Cologna holds on for gold in men's cross country skiathlon

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia ( - Switzerland's Dario Cologna pulled away late and then held on in a tight finish to capture gold in the men's 30-kilometer skiathlon on Sunday.

Sitting 13th after the first leg of the event, the 15-kilomter classical style, Cologna posted the second-fastest time in the freestyle that covered the final stage and was part of a four-man group that emerged down the stretch.

The reigning gold medal winner at the 2013 World Championships, Cologna managed to grab the lead on the final uphill climb of the race and held on to finish with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 15.4 seconds.

Cologna, who took gold in the 15-km freestyle at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finished just 0.4 seconds ahead of Sweden's Marcus Hellner, showing a return to form following ankle surgery in November to repair a torn ligament.

Hellner's silver gave him his third career Olympic medal, having captured gold in the 30-km pursuit and the 4x10-km relay in Vancouver.

Host Russia nearly medalled in the event, but Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby edged out Maxim Vylegzhanin by a mere 0.1 seconds for the bronze with a time of 1:08.16.8.

Norway's Petter Northug, a four-time medalist in Vancouver, came in at 17th, one spot ahead of Canada's top finisher in Alex Harvey.

Noah Hoffman was the first American to finish, posting a time of 1:11:28.1 to sit 35th.