Heidi Weng fighting the last few meters to the finish line up Alpe Cermis, the last stage of the 2015 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus
Cross-country skier Heidi Weng (NOR) finished on the podium every stage of the Tour de Ski, and in the end she cried. But she was far from the only Madshus racer on the podium this week.
On Sunday, Weng fought her way into third place in the overall Tour de Ski – for the second consecutive year. At the top of the last hill, she cried. Tears of joy were running down her cheeks. More than anything, the success of her competitors moved her. Weng sees them every day. She trains with them all year round. She knows what it takes. It’s a lot of hard work.
“I am so happy for Marit (Bjørgen). It’s so silly to cry when I’m actually so happy, but I just can’t help it. She deserved it so much; she’s worked so hard for this. But now I’m so scared that she will quit after this season. She can’t quit. She’s the best,” Weng said of her 34-year-old teammate, who won the overall Tour de Ski 2015.
23-year-old Weng knows it came at a cost. She has paid the price herself.
“The final climb is so hard! I tried to focus on my race. I have had my best competitions ever in this time of the year. It is absolutely unbelievable that I was on the podium at every stage,” Weng said at the top of the monster hill Alpe Cermis.
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But the Tour de Ski has been full of strong Madshus performances, from Ingvild Flugstad Østberg’s run on the podium early in the competition week, to the late surprises.
On Saturday, Tim Tscharnke (GER) pulled off an impressive sprint finish in the 15km classic mass start in Val di Fiemme. Despite a tough start to the Tour de Ski, Tscharnke managed to find both strength and motivation toward the end of the seven-race stage event, but the victory on the second to last stage was more than he had dared to wish for.
“It’s a little bit surprise for me to win today. Thomas (Bing) and me wanted to be in the front of the pack. We helped each other. We did not focus on sprints, we just wanted to go for a good position in the finish,” Tscharnke said to FIS reporters after the race on Saturday.
“I had a very bad start to the Tour. We have trained a lot before the Tour de Ski, and I was pretty tired. But I got better and better for every stage, and I felt much stronger on Saturday than at the beginning of the Tour,” Tscharnke said.
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Tim Tscharnke (GER) surprised himself and the rest of the field when he pulled into first place in the 15km Classic mass start in Val di Fiemme on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus
In the Nordic Combined World Cup, Magnus Moan (NOR) made the 10k cross-country course look easy, bagging his 23rd World Cup victory of his career and his 50th World Cup podium on Sunday. Fellow Madshus racer Magnus Krog (NOR) pulled into second place in that race.
“It was an amazing day! And it was really fun to be on the podium with my teammate Magnus Krog,” Moan said to Norway’s TV2 after the race.
“I’m really satisfied with this race, and the cross-country event was probably one of the top five in my career. I felt really strong today,” Moan said.
Moan, who started in 14th place, quickly advanced to the front. Going into the last lap, he was on the heels of the leader, Austria’s Bernhard Gruber, but Gruber had no answer to Moan’s surge. On Saturday, Moan finished third, and is showing great progress after battling injuries in the fall.
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Magnus Moan (NOR) won the Nordic Combined World Cup competition in Chaux Neuve (FRA) on Sunday, with fellow Madshus racer Magnus Krog (NOR) in second place. Photo: FIS Nordic Combined
On the biathlon World Cup, Anaïs Bescond anchored France to second place in the women’s 4x6km relay in Oberhof (GER) on Wednesday. Timofey Lapshin and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen helped Russia and Norway to first and second place respectively in the 4×7.5km relay on Thursday. The two also delivered podium finishes in the sprint on Saturday, with Bjoerndalen in second place and Lapshin in third.
Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR), who has been sidelined by hip fractures since October, had somewhat of a comeback at the Scandinavian Cup in Falun this weekend. Steira was fourth in the 10k skate on Friday, which was her first competition of the season. Then she was sixth in the 2×7.5km duathlon in Falun on Sunday. Two top-10 results in her first races of the season are good news thinking ahead to the FIS World Championships in Falun later this winter. Madshus racer Paal Golberg (NOR) was third in the classic sprint in Falun on Saturday.