- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Nikita Kriukov powered past his cross-country ski rivals in the final 100 meters to win the Royal Palace Sprint in Stockholm on Thursday.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross-Country World Cup race, being staged for the 11th time, is held on a 1.2-kilometer course around the Royal Palace in the Swedish capital’s Old Town.

The Russian was in fourth place heading into the final part of the classical-style race until a fast finish propelled him past Norwegians Ola Vigen Hattestad and Petter Northug Jr., who ended up in second and third place, respectively.

“I am back,” Kriukov said. “It feels good to be back on the podium again and this time in first.”

Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway won the women’s race, beating her compatriot Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg. Home favorite Stina Nilsson of Sweden was third.

The win means Falla has now overtaken Nilsson at the top of the sprint leaderboard.

“I felt so strong today and the conditions were really difficult so it’s great to win again,” she said. “Now I have the red sprint leaders bib and I hope that I can fight to keep it.”

Oestberg is second in the overall standings with 1552 points, 92 behind distance specialist Therese Johaug, also of Norway. Another Norwegian, Heidi Weng, is third with 1221.

Norwegians also dominate the men’s standings, with Martin Johnsrud Sundby leading, Finn Haagen Krogh second and Northug Jr. third.

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