Irishman Thomas Maloney Westgaard produced the best performance of his career to take ninth at the Tour de Ski 15km cross-county in Toblach, northern Italy.

The 25-year-old – whose mother is Irish – lives in Norway, and has dual nationality. The TdS is a stage event in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup.

Maloney Westgaard has been competing in the World Cup since 2016. He represented Ireland at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang where he finished 60th in the men's 15km + 15km cross-country skiathlon.

He recorded the best result of his career by finishing 14.3 seconds behind winner Alexander Bolshunov of Russia.

"It's like San Marino qualifying for the football World Cup," Maloney Westgaard told Sportbladet afterwards.

"It's a day to remember. I represent Norway at the same time as Ireland, although Ireland is the main thing.

"But a shoutout to Norway, I think there are many there who think it's fun that I succeed."