Niskanen skies to World victory in 15km classic
Olympic team sprint gold medallist Iivo Niskanen added the 15km classic World Championship title to his collection on Wednesday, skiing to a dominant victory on home snow in Lahti, Finland.
Niskanen crossed the finish line in a time of 36:44.0, 17.9 seconds ahead of Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby who picked up the silver medal - his second of the Championships.
Sundby's compatriot Niklas Dyrhaug - who won team relay gold in 2015 - completed the podium line-up, beating Alexander Bessmertnykh to the bronze medal by 10.5 seconds.
Niskanen had dominated from the off in the race, with the closest Sundby got to the 25-year-old being 0.5 seconds at the 1.5km mark.
From there, Niskanen opened up the lead, increasing the distance to 25.3 seconds at 9.5 km.
"After the first intermediate I felt quite fresh," said Niskanen.
"Everybody was cheering me on. The last kilometres were difficult but I was thinking about myself and I said to myself I was not going to lose 20 seconds.
"It is such an awesome feeling to win. I was dreaming that one day I could sing the national anthem in Lahti and that dream has come true.
"I think I am the happiest man on Earth now."