Cologna outsprints rivals for gold

Switzerland's Dario Cologna came through in a tense sprint finish to win the men's 15km skiathlon title at the Laura Cross Country Center.

Cologna burst past Sweden's Marcus Hellner on the final incline to take his second Olympic gold medal after winning the 15km freestyle title in Vancouver four years ago.

Victory also marked a remarkable comeback by Cologna, who had undergone an operation on an injured ankle in November before fighting his way back to form.

Cologna said: "It's very special for me after my injury. I didn't expect to be on the podium some months ago. I can't believe I won the first race."

Hellner, the defending champion in the event, had to settle for silver, while Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby pipped Russia's Maxim Vylegzhanin for bronze despite protests from the hosts about an alleged rule infraction.

Sundby appeared to obstruct the Russian during the sprint finish but, after studying video evidence, the International Ski Federation decided to give the Norwegian a written reprimand.

Sundby said: " I lost my balance coming into the last five metres. I did not feel I had touched him or hurt his performance.

"I saw the pictures from the last 10 metres and it was not fair play. I changed lanes, but this was not my intention. I would feel really upset if he feels I obstructed him from the bronze medal. Luckily it didn't influence the result."

Vylegzhanin declined to blame Sundby for the result, insisting he was unaware of the incident.

Norwegian favourite Petter Northug finished in a disappointing 17th place after a season ravaged by illness and injury.