Cross-Country

Sunday Jan. 5, 2014 12:48 ET

Norway sweeps Tour de Ski gold

Canadian Ivan Babikov 4th in gruelling final stage

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Therese Johaug of Norway celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the women 9 km pursue race at the cross country Tour de Ski competition, in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Sunday. (Giovanni Auletta/Associated Press)

Therese Johaug and Martin Johnsrud Sundby became the first Norwegians to win the Tour de Ski on Sunday in Val Di Fiemme, Italy.

Johaug had started the day 23 seconds behind compatriot Astrid Jacobsen but pulled away from her rivals on the final climb in the seventh and final stage.

The 25-year-old Johaug clocked 34 minutes, 19.8 seconds over the nine kilometre course up Mount Cermis. Jacobsen was second, with Heidi Weng finishing third as Norway became the first country to grab all three podium places in the Tour.

In the men's event, Sundby crossed the line in 32 minutes, 49.6 seconds to complete a remarkable day for Norway.

Compatriot Chris Jespersen was second, with Johannes Duerr of Austria beating Petter Northug to third to prevent another clean sweep for the Norwegians.

Canada's Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., posted the fourth best time in the stage (32:14.1), raising him to a 16th overall finish in the Tour de Ski.

“Ivan was really good today. He is just so tough and good technically going up that mountain,” Justin Wadsworth, head coach of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski team said. “You can be extremely fit, but that climb takes a special person because you need to be fit but you also have to be really good technically. 

"Ivan is a perfect mix and he has such good technique.”

Fellow Canadians Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey did not compete in the final stage.

With files from CBCSports.ca

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