The World Cup season is just around the corner. These are some of the racers to keep an eye on this winter.

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint at the 2017 IBU World Championships. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon
Benedikt Doll (GER)
– the ambitious German from Titisee-Neustadt earned the gold in the sprint at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen (Austria) in February, with a 0.7 second margin. This was his first individual World Championships gold medal, and only the third time in his entire career that Doll shot clean.

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal. First place feels really special,” Doll said to reporters after his race.

Doll also helped Germany to silver in the relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and has several World Cup podiums and Junior World Championship medals.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) – the 26-year-old from Froland anchored Norway to gold in relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and also helped Norway to the bronze medal in the mixed relay at the same championships. Olsbu comes into the season as the reigning Norwegian champion in the mass start event as well as the in summer biathlon, and eager to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February.

The 2018 IBU Biathlon World Cup opens with a full round of races in Lillehammer(NOR) November 22-26.

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Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Cross-country
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
– a stayer at the World Cup level, the 28-year-old had his breakthrough at the international level in the 2016 season, posting several World-Cup podium finishes. Last season, he injured his shoulder in the final weeks prior to the season, but still managed to come back in time for the World Cup. This season, Holund has his eyes set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February. In July, he won the brutal uphill rollerski race Lysebotn Opp by a full minute, leaving the entire World Cup elite in the dust.

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was 3rd in the 15km classic at the FIS World Cup in Otepaeae (EST). Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) is coming off a flying World Cup season and going for more. Photo: Nordic Focus

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) – the strong all-round racer from Gjøvik, hardly needs further introduction. Performing in both distance and sprint races, Østberg has earned multiple World Cup podiums since her first appearance on the international circuit in November 2008. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (RUS), she helped Norway to gold in the team sprint and earned a silver medal in the sprint event. At the 2015 World Championships in Falun (SWE), she again helped Norway to gold in the team sprint. She was third in the overall 2017 World Cup, and with a total of 48 World Cup podiums and 105 top-10-finishes.

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Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center), with Heidi Weng (left) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) during the 2017 Tour de Ski in Val Müstair (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Liz Stephen (USA) – New on the Madshus team this season, the 30-year-old from Vermont is known throughout the racing community as one of the best climbers in the world. She has been a part of the US Ski Team since 2007, and was a part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as well as the U.S. World Championship teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.

“I’m really excited to be on Madshus this season,” says Stephen, who is aiming for her third Olympics with the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang (South Korea).

The 2018 FIS World Cup season opens with a mini tour in Ruka (Finland) on November 24.

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus