Madshus biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) raced the arguably most impressive leg in the men’s 4x10K relay at the cross-country World Cup opener at Sjusjøen, Norway, Sunday.

Svendsen made up almost two minutes on the leaders and worked his way up to the leaders, and mixed in with the photo finish sprint. Overall, he pulled his team, Norway 2, into seventh place overall. Svendsen’s raced his leg in 22 minutes and 31.1 seconds. Petter Northug, who was the first to cross the finish line, skied 24:15.1

“I almost managed to get within shooting range,” the skilled marksman said to Norwegian television station NRK after the race.

Svendsen was endlessly more content with his performance Sunday compared to the individual 15K skate race on Saturday. He placed 15th, but was not pleased with his event.

“I raced so much better today. Of course, that was a little annoying,” said Svendsen, who had hoped to race faster in the World Cup opener.

However, the weekend has been a good test of fitness and technique, and Svendsen is looking forward to the biathlon World Cup opener in Östersund, Sweden, in ten days.

“It’s really good to feel that I’m on track,” Svendsen said, adding that it’s always good to race the top cross-country specialists.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to race here and test my speed against the best racers in the world. It’s definitely a good time,” Svendsen said.

Emil Hegle Svendsen - while he is always in a hurry on the course, he finds time to sign autographs at the venue. Photo: Inge Scheve