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Let the Nordic Party Begin

National cross-country season openers are well underway, and as usual with limited options for snow and international events, the start lists at both events are hardly short of the World Cup level.

 

Finland launched their national FIS season opener last weekend in Muonio, Russia concludes their FIS openers in Vershina Tea on Wednesday. Now the Norwegians are ready for their national FIS kick-off at Beitostølen on Friday.

 

Beitostølen opens with 10km and 15km classic events on Friday, continues with 10km/15km skate races on Saturday, and concludes with sprint events on Sunday. On the start lists are racers from several other national teams as well, including Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Bulgaria, and even Luxemburg and Croatia.

 

Sweden is hosting two national season openers this weekend, the biggest and deepest field heading to Bruksvallarna, and a second FIS season opener in Gaellivare. Aside from Swedish racers vying for a spot on the national World Cup team are skiers from the Czech national team, Canada, France, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Lithuania, as well as Denmark, Australia, Great Britain and Tonga.

 

In Bruksvallarna, the party gets going with 5km/10km classic races on Friday, continues with 10km/15km skate races on Saturday and finishes with sprint races on Sunday for both men, women and juniors. The Gaellivare season opener features sprints on Saturday and 10km/15km classic races on Sunday.

 

For most the racers, these national openers are important gauges of where they are at the start of a new competition season, and also serve as a last chance to adjust their training plans for the World Cup opener in Finland (November 28-30).

Steira: Finally on the Tour de Ski Podium

Madshus racer Kristin Størmer Steira (NOR) finally made it to the podium in the Tour de Ski. Not only did she finish third overall, Steira also placed third in the overall sprint standings.

Steira was second overall ahead of the final stage, the 9-kilometer hill climb up Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Steira maintained her grip on the podium, although Therese Johaug snagged the second place overall.

“I knew the climb was very hard, and I was focused on keeping the third spot. Eventually, I made it,” Steira says after the final stage in the 2013 Tour de Ski.

For Steira, the entire Tour de Ski was one big upward-spiraling experience.

“It’s been a fantastic Tour de Ski, and the third place in the sprint standing is certainly surprising for me,” Steira says. “I had fun each day since the beginning of the Tour, especially the sprint competition in Val Müstair, and I think I’m in a good shape at the moment,” Steira says.

Now Steira is preparing for her overall season goal: The 2013 FIS Nordic World Championships in Val di Fiemme, which start in the end of February.

“Hopefully I will improve in the next month or so, and be ready to the World Championships here in Italy,” Steira notes.

Additionally, Madshus racers Krista Laehteenmaeki (FIN) and Heidi Weng (NOR) also delivered stellar performances at the 2013 Tour de Ski.

 

Kristin Størmer Steira at the 2013 Tour de Ski. Photo: Madshus.com

 

Weng Sails up as Tour de Ski Favorite

Heidi Weng (NOR) is considered a third favorite to win the overall Tour de Ski this season, along with Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and Therese Johaug (NOR).

Weng really made a splash on the World Cup last season, and is on track for another successful season. – At Madshus we are eager to support young, talented skiers, and when we included Heidi Weng into the junior elite racing program Team Madshus Norway, we knew she would become one of the most exciting racers over time,” says Per Wiik, Global Marketing Manager at Madshus.

Madshus is proud to announce that Heidi Weng has signed a new 2-year contract with Madshus for skis and equipment, and will be with Madshus through the 2014 Olympic season.

Heidi Weng. Photo; Nordic Focus

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