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Sweden wins cross-country relay

Sweden won the gold medal in the men's 4x10-kilometre cross-country race Wednesday, with Canada placing 7th, at Whistler Olympic Park.

Sweden won the gold medal in the men's 4x10-kilometre cross-country race Wednesday at Whistler Olympic Park.

The Swedish team of Anders Soedergren, Marcus Hellner, Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson completed the race in a time of 1:45:05.4.

Clinching silver was Norway (1:45:21.3), while the Czech Republic (1:45:21.9) took bronze.

Canada's Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov and George Grey finished in seventh place with a time of 1:47:03.2, the host nation's best result ever in the event.

France, Sweden and the Czech Republic led most of the race before Norway caught up, and the Swedes took over.

Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., led the team from the starting line, while Harvey of St-Ferréol, Que., made strides in the second lap before handing off to Babikov of Canmore, Alta.

Grey of Rossland, B.C., anchored the race for the Canadian contingent.

Fourteen countries competed for the podium in wet snow and overcast conditions.

The Canadians, considered to have had an outside shot for a medal, have been slowly making gains at the 2010 Games.

On Feb. 22, Kershaw and Harvey were fourth in the 10-km team sprint, a best-ever result for Canada.

In the 30-km pursuit on Feb. 20, three Canadians finished in the top 10 — with Babikov placing fifth, Grey eighth and Harvey ninth. Kershaw was 16th.

At last year's world championships, Canada was fifth in the relay event — nearly catching the Italians, a country often considered a dark horse.

with files from CBCSports.ca