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Podiums in 3 Sports, 2 Continents

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Østberg shines on the cross-country World Cup, Doll is on the biathlon WC podium and Madshus marathon racers make their mark in Austria.

Madshus racers fielded half of the women’s final at the World Cup classic sprint in Drammen (NOR) on Wednesday. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) hauled into second place, only narrowly beaten on the finish line.

“I’m really happy for being second today. I am on the right way now again. Maiken (Caspersen Falla) was strong, and I am happy for her to win here in Drammen for the third time in a row,” Østberg said after the sprint race.

Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) was fourth in the sprint final, while Heidi Weng (NOR) was fifth.

On Sunday, Østberg was back on the World Cup podium with yet another second place in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR).

While nobody could fight Thersese Johaug for the victory, Østberg battled the challenging conditions and finished 30 seconds ahead of third place, her best finish to date in a 30-kilometer event.

“It was an amazing race. It was a big fight for second and third place. I was expecting that somebody would attack on the last lap, but it was little bit surprising that it was me. I gained some seconds (on the last lap), and managed to keep the gap to the finish line,” Østberg said after the brutal race.

“Therese was too far ahead. Second place today smashed my previous best. Second place is like a victory,” she said.

Additionally, Heidi Weng (NOR) was fourth and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was seventh, putting three Madshus racers among the top seven.

Østberg now sits in second place in the overall World Cup, second in the sprint World Cup and third in the distance World Cup. Weng is second in the distance World Cup and third in the overall World Cup.

Complete results 

Dominating the marathons
Also on Sunday, the Ski Classics Johan Kjølstad (NOR) narrowly missed the overall victory in the Kaiser Maximillian Lauf in Austria.

Petter Eliassen won the event after thrilling sprint finish, although both Kjølstad and Eliassen clocked in at 3:02:35. Kjølstad is now third in the overall 2016 Ski Classics standings.

In the men’s race, there were a total of four Madshus marathon racers among the top seven: Tore Bjørseth Berdal (NOR) in fourth, Stanislav Rezac (CZE) in sixth and John Kristian Dahl (NOR) in seventh place.

Stian Hoelgaard (NOR, who was 11th in the Kaiser Maximillian Lauf, now has a lead of more than 100 points in the overall youth competitions. In the women’s youth competition, Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) is more than 350 points ahead of the second-place skier, and also sits in fifth place in the overall Ski Classics standings.

The 65km classic race in Seefeld, Austria, replaced the Ski Classics event König Ludwiglauf in Germany, which was cancelled due to lack of snow.

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Johan Kjølstad (NOR) was a split second from the overall victory at the 65km Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on Sunday. Photo: Ski Classics

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) was a split second from the overall victory at the 65km Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on Sunday. Photo: Ski Classics

Complete results 

Doll on the World Cup podium
Also this weekend, Benedikt Doll (GER) was second in the 15km mass start at the IBU World Cup in Canmore, Canada.

Complete results

Waited a Year for First

Emil Hegle Svendsen (left) and Ole Einar Bjørndalen (far right) helped Norway to victory at the IBU relay in Ruhpolding (GER) on Friday, the 1st relay victory for the team in a year. Photo: Nordic Focus
Emil Hegle Svendsen (left) and Ole Einar Bjørndalen (far right) helped Norway to victory at the IBU relay in Ruhpolding (GER) on Friday, the 1st relay victory for the team in a year. Photo: Nordic Focus

Emil Hegle Svendsen (left) and Ole Einar Bjørndalen (far right) helped Norway to victory at the IBU relay in Ruhpolding (GER) on Friday, the 1st relay victory for the team in a year. Photo: Nordic Focus

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).

Complete results from the IBU World Cup in Rupholding 

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Miriam Gössner helped Germany to 2nd place in the World Cup relay on home turf in Ruhpolding, (GER) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Miriam Gössner helped Germany to 2nd place in the World Cup relay on home turf in Ruhpolding, (GER) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

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.

Complete results from the FIS World Cup in Planica 

Heidi Weng skied into 3rd place in the World Cup skate sprint in Planica (SLO) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng skied into 3rd place in the World Cup skate sprint in Planica (SLO) on Saturday. On Sunday, she helped Norway to 2nd place in the team sprint. Photo: Nordic Focus

Dominated the WC Podiums

Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ole Einar Bjørndalen opened the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen opened the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The last World Cup weekend before the holidays yielded no less than 11 podium finishes for the Madshus racers.

The biathletes were first out, opening the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with the men’s 10km sprint on Thursday night: Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) wasted no time, and went straight to the podium with an impressive second place finish.

His best performance in a long time,” said expert commentator Ola Lunde of the veteran after the race.

On Sunday, Bjørndalen snagged his second podium for the weekend, finishing third in the mass start, behind teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR). Super-Svendsen was just a hair from the victory in the mass start after delivering a smoking second half of the race.

The next round in the IBU World Cup is January 8-10, 2016, in Nove Mesto (CZE).

Complete results from the IBU World Cup in Pokljuka 

For the Nordic combined crew, the Norwegian Madshus racers dominated Saturday’s competition in Ramsau (AUT), claiming all the podium spots: Magnus Moan (NOR) won, while Magnus Krog (NOR) was second and reigning Norwegian national champion Jarl Riiber was third. On Sunday, Riiber, who is a rookie on the senior World Cup circuit this season, was back on the podium for the second day in a row, with a strong second place.

The Nordic Combined World Cup takes a break over the holidays and starts up in 2016 with two competitions in Klingethal (GER) on January 2-3.

Complete results from the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup 

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Jarl Riiber (NOR) was third in the Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau (AUT) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Jarl Riiber (NOR) was third in the Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau (AUT) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The FIS cross-country World Cup moved to Toblach, Italy, for the last round of races before the 2016 Tour de Ski. On Saturday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg posted another second place in the skate sprint. On Sunday, she was back on the podium again with a third place in the 10-kilometer classic race, just behind fellow Madshus racer Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), who posted her first World Cup podium for the season.

“I am so excited to be on the podium. I have been waiting for this moment since the beginning of the season. I knew the energy and fitness was there, but until today I haven’t been able to show that in my results. The whole Finnish team was amazing today,” Pärmäkoski said after her race.

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Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) earned her first podium finish for the season on Sunday, with second place in the 10km classic at the World Cup in Toblach (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) earned her first podium finish for the season on Sunday, with second place in the 10km classic at the World Cup in Toblach (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Østberg, who has established her self as a solid distance racer this season as well as one of the best sprinters in the world, was equally excited about her third place.

“It was very tight, and great battle between me, Krista and Heidi (Weng). I lost a lot at the end of the race but I am really satisfied with third place. The season has been so great for me. I nearly cannot believe it. I’m so happy that things have worked so well for me,” said Østberg.

Also on Sunday, Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) skied into an impressive second place in the men’s 15-kilometer classic in Toblach.

“It is great to be back on the podium again,” said Bessmertnykh, who chose to ski with kick wax,.

While about half of the racers chose to go without on the challenging course, The Russian did not regret his decision.

“I had a very good race, and it was a good choice to go with kick wax. I had amazing skis. Our service team did a great job,” Bessmertnykh said.

The FIS World Cup resumes on January 1 with the first event of the 10-day stage race Tour de Ski, where sprint races in Lenzerheide (SUI) are the first races.

Complete results from the FIS Cross-country World Cup 

Solid World Cup Weekend

Miriam Gössner (GER) hauled into third place in the 7.5km sprint in Hochfilzen, (AUT). Photo: NordicFocus
Miriam Gössner (GER) hauled into third place in the 7.5km sprint in Hochfilzen, (AUT). Photo: NordicFocus

Miriam Gössner (GER) hauled into third place in the 7.5km sprint in Hochfilzen, (AUT). Photo: NordicFocus

Both biathletes and cross-country skiers brought on their show and hauled home one relay and four individual WC podiums.

Friday morning, Madshus biathlete Miriam Gössner (GER) finished third in the women’s sprint at the IBU World Cup in Hochfilzen (AUT). Missing only once, Gössner was 21 seconds behind first place.

On Sunday, Emil Hegle Svendsen anchored Norway to second place in the men’s relay. The IBU World Cup now moves on to round 3, which takes place in Pokljuka (SLO) December 17-20.

Complete results from the second IBU World Cup round

The FIS cross-country World Cup featured one distance race and one sprint competition in Davos (SUI) this weekend.

On Saturday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, might just have been the happiest girl on the podium after her second place in the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI).

“Who would have thought that I would be on the podium here,” Østberg said after her race. The 24-year-old, who won the 2014 Olympic team sprint and the 2015 World Championships team sprint, has made substantial gains in distance events this season.

Heidi Weng (NOR) was right behind Østberg, with a solid third place. Østberg followed up with another strong podium finish in the skate sprint on Sunday. At the end of the day, she was third after posting the fastest qualifier time and winning every heat until the final.

Next weekend, the FIS cross-country World Cup moves to Toblach (ITA) for the last round of World Cup races before the holidays. Next up is the tenth anniversary for the Tour de Ski, from January 1-10, 2016.

Complete results from the third FIS World Cup round 

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was on the podium both Saturday and Sunday during the FIS World Cup in Davos (SUI). Photo: NordicFocus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was on the podium both Saturday and Sunday during the FIS World Cup in Davos (SUI). Photo: NordicFocus

Sweeping up the Points

Ole Einar Bjørndalen won the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund, Sweden on December 2. Photo: NordicFocus
Ole Einar Bjørndalen won the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund, Sweden on December 2. Photo: NordicFocus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen won the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund, Sweden on December 2. Photo: NordicFocus

Weekend loot: 12 WC podiums, 3 Ski Classics podiums and the yellow jersey in the long-distance series.

For starters, The King of biathlon is back.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR), who enters his 23 World Cup season, left no doubt: The King started the 2016 season on the top of the podium after the 20km at the IBU World Cup in Östersund (SWE) on December 2. In January 1996, he won his first WC. In between those two victories, there have been around 92 more.

And after more than two decades on the World Cup, the 41-year-old takes time to reflect on the changes and developments in his sport. Read the full interview HERE.

The seasoned veteran is known to constantly seek out new insights and research on everything from training and equipment to diet and lifestyle, just to gain that split second margin that separates the winner from the rest of the field.

However, in the first World Cup race of his 23rd World Cup season, Bjørndalen won by more than a split hair. He didn’t miss a single target. He skied like a tornado with perfect technique milking each glide and getting the most from every push-off. At the end of the day, Bjørndalen had almost half a minute down to second place.

On Saturday, he was back on the podium, this time in third place in sprint competition.

“Biathlon is biathlon; it was a really good race today. It was a lot of stress after the 20K with all of the publicity, but I had no problem with motivation. I was really lucky to hit four; it was a combination of luck and experience,” Bjørndalen said after his race on Saturday.

However, he remained in the yellow leader jersey for the Sunday pursuit, but had to give it up after the final race in Östersud. But that doesn’t bother him. Bjørndalen reemphasizes that his focus is the 2016 World Championships in Oslo in March.

“I am only focused on Oslo, not the total World Cup score.”

Now, the IBU World Cup heads for round 2 in Hochfilzen (AUS) next weekend with sprint, pursuit and relay competitions for both men and women.

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 Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) during the 20km IBU world cup in Östersund on December 2. Photo: NordicFocus


Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) during the 20km IBU world cup in Östersund on December 2. Photo: NordicFocus

The cross-country World Cup moved to Lillehammer (NOR) this weekend, featuring 15- and 30-kilometer pursuit races for women and men, respectively.

Hans Christer Holund (NOR), who surprised everyone including himself with two podiums in a row at the FIS season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) in November, posted his first World Cup podium finish with a strong third place on the brutal course on Saturday.

“It is my first podium. It is like a dream come true for me,” Holund said of his first WC podium.

“The race was hard from the first lap. The course is really hard. I was a little afraid of the chasing group coming up from behind, so I tried to ski as fast as I could, so that they wouldn’t catch us. On the last hill, I knew I did it,” Holund said of the 15km+15km duathlon/pursuit.

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Hans Christer Holund (NOR) during the WC duathlon in Lillehammer on Dec.5. Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) during the WC duathlon in Lillehammer on Dec.5. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

Also on Saturday, Heidi Weng (NOR) delivered a solid second place after winning the sprint finish with Charlotte Kalla (SWE) in the women’s 7.5km+7.5km duathlon/pursuit.

“I felt very good in classical part. In the skate portion I got stiff, but I tried to fight. I kept focused on the second place. It was very hard to ski with Charlotte,” Weng said after her race.

Given her strong performances so far this season and proven sprint capacity, Weng was appointed to anchor the Norwegian women in the 4x5km relay on Sunday – a job that so far has belonged to Marit Bjørgen. And Weng didn’t disappoint, anchoring Norway to a 2-minute victory, while Ingvild Flugstad Østberg skied a solid second leg for the same team. Krista Parmakoski (Madshus) helped Finland to 2nd place.

In the men’s relay, Hans Christer Holund helped Norway I to victory in the men’s 4×7.5km relay – ahead of two other Norwegian teams. Madshus racers Simen Sveen and Mathias Rundgreen helped their team to 2nd place, and Didrik Tønseth was on the 3rd place team.

The cross-country World Cup now moves to Davos (SUI).

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 Heidi Weng (NOR) in front of Charlotte Kalla (SWE) during at the WC duathlon in Lillehammer on Dec. 5. Photo: Nordic Focus


Heidi Weng (NOR) in front of Charlotte Kalla (SWE) during at the WC duathlon in Lillehammer on Dec. 5. Photo: Nordic Focus

This weekend also marked the start of the 2016 Ski Classics long-distance season: Team United Bakeries with Madshus marathon racers Johan Kjølstad, Øystein Pettersen, Tore B. Berdal and John Kristian Dahl set the stage for the season by winning the Team Prologue in Livigno (ITA) by more than a half minute! United Bakeries posted the combined time for the 15-kilometer team time trial 2:16:09. This event consisted of a mass start for women and a team tempo for men. The best female time was added to a pro team’s third best skier’s time, which was multiplied by three.

On Sunday, Dahl (NOR) went straight to the top of the podium in the first individual long-distance race of the season, winning the 24-km classic race La Sgambeda in Livigno by 8 seconds, with Eugeny Dementiev (RUS) in 2nd place and Johan Kjølstad (NOR) in 3rd.

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Team United Bakeries won the Proteam Prologue, which was the first event in the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Team United Bakeries won the Proteam Prologue, which was the first event in the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

The FIS Nordic Combined skiers finally had a chance to start their 2016 FIS World Cup season, after their first competitions last week in Finland were cancelled. Magnus Krog (NOR), who opened his season by winning the Norwegian national championships at Beitostølen on November 14, won the large hill/10km World Cup competition on Sunday.

 

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