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The Weng Way

Heidi Weng (NOR) won the 10km world cup skate race in La Clusaz (FRA) on Saturday. Photo: NordicFocus
Heidi Weng (NOR) won the 10km world cup skate race in La Clusaz (FRA) on Saturday. Photo: NordicFocus

Heidi Weng (NOR) won the 10km World Cup skate race in La Clusaz (FRA) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) swept up the final podiums before the World Cup takes a break for Christmas.

On Saturday, Weng won the 10-kilometer World Cup skate race in La Clusaz (FRA). On Sunday, she anchored Norway to first place in the relay.

Ad while Weng won the 10-kilometer on Saturday, Madshus teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) was third.

“I didn’t expect to win today. I had to give it everything I had left. I knew I had to be in 1st or 2nd position coming into the finish stretch if I wanted to win. Toward the end of the race, I could still see both Marit (Bjørgen) and Ingvild (Flugstad Østberg), and I thought they would pass me, so it was great to see my name as the winner,” said Weng.

More than just a World Cup podium
With the World Cup victory in La Clusaz, her third for the season so far, Weng reclaims the yellow World Cup leader bib.

The victory on Saturday also earned Weng the anchor leg for the relay on Sunday. The Norwegian women had made a deal prior to the 10km skate race: The skier who placed the best in Saturday’s race would ski the final leg of the relay.

On Sunday, the Norwegian women were back on the top of the podium. Weng anchored Norway to first place in the World Cup relay, after a stellar opening by Østberg on the leg.

The FIS cross-country World Cup now takes a break until the Tour de Ski starts in Switzerland on December 31. The 9-day tour concludes in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on January 8, 2017.

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) skied the first leg for Norway at the 4x4km World Cup relay in La Clusaz (FRA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg skied the first leg for Norway at the 4x4km World Cup relay in La Clusaz (FRA) on Sunday, after being 3rd in the 10km skate race on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

They did it again!

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus
Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

The Madshus girls plastered the podium in Davos (SUI), just like they did last weekend in Lillehammer.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (NOR) were first, second and third, respectively, at the 15-kilometer skate race in Switzerland on Saturday.

Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won and also earned her first World Cup podium for the season. She beat teammate Heidi Weng (NOR) by 7.8 seconds, while Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was third.

“I never thought I would win here today. My strategy was to start out controlled and focus on my technique, rather than think about skiing fast. Whenever I obsessed about skiing fast, my technique fell apart and I had to slow down to speed up,” Flugstad Østberg said after her race.

For Flugstad Østberg, the Davos venue is special. This is where she earned her first World Cup podium in a distance event, almost exactly a year ago.

“I made some solid gains in the longer distances last year, and I have worked hard for years, so this was really fun,” she said.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won her first World Cup race of the season in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won her first World Cup race of the season in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Weng was content with her second place, and happy for Flugstad Østberg’s victory. “I started out very easy, but it was hard and I had to work with my head. I am very happy for Ingvild, and it’s really fun that we can switch off winning races,” Weng said.

On Sunday, Flugstad Østberg was back on the podium with second place in the skate sprint. After earning her second podium for the weekend, she now leads the overall World Cup.

“I’m really excited about the race. I actually felt better and better as the day went out, and I feel like I skied well technically. This has been an amazing weekend for me in Davos,” Flugstad Østberg said to Norwegian broadcaster NRK after the sprint.

Next weekend, the World Cup moves to La Clusaz (FRA).

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 2nd in the FIS World Cup skate sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 2nd in the FIS World Cup skate sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon
Marte Olsbu (NOR) was third in the sprint at the World Cup in Pokljuka (SLO) on Friday. On Saturday, she led the pursuit for much of the race, but the final lap was too hard and at the end of the day Olsbu finished in ninth place.

On Sunday, Vanessa Hinz skied the opener leg for Germany and helped her team to first place in the women’ 4×6-kilometer relay the World Cup, while Benedikt Doll helped Germany to third place in the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer relay.

Benedikt Doll (GER) helped Germany to 3rd place in the IBU world cup relay in Pokljuka (SLO). Focus: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) helped Germany to 3rd place in the IBU world cup relay in Pokljuka (SLO). Focus: Nordic Focus

Strong Racing at World Cup Opener

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Madshus racers posted six World Cup podiums on the opening weekend in both biathlon and cross-country.

At the FIS cross-country World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN), Pål Golberg (NOR) marked his territory on the first possible opportunity: By winning the classic sprint on Saturday.

“It was fun to win here today, especially after my third place in the quarterfinal. But my strategy for the semi final and the final worked out. Holding back a bit at the start gave me more power for the last hill and the finish,” Golberg said after the race.

Golberg has been outside the national team leading up to this season, and was only named to national team for the World Cup opener as a last-minute alternate. However, with the decisive sprint victory, Golberg made a strong case for a spot on the national team for the mini tour in Lillehammer on December 2-4. Lillehammer is also the venue where Golberg had his major international breakthrough two years ago.

“Being on my own and outside the national team leading up to this season has certainly been a different experience, given that I have been on the team for the last eight years. But I know that I have been training well and doing the right things. My goal is to race as many World Cup events as possible and be named to the National team for the 2017 World Championships in Lahti (FIN),” Golberg said after his sprint.

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26.11.2016, Ruka, Finland (FIN): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) won the classic sprint at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). Photo: Nordic Focus

Also on Saturday, Heidi Weng (NOR) was third in the women’s sprint. The podium finish marks a first for Weng at the season opener.

“I have never had such a good season opener before, and never made it to the final in an early season World Cup sprint in Finland, so I am very happy,” Weng said after her sprint.

On Sunday, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was second in the 10-kilometer classic race, while Weng earned another third place.

“After the first kilometer I thought I would stop the race. I felt really bad. But the then it got better and better. I am really happy about 2nd place. I finished only five seconds behind Marit (Bjørgen) so maybe I can win next week,” Pärmäkoski said after her race.

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Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km classic race at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. Photo: NordicFocus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km classic race at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. Photo: Nordic Focus

Weng was also pleased with her second podium in two days, which is her best ever World Cup season opener.

“To leave World Cup opener with two podiums is great. I am happy I showed yesterday I can sprint fast. Today’s 3rd place is great as well. I started little bit slowly, but later in the race I picked up the speed. I like this course very much. The tough uphills here suit me. It was a very good weekend for me in Ruka,” Weng said.

The FIS World Cup now moves on to Lillehammer (NOR) for a mini tour on December 2-4.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium twice in the FIS World Cup opener weekend in Ruka (FIN) - with in the classic sprint on Saturday and in the 10km classic on Sunday. Photo: NordicFocus

Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium twice during the FIS World Cup opener weekend in Ruka (FIN), both in the classic sprint on Saturday and in the 10km classic on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

At the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE), Marte Olsbu and Ole Einar Bjørndalen helped Norway to victory.

“I was really nervous today, but I had super fast skis. It’s really fun to be at it again, and I’m looking forward to more. This is what we train for all year round,” said Olsbu, who skied the first leg for Norway.

The Norwegians had an impressive half-minute gap to Germany in second place, where Madshus racer Benedikt Doll did a solid job to keep the team ahead of Italy in third place.

The IBU biathlon World Cup Östersund continues with the women’s 15km normal competition on November 30, the men’s 20km normal competition on December 1, sprints for men and women on December 3 and concludes with pursuit races for men and women on December 4.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay on Sunday and helped Norway to first place at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

What a Season Opener!

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg turned the national season opener at Beitostølen into their podium party, Pål Golberg and Simen Sveen both delivered podiums at Beitostølen, and Krista Pärmakoski won in Finland.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg opened her 2017 season by winning the 10-kilometer classic race at Beitostølen on Friday, with Heidi Weng in second place. 13 seconds separated the two Madshus racers, but the duo had a minute gap down to third place.

“I’m almost surprised that I did so well in the first race. I have felt good in training all summer and fall, but the last week felt a little harder. But I felt like I skied well, and it was fun to win the first race,” Østberg said after the victory.

On Saturday, Weng posted another second place in the 10-kilometer skate race, with Østberg in third place.

“This is my best season opener at Beitostølen ever. I don’t usually ski very fast in the first events, so it’s fun to do well here,” Weng said.

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Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Additionally, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen was third in the men’s 15-kilometer skate race on Saturday. The 29-year-old is currently pursuing his racing career outside the Norwegian national team, and needed to ski well at Beitostølen in order to be considered for World Cup events later this season.

“I hope I will have a chance to ski the World Cup mini tour at Lillehammer in two weeks, and that I ski well enough there to be selected for the World Cup in Davos the following week. I have two main goals for the season, and those are the 30-kilometer skate at the World Cup in Davos, and the 50-kilometer skate at the World Championships in Lahti later this winter, so I really needed to post some good results here this weekend,” Sveen says.

Finally, on Sunday, Pål Golberg hauled in to second place in the skate sprint. Golberg is aiming for a spot on the Norwegian World Cup team for the mini tour in Lillehammer the first week in December. Performing well on home turf in Lillehammer is an important application for a chance to represent Norway at the Lahti (FIN) Championships in February. Accordingly, racing well at the Beitostølen season opener was crucial in order to keep those doors open, now that Golberg is racing outside the core of the Norwegian national team and has to qualify for the individual events.

Also this weekend, Madshus racer Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) won the women’s 10-kilometer classic race in Rovaniemi (FIN) on Sunday. She was second in the skate sprint on Saturday.

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Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

The 2017 FIS cross-country World Cup opens in Ruka (FIN) this coming weekend and consists of with 12 rounds including Tour de Ski and two mini tours. Additionally, the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships are held in Lahti (FIN) from February 22 to March 5.

2017 FIS World Cup Schedule
Nov 26-27: Ruka (FIN)
Dec 2-4: Lillehammer (NOR) mini tour
Dec 10-11: Davos (SUI)
Dec 17-18: La Clusaz (FRA)
Dec 31-Jan 8: Tour de Ski
Jan 14-15: Toblach (ITA)
Jan 21-22: Ulricehamn (SWE)
Jan 28-29: Falun (SWE)
Feb 3-5: PyeongChang (KOR)
Feb 18-19: Otepää (EST)
March 8: Drammen (NOR)
March 11-12: Oslo (NOR)
March 16-19: Tyumen (RUS) mini tour

FIS World Cup Expands

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS
Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

For the first time ever, the FIS World Cup will take place in Scotland.

Starting in 2020, Edinburgh will host the start of a brand new FIS Ski Tour. The stages of the new tour will take place primarily in Norway and Sweden, but Edinburgh is proposed to host the prologue.

“A new tour in a part of the world with an extreme interest in cross-country skiing will be fantastic. It will give us an opportunity to showcase our sport in a way that can contribute to boost the entire sport. Running the prologue in Scotland is an important part of inviting more countries into the world of cross-country skiing,” says Aage Skinstad, Norway’s representative in the FIS committee.

The proposed tour will take place over two weekends in February, and will consist of stages in locations such as Östersund (SWE), Åre (SWE) and Trondheim (NOR), as well as a boarder-crossing stage from Sweden to Norway. However, the details are still being determined.

“We are looking forward to finalize the details for the various stages in terms of distances, classic and free technique, and I think this will be an exciting addition to the World Cup schedule,” Skinstad says.

Norwegian national team director Vidar Løfshus is equally excited about the new tour.

“I know our athletes have been dreaming about skiing a tour series event on home turf. At the same time, this is a great opportunity to showcase other sides of our sport to an international audience. And finally, I hope this tour can open up new ways to collaborate with our neighbor rivals on the course,” Løfshus says.

Norway and Sweden jointly presented the bid for a new cross-country ski tour starting in 2020 at the FIS board meeting in Zürich last week.

 

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