Dario Cologna wins skiathlon gold

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Dario Cologna had the strongest finish to win the men's 30-kilometer skiathlon at the Sochi Olympics on Sunday, showing he's back to full fitness after a season disrupted by an ankle injury.

The Swiss cross-country skier pulled away from a quartet of skiers at the top of the final uphill section and then held off defending champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden on the final straight.

Cologna finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 15.4 seconds for his second Olympic gold medal. Hellner was 0.4 seconds behind to win silver, with Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway taking bronze.

Cologna is a three-time overall World Cup winner. He needed surgery to repair an ankle ligament in November and only returned to competition last month.

After the race, the Russian team lodged an unsuccessful protest, saying Maxim Vylegzhanin was impeded in the sprint for the bronze medal.

Vylegzhanin lost a tight race against Sundby, with the Norwegian finishing 0.1 seconds in front. The Russian team claimed Sundby had cut off Vylegzhanin in an unfair manner, but the International Ski Federation confirmed the results after a brief jury deliberation. Sundby told Norwegian TV he was given a written warning but could keep the bronze.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.