Updated: Saturday, 15 February 2014 02:46 | By Agence France-Presse

Dario the great reigns supreme in Sochi

Switzerland's Dario Cologna on Friday won his second gold of the Sochi Olympics and underlined his supremacy in cross country skiing with a dominant performance in the men's 15km classic.


Dario the great reigns supreme in Sochi

Switzerland's Dario Cologna competes to win gold in the Men's Cross-Country Skiing 15km Classic at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 14, 2014 in Rosa Khutor near Sochi - by Alberto Pizzoli

After a steady start, Cologna took the time trial race by the scruff of the neck from the middle section and was able to punch the air in triumph as he crossed the line.

He finished in 38min 29.7sec, a colossal 28.5sec ahead of his nearest challenger Johan Olsson of Sweden who took silver. Daniel Richardsson, also of Sweden, won the bronze in 39min 8.5sec.

The race once again took place in warm conditions of up to 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) that made the going tough on soft snow and prompted many athletes, including Cologna, to race in T-shirts.

Cologna's gold is his second in Sochi after his win in the skiathlon that mixes both the classic and freestyle.

He said his triumphs in Sochi were particularly special after he tore a ligament in his ankle in November, which forced him to miss a crucial training period.

"It's amazing. I couldn't believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second," said Cologna, 27. 

"It was the perfect race. I knew it would be hard and I was prepared for it," said Cologna.

It is is third Olympic gold after he also won the 15km in Vancouver 2010 which was run as a freestyle event.

Cologna's three gold medals at the Winter Games, equals alpine skier Vreni Scheider's mark at second in the Swiss all time list. Only ski jumper Simon Ammann, with four, has more gold medals.

For once in a nordic event, Norway were absent from the podium with its highest finisher Chris Andre Jespersen coming in just sixth. 

The Norwegian team rested its fearsome superstar Petter Northug for the event after his disappointing results at the start of the Games.

Jespersen caused a minor stir in the race for wearing shorts to cope with the hot weather, an unusual kit choice for a winter athlete but hardly surprising in the temperatures.

German veteran Axel Teichmann, who came eighth, was unamused by the hot weather. "I became a winter athlete to do my sport in winter, not in summer. That was definitely the warmest race of my career," he said.

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