Congrats to the Norwegians and Germans, those were some great races. The Germans are really good at raising their game for these relays and have a strong quartet of 5k athletes. 4x7,5 or 10k would be a problem but they've really isolated this as a race they can maximise. The Norway teams of yesteryear were way more overpowered than this and AKK on the last leg was always a risk as she would need to finish alone, so tactically breaking away with Østberg was the best call for them and it worked to perfection with Karlsson having blown chasing earlier leaving them with one-on-one battles rather than Kalvaa having to ski with Dahlqvist or Pärmäkoski. Commiserations to the Finns, they just needed Piippo to be that little bit stronger, but she's a useful young talent. For the US to step up at any point from now until Diggins' eventual retirement they are going to need somebody who can ski a competitive classic leg, as unless FIS completely neuter the classics courses to destroy the chances of gaps being produced, they will always be either handing over to their best skiers with a sizable deficit, or expending their best skiers on their weaker technique. This isn't to dunk on Swirbul or Brennan - it's just that they kind of get the classic legs simply by virtue of others being even more skating-biased than they are.