his experience in Cable with a team medal.
"We were hoping to be on the podium and everybody on the team did a good job," Ulset said.
"You have more [classes] competing for the same medal today. It's something else when you compete [for] the same medals so that's fun."
The final medals table shows Russia finishing with 24 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze medals for a total of 55 medals overall.
Ukraine played runner-up in the medal standings, winning nine gold medals, 11 silver and 10 bronze for 30 medals overall.
With three gold and three bronze medals, Germany rounded off the top three.
Hosts USA finished with four silver and three bronze.
A full list of results from all competitions is available at www.paralympic.org/nordic-skiing/calendar-results.
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