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Sweden and Norway in sprint clash

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07:42 CET+01:00
Old antagonists and neighbours Sweden and Norway will meet in both the men's and women's team sprints to decide who gets the cross-country bragging rights at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games.

With four medals each so far from the Nordic events, the Scandinavian rivals will be battling for bragging rights with Norway starting out as favourites in the men's competition.

Reigning world champion Ola Vigen Hattestad has won every major title bar Olympic gold at senior level and the 27-year-old has a strong list of sprinters in the Norwegian team to choose as his partner.

Petter Northug proved his ability as an all-rounder with a bronze in the classic sprint final last Wednesday and could well partner Hattestad.

Sweden will be in the mix after Marcus Hellner claimed gold in the pursuit on Saturday with compatriot Johan Olsson taking bronze.

The team sprint is a tandem relay race, where teams of two each complete three loops using a freestyle technique.

Norway, Russia and Sweden, who shared the medals in the team sprint at the

2006 Turin Games, all look to be back amongst the medals again.

One team that could break the Norwegian-Swedish domination is Russia after Nikita Kriukov claimed gold and Alexander Panzhinskiy took bronze in the sprint.

In the women's event, Norway will also be the team to beat with Marit Bjørgen chasing her third gold of these Games.

The 29-year-old has already won gold in the individual sprint, the 15km pursuit and a bronze in the 10km free.

Canada could challenge the European domination with Chandra Crawford, the shock Olympic champion in the individual sprint from Turin, and Sara Renner most likely to pair up.

Finland and Sweden have plenty of pedigree in this event.

The Finns have a roster of talented veterans, while Charlotte Kalla looks likely to figure for Sweden after her victory in the 10km freestyle.

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