VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) — Dario Cologna finally captured his first Nordic world championships title in the skiathlon, while Marit Bjoergen racked up her 10th to close in on the all-time record on Saturday.
Ski jumper Anders Bardal won his first major title, at the age of 30, by taking gold in the normal hill event as Norway filled over half of the day's podium places.
Cologna timed his break perfectly to win the men's 30-kilometer pursuit, edging out Norwegians Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Sjur Roethe. Defending champion Petter Northug was fourth, 5.2 seconds behind Cologna.
The overall World Cup standings leader, Cologna beat Sundby by 1.8 seconds and Roethe by 2.0.
Having already won the overall World Cup three times to go with an Olympic gold, the Swiss skier can finally call himself a world champion as well.
"It's a very great feeling," Cologna said. "I really wanted to win and I did everything I could. I felt great the whole race. It was a very strong, very tactical race."
He made his move on the final uphill section, about 3 kilometers from the finish, and swiftly opened up a clear gap on his pursuers going into the final section, eliminating the chance of a closing sprint.
That was especially important to hold off Northug, the Norwegian seven-time world champ who specializes in his sprinting ability to win mass-start races.
"I expected it to be close at the end, but I did think someone might go a bit earlier," Cologna said. "I tried to break a bit earlier but it didn't work. I felt very good at the top of the hill when I looked back and saw a small gap behind me.
"I wanted to fight for gold not silver, so I decided to go myself. The last uphill is always aggressive for me. I did it already on the final uphill at Sochi this month and today I did it again."
Earlier, Bjoergen successfully defended another title as she won the 15-kilometer pursuit, with Norway claiming the top four spots.
Bjoergen sped clear of Therese Johaug coming into the stadium to win by 3.4 seconds. Heidi Weng beat Kristin Stoermer Steira in a sprint for the bronze medal, finishing 14.9 seconds behind Bjoergen.
"I'm really happy for myself and for Norway, even if maybe it isn't very good for the sport for us to dominate so much," Bjoergen said. "But we're a very strong team and each one encourages the other and pushes them on."
Bjoergen, a triple Olympic champion, won her third individual sprint world title on Thursday. This was her 10th world title overall.
She is four victories away from Yelena Valbe's record of 14 world championship victories.
Bjoergen, who won four golds two years ago, has decided not to race in Sunday's relay, preferring to focus on Tuesday's 10K free and the individual 30K classic in a week.
Bardal had the longest jump of the day with 103.5 meters in the first round and finished with a total of 252.6 points. Overall World Cup leader Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria was 4.2 points back in second place, with Peter Prevc of Slovenia finishing 8.3 points behind in third.
Bardal, who won the overall World Cup last year, had four previous silver medals at the worlds and took bronze at the 2010 Olympics, but all those came in team events.
"It's the best day ever for me," Bardal said. "I tried to stay calm and stay focused and felt I managed quite well. So it's a perfect day."