Two-time Olympian Andrew Musgrave recorded an historic first ever World Cup podium to prove his form ahead of the Olympic Winter Games next year.
The 27-year-old came home third in the 15km interval start freestyle event in Toblach, Italy, to register Britain’s first cross country World Cup medal in two years.
Andrew Young was the last Brit to stand on a podium when he took 1.3km freestyle sprint bronze in the same Italian resort almost two years ago, to the day.
And Musgrave replicated that achievement on Saturday, over the longer 15km distance, as he finished third behind Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger and France’s Maurice Manificat.
Musgrave narrowly missed out on a podium at the World Championships earlier this year – finishing fourth in the 50km freestyle mass start – and had a previous best World Cup finish of sixth in Ulricehamn, last season, but dubbed this his most impressive performance.
“That’s my best result ever,” said Musgrave. “I had very good skis and I’m very happy – the team did a fantastic job and I’m really looking forward to the pursuit on Sunday.
“We’ve got a good starting position; unfortunately it’s Classic, not skate, but I think my shape’s good so should hopefully be a good day as well.”
The Brit took the race on in Italy, attacking the opening stages of the course but it was Canada’s Dario Cologna who set the fastest time over the first 2.1km, with Musgrave just three seconds back in fourth.
As the race reached the halfway stage Musgrave had the fastest time over 7.1km, two seconds ahead of Krueger, with Manificat a further 1.2s back.
And the Brit was again setting the pace at the 8.5km mark, before the Norwegian took the advantage at the 10km check point.
Musgrave was still the second fastest with just 1.5km to go, but Manificat was only 0.4s behind and the Frenchman did enough in the closing stages to beat the Brit by 0.9s.
The result moves Musgrave up to 11th in the distance World Cup standings, and 20th in the overall leaderboard.