Ole Einar Bjørndalen opened the relay for Norway, while Emil Hegle Svendsen anchored the team to victory at the IBU World Cup relay in Rupholding (GER).
It’s been a full year since the Norwegian men last won a World Cup relay, and with less than two months to go until the World Championships on home turf in Holmenkollen (NOR) in March, the victory was a much needed confidence-builder for the team.
The team performance on Friday also reestablished Norway as a clear favorite to win the relay gold at the World Championships in Oslo. Ole Einar Bjørndalen skied the first leg for Norway, while Emil Hegle Svendsen skied the final leg of the relay and secured the victory.
“We like the pressure. We like being favorites. And when we can win despite shooting as poorly as we did today, we are favorites,” Ole Einar Bjørndalen said to Aftenposten reporters after the race.
On Sunday, Miriam Gössner (photo) helped Germany to second place in the biathlon relay on home turf in Rupholding (GER).
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The FIS cross-country World Cup featured an individual sprint in Planica (SLO) on Saturday and a team sprint the next day, both skate. On Saturday, Heidi Weng cruised into third place in the women’s sprint, less than a week after finishing third overall in the 2016 Tour de Ski. Given the toll of the eight races in ten days, and the features of the course in Planica, Weng was almost surprised to be on the podium this weekend as well as outsprinting Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) in a mad dash for the finish line.
“I am still surprised with third today. I thought Ingvild beat me in the finish. I still felt tired after the Tour de Ski but it got better during the day. I like the course here in Planica,” Weng said after her race on Saturday.
On Sunday, Weng kept it up and helped Norway to second place in the team sprint, while fellow Madshus racer Hanna Kolb helped Germany to third place.