On Friday, Didrik Tønseth (NOR) raced into second place in the men’s 15K classic at the FIS season opener at Beitostoelen, Norway. Saturday he followed suit with a second podium finish in equally many attempts, placing third in the 15K skate after missing the second place narrowly by only 2.7 seconds.
The skate race was a particularly good finish for Tønseth, who traditionally has never had his best races early in the season.
“I was one spot worse in the 15K skate, but it was really big for me to podium in the skate race. I didn’t expect that,” Tønseth said after his race, noting that the season has just begun.
“It’s always fun to ski fast, but this is really just a prep for what’s coming next.”
The two podium finishes at the season opener are significant in that they secure Tønseth’s spot on the Norwegian national team that will race at the World Cup opener in Finland on November 29-30.
“It’s important to ski fast here in order to be named for the World Cup team next week, so now I just hope to maintain my performance until Finland next week,” he said.
However, Tønseth was not the only Madshus racer on the podium this weekend.
Barbro Kvåle (NOR) won the women’s classic sprint on Sunday, out powering a deep and stacked field for her first ever sprint victory. Additionally, Kvåle was eighth in the 10km classic race on Friday.
Johan Kjølstad (NOR), a former national team sprint specialist turned long-distance skier, showed that he still remembers how to sprint. Kjølstad, one of only two skiers to race without kick wax in the final, pulled into an impressive third place in challenging conditions at Beitostølen.
Heidi Weng (NOR) also bagged two podium finishes at Beitostølen with third place both in the women’s 10km classic and the 10km skate.
For Weng, the Beito season opener has always been a particularly challenging.
“I’ve always had a hard time with the season openers at Beitostølen. They’ve never been my best races and especially in the skate race. There’s a lot of V2 here, and I’ve always struggled with that,” Weng said after her race.
“I skied well on the first lap, but then I fell back toward the end of the last lap. I’m 50 seconds back, but that’s less than a minute and I take that as a bonus,” she said with a smile.
“I generally get better as the season progresses, and I’m looking forward to the World Cup.”