By Michael Pavitt

Therese Johaug reacts to winning the women's skiathlon title ©AFP/Getty ImagesNorway's Therese Johaug claimed the fifth gold medal of her career at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, while countryman Rune Velta and Russia's Maxim Vylegzhanin clinched maiden titles.

The women's 15 kilometres skiathlon event was contested at a fast pace from the start with a lead group of seven established.

But with relentless pace throughout led several contenders, including Norway's 2013 and 2014 champion Marit Bjørgen, being dropped.

By the halfway mark a lead group of three, comprising of Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Norwegians Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Johaug had pulled away from the field.

Johaug was able to make the decisive move on the final hill of the race to claim gold in 40min 57.6sec, with Jacobsen and Kalla second and third.

"I wanted to go out hard and fast from the start, but when I came in to change from the classical part I almost thought I had gone too hard," admitted 26-year-old Johaug, who had previously won two gold medals at each of the last two Championships, in Oslo in 2011 and Val di Fiemme in 2013. 

"So on the freestyle part I lay back.

"Then I decided to try to make a spurt on the killer hill and it worked anyway.

"I'm so happy I managed it."

Rune Velta took gold in the men's normal hill ski jump competition ©AFP/Getty ImagesRune Velta took gold in the men's normal hill ski jump competition ©AFP/Getty Images

While Johaug earned her fifth world title, Vylegzhanin was experiencing the top of the World Championship podium for the first time, having shaken off his tag as an eternal runner up to win the men's 30km race.

Vylegzhanin entered the event with three World Championship and three Olympic silver medals to his credit, but finally took gold after outsprinting reigning champion Dario Cologna of Switzerland in the final kilometre.

The Russian finished in a time of 1 hour 16min 25sec, just 0.4 seconds ahead of Cologna, while the bronze medallist Alex Harvey of Canada was only 1.6 seconds behind the winner after a thrilling conclusion to the event.

"So finally got my gold," the 32-year-old Vylegzhanin said.

"I'm so happy, I have no words for it."

The final competition of this fourth day of the Championships saw Norway's Rune Velta take gold in the men's ski jumping after receiving 252.7 points from his two jumps, as he leapt 95.5 metres on both occasions.

Germany's Severin Freund was just 0.4 points behind after earning 252.3 points from his jumps to win silver, while Stefan Kraft's 248.3 proved enough to win the Austrian the bronze medal.

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