Østberg and Weng dominate Tour de Ski opener

Ingvild Oestberg (NOR) has a solid overall lead headed into the meat of the 2018 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild F. Østberg is headed into the meat of the Tour de Ski with a solid overall lead. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Heidi Weng are headed into the meat of the 2018 FIS Tour de Ski with a solid overall lead on the rest of the pack after a stellar opening weekend to the 7-stage event in Lenzerheide (SUI).

Despite tricky conditions in both the opening sprint race on Saturday, December 30, and the following 10km classic individual start race on Sunday, December 31, Østberg delivers a solid victory in the 10km classic individual start race, 25 seconds ahead of Weng in second place, and took the overall Tour lead heading into stage 3.

“It was really difficult to ski well both uphill and downhill, so I was really happy to ski well here today,” Østberg said after her impressive race on Saturday.

Østberg finished the challenging classic course in 26:59, and also earned 15 bonus seconds for the stage victory. Accordingly, she started the third stage, a 10km skate pursuit race, 32 seconds ahead of Weng.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) was second both in the classic 10km and the 10km skate pursuit in Lenzerheide. Photo: Nordic Focus
Heidi Weng (NOR) was second both in the classic 10km and the 10km skate pursuit in Lenzerheide. Photo: Nordic Focus

On Monday, January 1, Østberg held on to her overall lead after winning the pursuit by 27.8 seconds, still with Weng in second place. Behind the two Madhus racers, there is a gap of almost a minute down to the next racer.

“It was a very hard fight out there today. I was gaining seconds on Heidi, and then losing them again. But it’s great to have the red leader bib for another day, although I think I will lose it soon,” Østberg said after the first three races of the seven stage event.

Top 3 overall Tour de Ski (after three out of seven stages)
1. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) 56:18.6
2. Heidi Weng (NOR), +32.8 seconds
3. Jessie Diggins (USA), +1:26.9

The Tour de Ski now takes a rest day and moves on to Oberstdorf (GER) for the next two stages on January 3 and 4. The Tour concludes with two stages in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on January 6 and 7.

Read more about the 2018 FIS Tour de Ski: Seven stages, nine days and 400 FIS points

Illustration: FIS
Illustration: FIS