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The Longest Toe

Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR) had the longest toe at the Norwegian National Championships relay on Sunday and anchored Lillehammer to bronze. Here from the World Cup in Falun (SWE) on January 28. Photo: Nordic Focus
Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR) had the longest toe at the Norwegian National Championships relay on Sunday and anchored Lillehammer to bronze. Here from the World Cup in Falun (SWE) on January 28. Photo: Nordic Focus

Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR) had the longest toe at the Norwegian National Championships relay and anchored Lillehammer to bronze. Here from the World Cup in Falun (SWE) in January. Photo: Nordic Focus

…belongs to Håvard Taugbøl (NOR), while the younger crew collected hardware at the FIS U23 and Junior World Championships.

Håvard Solås Taugbøl skied onto the Lahti (FIN) World Championships team with strong performances at the Norwegian National Championships this weekend.

While the Lahti World Championships team was announced after the Norwegian National Championships skiathlon events on Saturday, Taugbøl’s most impressive performance for the weekend was anchoring Lillehammer Skiklub to the podium at the 3×10 kilometer relay on Sunday. Coming into the finish lane in fourth place, Taugbøl secured the bronze medal for his club. Despite being blocked repeatedly for the sprint finish, the 23-year-old sprint specialist surged toward the line and had the longest toe as they both reached across the line. Marathon specialist Øystein Pettersen skied the first leg for Lillehammer.

Taugbøl has posted several top 10 in the World Cup this season and had the fastest qualifier time at the Toblach World Cup three weeks ago. He won the FIS sprint at Gålå in December and was second in the Scandinavian Cup sprint in Lillehammer the following weekend, and this weekend he was third in the sprint at the national championships. Combined, these efforts earned him a ticket to the Norwegian sprint team at the FIS World Championships in Finland.

Also, Hans Christer Holund helped his club LYN Ski to gold in the relay. Holund, who skied the second leg for LYN, surged to create a gap for his team that nobody was able to close, and LYN won by more than a minute. Prior to the relay, Holund was named an extra to the World Championships team.

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Hans Christer Holund (NOR) skied the 2nd leg for LYN Ski at Norwegian Championships relay on Sunday and surged to secure a gap that nobody could close, helping his team to gold. Here from the 2017 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) skied the 2nd leg for LYN Ski at Norwegian Championships relay and surged to secure a gap that nobody could close, helping his team to gold. Here from Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus

Among the women, Heidi Weng was on the podium in all the individual competitions at the national championships. On Thursday, she was third in the 10km classic. Then she was second in the skate sprint on Friday, and third again for the skiathlon on Saturday. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was second in the classic race on Thursday. Also, Marte Bjørnsgaard helped Lillehammer to silver in the 3x5km relay on Sunday.

Meanwhile, at the FIS U23 and Junior World Championships in Utah (USA), January 30 to February 5, Madshus skiers earned medals in both the junior and the U23 category. Junior Petter Stakston (NOR) took home the silver medal in the classic sprint on Monday, January 30, after posting the fastest qualifier time in the event. Junior Marte Mæhlum Johansen (NOR) first earned the silver medal in the 5-kilometer skate on Thursday, then continued with gold in the skiathlon on Friday. Junior Harald Østberg Amundsen (NOR) was third in the skiathlon. Additionally, Thea Krokan Murud (NOR) earned the silver in the women’s U23 5-kilometer skate race on Thursday.  Finally, on Sunday, Amundsen and Jon Rolf Skape Hope helped Norway to gold in the relay.

Complete results all events

Thea Krokan Murud (NOR) earned the silver medal in the womens 5km skate race at the FIS U23 World Championships in Utah (USA) on Thursday. Photo: NSF/Team Veidekke

Thea Krokan Murud (NOR) earned the silver medal in the womens 5km skate race at the FIS U23 World Championships in Utah (USA) on Thursday. Photo: NSF/Team Veidekke

Straight to the Podium

Håvard Solås Taugbøl (NOR) won the sprint at the Swedish cross-country season opener in Bruksvallarna Sunday, while Caitlin Gregg (USA) was third in the 10K skate in Gällivare.

Madshus racers waste no time when they get on snow.

“It was really good, and nice to get a victory this early in the season. I’m really not used to beating people like Jönsson and (Teodor) Peterson,” Håvard Solås Taugbøl said to VGTV after the sprint.

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Håvard Solås Tagbøl won the sprint in Bruksvallarna Sunday. Here from the World Cup in Rybinsk (RUS) in January. Photo: NordicFocus

Håvard Solås Tagbøl won the sprint in Bruksvallarna Sunday. Here from the World Cup in Rybinsk (RUS) in January. Photo: NordicFocus

Also in Gällivare (SWE), Madshus racer Noah Hoffman (USA) pulled into sixth place in the men’s 15K skate on Sunday. Caitlin Gregg, who earned the bronze medal in the women’s 10K at the 2015 FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE), was seventh in the classic sprint in Gällivare on Saturday.

Complete results from the FIS opener in Gällivare 

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Noah Hoffman (USA) was 6th in the season opener this weekend. Here from the 15k skate at FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Noah Hoffman (USA) was 6th in the 15km skate race at the FIS season opener in Gällivare (SWE) this weekend. Here from the 15k skate at FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

The season opener in Bruksvallarna (SWE) also featured classic races on Friday, where Swedish Madshus racers Sara Lindborg and Marika Sundin were fifth and seventh respectively, in the women’s 5-kilometer, and Simon Andersson was sixth in the men’s 10-kilometer event. On Saturday, Andersson was ninth in the 15-kilometer skate race, while Anton Lindblad was tenth.

Complete results from the FIS opener in Bruksvallarna 

At Sjusjøen (NOR), the biathletes had their season opener with sprint competitions for both men and women on Saturday and mass starts on Sunday. Madshus racers posted several top 10 results on both days, including Benedikt Doll (GER), who was fifth in the sprint and tenth in the mass start on Sunday – just ahead of biathlon’s grand old man, Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) in 11th place.

“It wasn’t half bad, but I didn’t shoot well today. It will get better as the season gets underway,” Bjørndalen said to NRK after the race on Sunday.

Both Bjørndalen and Svendsen sat out Saturday’s sprint race. Due to illness, injury and recent altitude camps, the two were playing the national races conservatively in order to be peaking for the first World Cup races in Östersund (SWE) December 1-6.

Complete results Sjusjøen  

Ole Einar Bjørndalen practicing at Sjusjøen (NOR) prior to the season opener races this weekend. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen practicing at Sjusjøen (NOR) prior to the season opener races this weekend. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

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