Host City: Vancouver, Canada
Venue(s): Whistler Olympic Park, Whistler
Date Started: February 24, 2010
Date Finished: February 24, 2010
The relay took place in a raging snowstorm, with several centimeters of snow falling on the course during the race. Norway was the favorite, having won the 2007 and 2009 World Championship, and they were led by Petter Northug, who had already won pursuit gold, and sprint bronze in Vancouver, and would later add gold in the 50 km marathon. A group of five nations, Finland, France, Sweden, Germany and Norway took over early in the first leg. Johan Olsson (SWE) and Vincent Vittoz (FRA) then pulled away from the others over the second leg, but an outstanding second leg from Lukaš Bauer (CZE), bronze medallist in the 15 km, ensured that the three nations started the third leg ahead of the rest, while Norway was back in sixth after two legs. Anders Södergren (SWE), Maurice Manificat (FRA) and Jiří Magál (CZE) worked together on the third leg to ensure they retained an advantage of 30 seconds over the rest of the field by the final changeover, with Norway still back in sixth. On the last leg, pursuit gold medalist Marcus Hellner (SWE), put in a tremendous attack around 3 km from home and was never seriously challenged after that, winning for Sweden in a time of 1-45:05.4. However, the race for the other medals was building up as Northug skied a tremendous anchor, and began to close the gap on Martin Koukal (CZE) and Emmanuel Jonnier (FRA), and finally caught them in the closing stages. Realizing he couldn’t catch the Swedish team, Northug bided his time and sprinted for the finishing line to take second place for Norway, just 0.6 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic team in third place. France, as in 2006, had to settle for 4th place. Hellner and Northug were close rivals, but this was the second victory for Hellner over the Norwegians, after his pursuit gold.