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Germany wins cross country team sprint

3/18/2006

SAPPORO, Japan -- Olympic silver medalist Claudia Kuenzel
led Germany to victory Saturday in a World Cup cross country team
sprint race.

Kuenzel and teammate Evi Sachenbacher Stehle had a winning time
of 14 minutes, 11.5 seconds in the six-kilometer race on the
Shirahatayama course.

Ritta Liisa Lassila and Pirjo Manninen of Finland finished
second, 14.4 seconds back. Britta Norgren and Anna Karin
Stroemstedt of Sweden were third.

Kuenzel opened up a commanding lead on the final lap of the race
and raised both arms in celebration as she crossed the finish line.
Sunday's 7.5-kilometer pursuit race at the same venue is the
last cross country World Cup event of the season.

Overall leader Marit Bjoergen of Norway heads into the race with
a 46-point lead over Canada's Beckie Scott. Neither athlete took
part in Saturday's team event.

In the men's team sprint, Cristian Zorzi and Loris Frasnelli of
Italy edged Norway's Johan Kjoelstad and Eldar Roenning in a photo
finish.