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Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was third in the 30km skiathlon in Lahti (FIN) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was third in the 30km skiathlon in Lahti (FIN) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was third in the 30km skiathlon in Lahti (FIN) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was third in the men’s 30km skiathlon on Sunday, his second individual World Cup podium this season.

“It is awesome to be on the podium again,” Holund said after his race on Sunday.

Heidi Weng scored two WC podiums at her favorite venue, while Ingvild F. Østberg and Hans Christer Holund had one each in Lahti (FIN) as a last prep for the final WC tour in Canada.

Heidi Weng (NOR) was third in the skate sprint in Lahti on Saturday, and second in the 15km skiathlon on Sunday.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was third in the skiathlon, barely missing the podium in sprint on Saturday where she finished fourth in the final.

With the podium finishes this weekend, Østberg heads into the last FIS tour of the season in second place in the overall FIS World Cup 2016, in second place in the FIS Sprint World Cup 2016 and in third place in the FIS Distance World Cup 2016. Weng heads into the Tour de Canada in third place in the overall World Cup and in second place in the FIS Distance World Cup.

The World Cup races in Lahti (FIN) this weekend was the end of the FIS World Cup in Europe for the 2016 season. Now the World Cup moves to Canada to wrap up the 2016 season with a brand new tour March 1-12.

This is Tour de Canada 2016
March 1: Sprint Freestyle, Gatineau
March 2: 13km Classic (women), 20km Classic (men), Montreal
March 4: Sprint Freestyle, Quebec City
March 5: Pursuit 10km (women), 15km (men) Freestyle, Quebec City
March 8: Sprint Classic, Canmore
March 9: Skiathlon 15km (women), 30km (men), Canmore
March 11: 10km (women), 15km (men) Freestyle, Canmore
March 12: Pursuit 10km (women) 15km (men), Canmore

Six WC Podiums

Norway won the 4x5km World Cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE) on Sunday. From left: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Therese Johaug, INgvild Flugstad Østberg (Madshus) and Heidi Weng (Madshus). Photo: Nordic Focus
Ole Einar Bjørndalen (left) and Erlend Bjøntegaard helped Norway to third place in the IBU World Cup relay on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (left) and Erlend Bjøntegaard helped Norway to third place in the IBU World Cup relay on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Another productive weekend for the Madshus World Cup racers, netting six podiums in one days.

Relays and Madshus racers seem to be a good combination.

First, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Heidi Weng helped Norway to victory in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Nove Mesto (CZE), where Østberg skied the opening leg and Weng skied the second leg in the women’s 4x5km relay. This was Norway’s tenth consecutive relay victory in the World Cup. Then Mathias Rundgreen helped Norway to first place in the men’s 4×7.5km relay at the same venue.

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Norway won the 4x5km World Cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE) on Sunday. From left: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Therese Johaug, INgvild Flugstad Østberg (Madshus) and Heidi Weng (Madshus). Photo: Nordic Focus

Norway won the 4x5km World Cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE) on Sunday. From left: Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Therese Johaug, INgvild Flugstad Østberg (Madshus) and Heidi Weng (Madshus). Photo: Nordic Focus

On Saturday, Weng and Østberg were both top 10 in the 10km skate race in Nove Mesto, finishing sixth and ninth respectively, while Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) rounded out the top 10 in tenth place.

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup now moves to Norway featuring the traditional sprint races in Drammen (NOR) on February 3, followed by distance races in Holmenkollen (NOR) on February 5-7.

Complete results 

In the IBU Biathlon World Cup, Anaïs Bescond helped France to victory in the women’s relay on Sunday. Then later that day, Benedikt Doll helped Germany to second place in the men’s relay, where Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Erlend Bjøntegaard took Norway to third place. The IBU World Cup events were held in Anterselva (ITA) at almost 2.000 meters above sea level, which cause trouble for some athletes.

The next IBU World Cup events take place in Canmore (CAN) on February 1-7.

Complete results 

Anais Bescond helped France to victory in the IBU World Cup relay in Anterselva (ITA) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Anais Bescond helped France to victory in the IBU World Cup relay in Anterselva (ITA) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Incredible Ingvild

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won the 5km skate race in  Lenzerheide (SUI) on January 3, the third stage of the 2016 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won the 5km skate race in Lenzerheide (SUI) on January 3, the third stage of the 2016 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won the 5km skate race in Lenzerheide (SUI) on January 3, the third stage of the 2016 Tour de Ski. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) is setting the standards for the 2016 Tour de Ski. Race by race. Podium by podium.

On January 1, Østberg started her run for the Tour de Ski podium by posting the fastest qualifier time in the women’s skate sprint race in Lenzerheide (SUI), which opened the tenth anniversary version of the cross-country stage race. At the end of the day, Østberg pulled in to a strong third place in the sprint final and put her self on the podium at the first possible opportunity in 2016.

From there, Østberg just kept climbing spots on the podium, and she concluded the first part of the Tour on the top of the overall list with a 14.1 second lead to Therese Johaug (NOR).

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) pulled into an impressive victory in the 5km skate race on January 3, finishing the first block of the 2016 Tour de Ski in first place overall. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) pulled into an impressive victory in the 5km skate race on January 3, finishing the first block of the 2016 Tour de Ski in first place overall. Photo: Nordic Focus

On January 2, the Tour continued with classic distance races for stage 2: 15km mass start for women ad 30km mass start for men. Østberg picked up right where she left after the first stage, and was back on the podium again with a strong second place in the second stage.

“It was maybe my best 15km classic race ever. I am really happy about today’s second place. I tried to be focused and calm and ski my own competition. I have to do the same thing tomorrow,” Østberg said after her race.

Sunday January 3 featured 10km and 5km skate pursuit races for men and women, respectively, the last of the three Tour de Ski stages in Switzerland. Østberg started 4.5 seconds behind Therese Johaug in the overall classifications, but won the race by 14.1 seconds, which leaves her in first place overall with a 14.3-second lead including bonus seconds for winning.

“Now I deserve the red bib. It was really hard today. My legs were really tired at the end. It was my plan to catch Therese early and do my best. I am looking forward to the rest day,” Østberg said after the 5km race on Sunday.

Weng had a rougher start to her Tour de Ski this year, but was content with her 5km skate race on Sunday, where she posted her second podium finish in three days.

Heidi Weng (NOR) was third in the classic mass start on Saturday, and third in the skate race on Sunday.

“I wanted to be relaxed and no to start too fast on the first climb. But my legs were very stiff. I tried to keep the pace not to lose many seconds on Charlotte (Kalla). I was surprised in the finish that the gap on Ingvild and Therese did not grow that much,” Weng said after her race on Sunday.

In the men’s 30km classic on January 2, Didrik Tønseth (NOR) also pulled off a strong race in the tough conditions, and put him self on the podium with a third place.

“It was a good race. I had good skis with a good grip. It was difficult snow conditions out there,” Tønseth said after his race.

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Didrik Tønseth (NOR) was third in the 30km classic mass start in Lenzerheid (SUI) on January 2. Photo: Nordic Focus

Didrik Tønseth (NOR) was third in the 30km classic mass start on January 2. Photo: Nordic Focus

Monday January 4 is a rest day as the Tour de Ski now moves to Oberstdorf (GER). The Tour stays in Germany for two stages: classic sprint races on January 5 and classic mass start races on January 6. Women ski 10km and men ski 15km in the mass start events.

Thursday January 7 is the second and last rest day in the 2016 Tour de Ski.

Finally, the Tour travels to Italy for the last three stages: January 8 features individual start skate races in Toblach with 5km for women and 10km for men. The classic mass start races in Val di Fiemme on January 9 with 10km for women and 15km men set the stage for the final monster stage: The 9km Alpe Cermis uphill pursuit on January 10.

Heidi Weng (NOR) leading the pack during the 15km classic mass start in Lenzerheide (SUI) on January 2. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) was third the 15km classic mass start on January 2. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

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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