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Solid Ski Classics Season

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics
Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard dominated the Youth Competition, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

Hoelgaard (NOR), who won the Youth Competition for the second year in a row, earned 1269 points – almost twice as many points as the next racer. This marks the second year in a row that Hoelgaard wins the Youth competition. He was also fourth in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

“I have had a great season, and I really liked skiing so many races. I made four podium finishes, and had amazing skis and was able to peak just at the right times,” Hoelgaard says. Now, the 26-year-old is hungry for more.

“I still haven’t won a Ski Classics event, so I’m already top motivated for the next season and I am looking forward to start the dryland training and the preparations for next winter, where I hope to nail my first victory.”

A season recap will be broadcasted on Monday, April 17, starting at 8:30am Central European Time. 52-minute broadcast will feature highlights from the 2016-17 Ski Classics season.
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Strong women
For the women, Madshus captured three of the top five in the overall Ski Classics Champion competition. Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was third, Sara Lindborg of Team Särneke was fourth and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) of Team Ski ProAm was fifth.

Slind was also third in the brand new Nordic Trophy competition, which rewards the top three men and women over the last five events in the Ski Classics. All of these five events take place in the Nordic countries (Vasaloppet and Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, Birkebeinerrennet and Reistadløpet in Norway and the Ski Classics finale Ylläs-Levi in Finland).

Astrid Øyre Slind at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was fourth after fighting for the podium to the bitter end. Photo: Inge Scheve

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was 4th after fighting for the podium to the end. Photo: Inge Scheve

It’s a wrap!

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus

The elite skiers have already started the 2017 training season, making this a great time to look back at the 2016 achievements. And what a season it was for the Madshus racers!

Taking a look at some of the major highlights from the season, there is a lot to celebrate in the 2015-16 season. Just take a look at a random week in February: Dominating four sports 

The king of Biathlon, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, opened the IBU World Cup season with a podium at the first possible opportunity, in Östersund (SWE) the first week of December. But he reigned the grounds at the 2016 Holmenkollen World Championships, earning no less than four medals on home turf: gold in the relay, silver in the sprint and the pursuit and bronze in the mass start. At 42 years old. He now has over 40 World Championship medals, and he is not retiring any time soon, said the father to be, who is expecting a daughter in October.

Read more: The King Continues 

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Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Also at the 2016 Holmenkollen World Championships, Marte Olsbu (NOR) stepped up and earned her first World Championship medal as she anchored Norway to gold in the women’s 4x6km relay.

“This is the biggest I have ever experienced. I can’t believe it’s true,” Olsbu said after the relay.

Anaïs Bescond (FRA) took home two silver medals from Holmenkollen: the 15km normal competition and the relay.

Read the full recap of the Madshus podium party at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen 

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Marte Olsbu anchored Norway to gold in the relay. Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu anchored Norway to gold in the relay. Photo: Nordic Focus

In the Ski Classics, Madshus Marathon racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won both the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet in Sweden on March 6, and the 54-kilometer Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 19. In doing so, he made history: He was the first Norwegian and only the second racer to ever do so in the 93-year-long legacy of the Vasaloppet. The last to win both races back to back in the same season was Sven-Åke Lundbäck back in 1981.

Read more: Nailing the Double 

Two weeks later, Dahl was second in Årefjällsloppet on April 2, which was the Ski Classic Final. The Dahl capped the long-distance season with winning the world’s longest cross-country race: The 200-kilometer Nordenskiöldsloppet in Sweden, the longest ski marathon in the world, in 8 hours 35 minutes and 17 seconds.

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John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

Also, Madshus Marathon racers Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) won the Ski Classic Youth bibs, awarded to the best racers age 26 and under.

Even in a year without any major championships for the FIS cross-country and Nordic Combined, Madshus racers, still brought home an impressive number of podium finishes. The highlights were many and bright, but Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng (NOR) really dominated the FIS World Cup this season. The duo brought in podium finishes and victories both in the Tour de Ski in January and the brand new Ski Tour Canada as well as the regular World Cup schedule, in sprints as well as distance races.

Read more: Tour de Podium 

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Heidi Weng (left) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg after the final stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: Nordic Focus 

Heidi Weng (left) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg after the final stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: Nordic Focus

In Nordic Combined, World Cup rookie Jarl Riiber (NOR) showed no respect for the established elite. He cleaned up the hardware at the 2015 FIS Junior World Championships in Kazakhstan taking home two individual gold medals and bronze in the team competition, and became a permanent member of the Norwegian World Cup team for the 2015-16 season. The 18-year-old stepped up to the challenge. He opened the season by winning the Norwegian national championships in November, and delivered podium finishes on the World Cup throughout the season.

 

What a Wrap

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) won Årefjällsloppet (SWE), the season finale for the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics
Johan Kjølstad (NOR) won Årefjällsloppet (SWE), the season finale for the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) won Årefjällsloppet (SWE), the season finale for the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

A world record and double Madshus podiums in the Ski Classics finale and at the Norwegian national championships cap off another marvelous season.

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) and John Kristian Dahl (NOR) were first and second respectively at the 65km Årefjällsloppet in Sweden on Saturday, which was the final event in the 2016 Ski Classics long-distance series.

The efforts in the Swedish mountains this weekend lands Dahl in third place in the overall Ski Classics, Johan Kjølstad in fourth overall and their team United Bakeries in second place overall after all nine events are completed.

Also, Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) won the Youth bib in the Ski Classics, while Stian Hoelgaard won the men’s youth bib competition. But while Lindstedt earned her overall title by hundreds of points, Hoelgaard clinched his title by the skin of his teeth. He was 41 points ahead of Anders Høst (NOR) at prior to the final. Høst was 15th at Årefjällsloppet and Hoelgaard 26th, but at the end of the day, Hoelgaard was able to clinch the bib he has had dibs on throughout the season.

Complete results and standings 2016 Ski Classics 

Also this weekend, Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg were on the podium both in the 5km freestyle event on Friday April 1, as well as in the 30km freestyle on Saturday. OnFriday, Østberg was second and Weng was third, on Saturday the roles were reversed.

The Weng-Østberg duo has dominated the podiums both at the FIS World Cup, the World Cup tours and in the national championships this season, further strengthening their position at the top international level. On Thursday, Weng helped her club mate to second place in the team sprint, which was the opening event at the national championships in Beitostølen.

Complete results for the Norwegian National Championships 

Additionally, Swedish amateur skier Erik Wickström opened the weekend with a new world record: He double-poled 438.5km in 24 hours, the longest distance ever recorded for this 24-hour challenge. The world record attempt started at 7:20am on Thursday, March 31, and ended at 7:20am on Friday, April 1. It took place in Vålådalen, where Wickström completed 1,064.5 laps on a 412-meter loop.

The 33-year-old father of two beat the previous record by more than 5km and will be in the next edition of the Guinnes Book of Records.

Podium in Marcialonga

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd overall in Marcialonga. Photo: Team Leaseplan Go
Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd overall in Marcialonga. Photo: Team Leaseplan Go

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd overall in Marcialonga. Photo: Team Leaseplan Go

With today’s third place, Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) climbs to fifth place in the overall 2016 Ski Classics, and tightens his grip on the Youth Competition.

While the overall career goal for the 24-year-old Norwegian is to win the legendary 90-kilometer Vasaloppet, Hoelgaard is also quite fond of the 70-kilometer event in Northern Italy and considers it one of his main goals for the season.

“I want to ski fast in all the races I enter, and I never downplay any race in favor of others, but it seems like Marcialonga is an event that suits me well,” Hoelgaard said.

“I don’t know why this race works so well for me, but it was really fun. I like races with a tough finish, like Marcialonga. And I had amazing skis. Madshus has always given me great service and great skis, but so far I don’t feel like I’ve produced results to prove it or deserve it. But I’m starting to build a ski quiver that’s totally killer,” Hoelgaard said after the race.

Last year, he was ninth in the Marcialonga, which runs from Moena to Cavalase in Val di Fiemme, and that event was one of his top performances of the season.

Hoelgaard, who skis for Thomas Alsgaard’s team Leaseplan GO, has 439 points in the Youth Competition, while Anders Hoest in second place has 347 points.

In the women’s Youth Competition, Madshus marathon racer Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) also increases her lead. The gap to second place is now almost 300 points. Lindstedt, who skis for the Swedish all-women’s team Ski ProAm, sits with 397 points, while Tuva Toftdahl Staver has 116 points after five of the ten competitions in the 2016 Ski Classics.

Complete results and details Marcialonga 2016 

The long-distance series now moves to Seefeld, Austria, next weekend. Seefeld, which has hosted the Olympcs twice, will run a 50-kilometer classic race to replace the 50-kilometer König Ludwiglauf in Germany on February 7. König Ludwiglauf is cancelled due to poor snow conditions.

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