Alexander Bolshunov's silver-medal heartache finally came to an end after being crowned 30km skiathlon world champion in Oberstdorf.
For so long the Russian has had to make do with second best, winning three silver medals and a bronze at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games and taking home four silvers from the 2019 World Championships.
But finally the 24-year-old can stand atop the podium, stopping the clock in 1:11.33.9 to win a dramatic skiathlon race in Switzerland.
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The Russian Ski Federation athlete won by just 1.1 seconds ahead of Simen Hegstad Krüger, one of a plethora of Norwegian athletes in the chasing pack behind Bolshunov.
Krüger edged out compatriot Hans Christer Holund by just half a second, with Johannes Høsflot Klæbo – a triple Olympic champion three years ago – settling for fourth place more than 20 seconds adrift.
Klæbo got the better of Emil Iversen in a sprint while Sjur Røthe rounded off the top six – with Norway's quintet of skiers finishing from second to sixth in the race.
Britain's Andrew Musgrave was by far and away the best of the rest, skiing in clear air to take seventh spot – almost 30 seconds clear of the rest in 1:13:07.2.
Bolshunov's gold is the first for the Russian Ski Federation at Oberstdorf 2021 with Norway – who have won 14 of the 24 medals available so far – dominating the medal table at the Nordic World Championships.
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