Germany, Norway Win World Cup Relay Openers


BEITOSTOLEN, Norway, Nov. 21, 2003 (AP) -- German men won a cross-country ski relay Sunday, finishing two seconds ahead of Norway in a World Cup opener.

Norway beat Germany in the women's relay, with Marit Bjorgen edging Manuela Henkel at the finish line.

Norway showed its depth in men's skiing by taking third place with its second team, just 4.4 seconds behind Germany in the 40-kilometer mixed-style relay.

Ole Einar Bjorndalen, perhaps the greatest biathlete in history, skied the last freestyle on Norway's second team.

Germany's Tobias Angerer held off Norway's Tore Ruud Hofstad down the stretch. Jens Filbrich and Axel Teichmann skied the first two classical style laps for Germany, whose winning time was 1 hour, 41 minutes, 29.0 seconds.

In the women's race, the Norwegian quartet covered the 20K mixed-style relay in 56:38.7, beating the Germans by one second. It was Norway's 23rd World Cup win.

World Cup racing resumes in Finland next weekend.