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My Best Race Ever

Magnus Moan (NOR) at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Oslo last week. Photo: Nordic Focus

Magnus Moan (NOR) at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Oslo last week. Photo: Nordic Focus

Magnus Moan bagged his 24th World Cup victory in front of a huge home crowd in Granaasen, after a race where everything worked from start to finish.

 

“My biggest advantage was that there were thousands of spectators cheering my name along the course. That gave me a lot of energy. The conditions were good for me and my skis were simply magic,” the Nordic Combined veteran Moan said to Norwegian TV reporters after his race.

 

At the biathlon World Championships, Emil Hegle “Super-Svendsen” (NOR) brought home a pair of medals to the collection. After a rocky start in Finland, Svendsen earned the silver medal in the men’s 20km individual competition on Thursday. Then he anchored Norway to silver in the relay on Saturday.

 

But Svendsen is not entirely content. He is already thinking about the 2016 World Championships, which will take place on home turf in Oslo. And he promises to be back for more.

 

“I was already thinking about Oslo 2016 as soon as I crossed the line. I will be back then, as a stronger biathlete. A little bit of struggle motivates me,” Svendsen said to reporters in Finland.

 

On Saturday night, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen earned his 40th World Championship medal when he helped Norway to silver in the men’s 4×7.5km relay at the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti (FIN). Bjoerndalen raced the first leg in the relay and exchanged in first place, while Svendsen secured the silver medal with a solid anchor leg, as mentioned above. In the men’s 15km mass start, Bjoerndalen ended up in fourth place, despite shooting entirely clean.

 

Furthermore, Madshus biathlete Anaïs Bescond (FRA) also bagged a pair of silver medals at the World Championships in Finland this week. She helped France to second place in both the mixed relay and the women’s 4x6km relay.

 

Complete results from the IBU World Championships

 

And finally, on Wednesday, cross-country skier Heidi Weng (NOR) capped her season with yet another World Cup podium posting a second place in the sprint in Drammen (NOR), and finally beating Marit Bjoergen in a true sprint race.

 

Weng, who is fully established as one of the best skiers in the world, has been on the World Cup podium no less than 15 times this season, including Tour de Ski and mini-tour stages.

 

More Medals – and It’s Not Over Yet!

 

Heidi Weng with her relay gold medal. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

Gold and bronze in the women’s 4x5km relay on Thursday – after a bronze medal in the 10km skate on Tuesday, and still three days to go!

 

The first week of the 2015 FIS World Championships in Falun (SWE) resulted in gold and silver medals in the cross-country team sprint and the Nordic Combined.

Read more: Gold and hardware in Falun

 

The second week of the Championships opened with Caitlin Gregg (USA) polishing off the 10-kilometer skate course in 25:55.7 and earning a bronze medal for the United States in the tough conditions Tuesday.

 

Gregg was barely seven seconds behind her teammate Jessie Diggins in second place, and with their medals, Gregg and Diggins wrote history for the US Ski Team: They are the first U.S. women to earn individual World Championship medals in a distance (non-sprint) event.

 

Asked by reporters whether she had believed she would be on the podium today, Gregg said: “We knew we had it in us. We have been working for this for quite some time. You just never know when it’s going to happen. Now we have done it once, we will do it again.”

(Charlotte Kalla of Sweden won the 10km skate race on home turf in front of a ballistic home crowd.)

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Caitlin Gregg (USA) after her bronze medal 10k skate race. Photo: Peter Blom

 

On Thursday, Heidi Weng raced the first leg for Norway in the women’s relay, leaving her teammates in an excellent position to win the event.

 

Weng struggled in the 10km skate on Tuesday, which is typically one of her top events, and accordingly, the relay victory on Thursday provided a sweet revenge.

 

“This victory is huge for us as a team. I was so nervous I was shaking all morning and even through my race,” Weng said after the race.

 

“Now I’m just so happy. We really deserved this,” she added.

 

Her teammate and veteran champion Marit Bjoergen, who skied the anchor leg for Norway, said Weng was overripe to perform.

 

“Heidi was bursting at the seams. We had to calm her down a bit before the start. She had so much power to put out there,” Bjoergen said with a laugh.

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Heidi Weng at the relay on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

On tap for the final days of the World Championships are three cross-country events: the men’s 4×7.5km relay on Friday, the women’s 30km classic mass start on Saturday and the men’s 50km classic mass start on Sunday, as well as the large hill team sprint for Nordic Combined on Saturday.

 

For the women’s 30km classic on Saturday, Madshus racer Kristin Stoermer Steira (NOR) will be joining her teammates for her first event at the Falun World Championships.

 

Program Cross-country (all times are Central European Time)
Feb 27: Relay men (4×7.5km), at 1:30pm
Feb 28: 30km Classic mass start women, at 1pm
March 1: 50km Classic mass start men, at 1:30pm

Program Nordic Combined (Central European Time)
Feb 28: Team Sprint Large Hill/2×7.5km, jumping at 10am, XC at 4pm

More about the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships

 

Six Podiums and WC Lead

 

Biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) pulled into third place in the WC pursuit in Östersund (SWE) on Sunday, and remains in the yellow WC leader bib. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

The biathlon World Cup season opener left Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) with one victory and a third place in Östersund (SWE), while the cross-country skiers were on the podium every day during the World Cup mini-tour in Lillehammer (NOR).

 

Emil Hegle Svendsen shows that he’s back on track this season, opening his World Cup season with winning the 20km individual competition in Östersund (SWE) on December 3. Svendsen was the only racer to nail every single shot at the range, and creamed his competitors. On Sunday, he was back on the podium finishing third in the pursuit.

 

“This venue has pretty challenging courses, with long uphills, and only a little bit of recovery on the descents. The entry to the range is fairly easy, but the conditions at the range are often challenging,” Svendsen said to Norwegian TV station NRK.

 

“These courses have proven to suit me well,” said Svendsen who now leads the overall biathlon World Cup.
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Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium three days in a row during the World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

In the FIS cross-country mini-tour in Lillehammer, Madshus racers Pål Golberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng (NOR) opened the show with two podiums: Golberg won the men’s classic sprint and Weng was third in the women’s sprint.

 

On Saturday, Weng continued with another strong third place in the women’s 5km skate race, before capping her weekend with yet another third place in the women’s 10km classic pursuit.

 

Furthermore, Didrik Tønseth (NOR) had the fastest time in the men’s 15km pursuit on Sunday. Heidi Weng had the second fastest time in the women’s 10km pursuit. After this weekend, both Golberg and Weng is now third in the overall World Cup.

 

This week, the biathletes move on to the second World Cup round, which takes place in Hochpfilzen (AUT), while the cross-country skiers travel to Davos (SUI) for their next World Cup races.

 

 

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

 

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