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Wrapping up the World Cups

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS
Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

The IBU biathlon World Cup wraps up the 2017 season in Holmenkollen, while cross-country returns to Canada for a 3-day mini tour this weekend.

Madshus podium girls Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), Heidi Weng (NOR) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) returns to Canada for the final World Cup weekend of the season.

The mini tour opens with skate sprints for men and women on March 17, continues with 10km and 15km classic mass starts for women and men respectively on Saturday, and concludes with 10km and 15km pursuits on Sunday.

Heading into the mini tour world cup final in Quebec, Weng is leading the overall World Cup with a total of 1746 points. Pärmäkoski sits in second place with 1446 points, while Østberg is third with 1352 points total.

Weng also leads the distance World Cup, while Pärmäkoski is third.

Bitahlon party
For the biathlon racers, the 2017 World Cup will conclude in Holmenkollen (NOR), the host of the 2016 IBU World Championships. The weekend features sprint races for men and women on Friday, March 17, continues with men’s and women’s pursuit races on Saturday, and concludes with mass start events on Sunday.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) earned her first two World Championship medals in Oslo last year when she won the bronze medal in the mixed relay and then anchored Norway to gold in the women’s relay. Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR), who won three individual medals at the World Championships in Oslo last year, as well as helping Norway to gold in the men’s relay, is also looking forward to cap off the season on home turf.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) anchored Norway to gold in the relay at the 2016 IBU world championships in Oslo (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) anchored Norway to gold in the relay at the 2016 IBU world championships in Oslo (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

They did it again!

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus
Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), and Krista Parmakoski (FIN) plastered the FIS World Cup podium at the 15km skate race in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

The Madshus girls plastered the podium in Davos (SUI), just like they did last weekend in Lillehammer.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (NOR) were first, second and third, respectively, at the 15-kilometer skate race in Switzerland on Saturday.

Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won and also earned her first World Cup podium for the season. She beat teammate Heidi Weng (NOR) by 7.8 seconds, while Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was third.

“I never thought I would win here today. My strategy was to start out controlled and focus on my technique, rather than think about skiing fast. Whenever I obsessed about skiing fast, my technique fell apart and I had to slow down to speed up,” Flugstad Østberg said after her race.

For Flugstad Østberg, the Davos venue is special. This is where she earned her first World Cup podium in a distance event, almost exactly a year ago.

“I made some solid gains in the longer distances last year, and I have worked hard for years, so this was really fun,” she said.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won her first World Cup race of the season in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won her first World Cup race of the season in Davos (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Weng was content with her second place, and happy for Flugstad Østberg’s victory. “I started out very easy, but it was hard and I had to work with my head. I am very happy for Ingvild, and it’s really fun that we can switch off winning races,” Weng said.

On Sunday, Flugstad Østberg was back on the podium with second place in the skate sprint. After earning her second podium for the weekend, she now leads the overall World Cup.

“I’m really excited about the race. I actually felt better and better as the day went out, and I feel like I skied well technically. This has been an amazing weekend for me in Davos,” Flugstad Østberg said to Norwegian broadcaster NRK after the sprint.

Next weekend, the World Cup moves to La Clusaz (FRA).

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 2nd in the FIS World Cup skate sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 2nd in the FIS World Cup skate sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon
Marte Olsbu (NOR) was third in the sprint at the World Cup in Pokljuka (SLO) on Friday. On Saturday, she led the pursuit for much of the race, but the final lap was too hard and at the end of the day Olsbu finished in ninth place.

On Sunday, Vanessa Hinz skied the opener leg for Germany and helped her team to first place in the women’ 4×6-kilometer relay the World Cup, while Benedikt Doll helped Germany to third place in the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer relay.

Benedikt Doll (GER) helped Germany to 3rd place in the IBU world cup relay in Pokljuka (SLO). Focus: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) helped Germany to 3rd place in the IBU world cup relay in Pokljuka (SLO). Focus: Nordic Focus

Dominated the Mini Tour

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), left to right, dominated the World Cup podium at the mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), left to right, dominated the World Cup podium at the mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), left to right, dominated the World Cup podium at the mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

The Madshus girls plastered the podium at the World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer: Heidi Weng won, Ingvild Østberg was second and Krista Pärmäkoski was third overall.

When Heidi Weng (NOR) won her first ever World Cup sprint race on home turf in Lillehammer on Friday, she could hardly believe it was true.

“I can’t believe I won a sprint. It’s amazing. I don’t really understand what happened at the end of the heat, but I felt that my technique was good and I double-poled really well. Still, I was expecting everyone to glide up on my side any time before the finish line, and I was thinking to myself that if I win this, it’s just sick. But I had such good skis, perfect grip and amazing glide. It was so fun,” Weng said after her race.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) during the 5km skate race at the FIS world cup in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) during the 5km skate race at the FIS world cup in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

On Saturday, Weng was back on the podium with a second place in the 5-kilometer skate race, which was the second stage of the mini tour. The first two stages left her with a 20-second lead for the final stage, the 10-kilometer classic pursuit on Sunday.

And on Sunday, Weng left no doubt: She was the queen of the mini tour. While she made it look easy, the 25-year-old admitted she never felt confident before crossing the finish line of the 10-kilometer classic pursuit. “The first lap was good, but on the second lap I was so stiff I took the corners easy. I was certain I would be caught on the last lap, and I was so happy that I managed to keep the gap all the way in. But I had to work so hard with my head. On that last hill, I was telling myself that I can’t give up now, but I was expecting to see Krista cruise by me at any point,” Weng said after the final stage of the mini tour.

While Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) fell short of the podium during the first two days of the mini tour, her performances at the sprint and skate races left her in second place overall prior to the final pursuit. On Sunday, she was beyond happy to be on the podium. “I had a goal to make the podium this weekend, and being second was more than I expected,” she said after her race on Sunday.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) on her way to 2nd place in the final stage of the FIS World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) on her way to 2nd place in the final stage of the FIS World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Pärmäkoski was also excited about her mini tour in Lillehammer, and especially her last race on Sunday, where she also posted the fastest time of the day despite a dramatic fall on the last lap.

“I felt like I was flying today. It was an amazing race. My body worked very well and my skis were perfect. It was an advantage to ski behind Ingvild (Flugstad Østberg). On the last downhill, I had to take my chances if I wanted to win. The fall was unfortunate but I am happy for 3rd place,” Pärmäkoski said after the race on Sunday.

With the mini tour victory, Weng is now leading the overall 2017 FIS World Cup, with Østberg in second place and Pärmäkoski in third.

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Krista Parmakoski (FIN)  was 3rd in the pursuit at FIS World Cup in Lillehammer (NOR), despite a fall on the final lap of the 10km race. Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 3rd in the pursuit at FIS World Cup in Lillehammer (NOR), despite a fall on the final lap of the 10km race. Photo: Nordic Focus

Also this weekend
Pål Golberg (NOR), who was leading the sprint world cup after winning the sprint race at the FIS World Cup opener in Finland last weekend, also made it to the men’s final in the sprint on Friday, but broke a pole right after the start gun went off.

At the IBU biathlon World Cup in Östersund (SWE), Anaïs Bescond (FRA) started the season with a second place in the women’s 15-kilometer normal competition, which was the first individual World Cup race for the season.

At the Ski Classic long-distance series, Sara Lindborg (SWE) followed up her third place in the prologue last weekend with a third place again in the 35-kilometer La Sgambeda in Italy.

Strong Racing at World Cup Opener

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Madshus racers posted six World Cup podiums on the opening weekend in both biathlon and cross-country.

At the FIS cross-country World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN), Pål Golberg (NOR) marked his territory on the first possible opportunity: By winning the classic sprint on Saturday.

“It was fun to win here today, especially after my third place in the quarterfinal. But my strategy for the semi final and the final worked out. Holding back a bit at the start gave me more power for the last hill and the finish,” Golberg said after the race.

Golberg has been outside the national team leading up to this season, and was only named to national team for the World Cup opener as a last-minute alternate. However, with the decisive sprint victory, Golberg made a strong case for a spot on the national team for the mini tour in Lillehammer on December 2-4. Lillehammer is also the venue where Golberg had his major international breakthrough two years ago.

“Being on my own and outside the national team leading up to this season has certainly been a different experience, given that I have been on the team for the last eight years. But I know that I have been training well and doing the right things. My goal is to race as many World Cup events as possible and be named to the National team for the 2017 World Championships in Lahti (FIN),” Golberg said after his sprint.

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26.11.2016, Ruka, Finland (FIN): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) won the classic sprint at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). Photo: Nordic Focus

Also on Saturday, Heidi Weng (NOR) was third in the women’s sprint. The podium finish marks a first for Weng at the season opener.

“I have never had such a good season opener before, and never made it to the final in an early season World Cup sprint in Finland, so I am very happy,” Weng said after her sprint.

On Sunday, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was second in the 10-kilometer classic race, while Weng earned another third place.

“After the first kilometer I thought I would stop the race. I felt really bad. But the then it got better and better. I am really happy about 2nd place. I finished only five seconds behind Marit (Bjørgen) so maybe I can win next week,” Pärmäkoski said after her race.

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Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km classic race at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. Photo: NordicFocus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km classic race at the FIS World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. Photo: Nordic Focus

Weng was also pleased with her second podium in two days, which is her best ever World Cup season opener.

“To leave World Cup opener with two podiums is great. I am happy I showed yesterday I can sprint fast. Today’s 3rd place is great as well. I started little bit slowly, but later in the race I picked up the speed. I like this course very much. The tough uphills here suit me. It was a very good weekend for me in Ruka,” Weng said.

The FIS World Cup now moves on to Lillehammer (NOR) for a mini tour on December 2-4.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium twice in the FIS World Cup opener weekend in Ruka (FIN) - with in the classic sprint on Saturday and in the 10km classic on Sunday. Photo: NordicFocus

Heidi Weng (NOR) was on the podium twice during the FIS World Cup opener weekend in Ruka (FIN), both in the classic sprint on Saturday and in the 10km classic on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

At the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE), Marte Olsbu and Ole Einar Bjørndalen helped Norway to victory.

“I was really nervous today, but I had super fast skis. It’s really fun to be at it again, and I’m looking forward to more. This is what we train for all year round,” said Olsbu, who skied the first leg for Norway.

The Norwegians had an impressive half-minute gap to Germany in second place, where Madshus racer Benedikt Doll did a solid job to keep the team ahead of Italy in third place.

The IBU biathlon World Cup Östersund continues with the women’s 15km normal competition on November 30, the men’s 20km normal competition on December 1, sprints for men and women on December 3 and concludes with pursuit races for men and women on December 4.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) raced the opening leg in the mixed team relay on Sunday and helped Norway to first place at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Dominating Four Sports

Heidi Weng (NOR) after her 2nd place in the 10kkm skate in Falun. Photo: Nordic Focus

Madshus skiers collect WC podiums on the Nordic Combined, biathlon, cross-country and long-distance circuits.

Jarl Riiber (NOR) opened the World Cup racing this week with a third place in the Nordic Combined World Cup in Trondheim on Tuesday.

Then the FIS Cross-country World Cup action started the weekend racing early with classic sprints in Stockholm (SWE) on Thursday, where Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) cruised into yet another strong second place.

Still feeling the effects of the brutal 30km classic race in Holmenkollen (NOR) last weekend, Østberg was excited to net podium in the sprint race.

“I can say that this is the first time that I have felt some fatigue from previous racing. The 30km was tough last weekend, and I think I felt it in the finals. I am happy for Maiken (Caspersen Falla). She was better than I was today, but I can’t believe that it’s another podium for me this season” Østberg said after the sprint race.

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Ingvild Flugstad Ørtberg went straight for the podium again at the classic sprint in Stockholm on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Ørtberg went straight for the podium again at the classic sprint in Stockholm on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

After the Stockholm sprints on Thursday, the World Cup continued in Falun (SWE), where Heidi Weng (NOR) skied into second place in the women’s 5km classic on Saturday, with Østberg in third place.

“I had to fight against myself today to keep pushing. In the end I had nothing left. It’s another podium for me, which is incredible, and I am very satisfied with that – and also a little tired,” said Østberg.

Later on Saturday, Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) was second in the men’s 10km classic. This was his second World Cup podium finish for the season.

“I am happy to be back on the podium, as in Toblach. I prefer the interval start classic competitions. It is the best for me,” he said.

Bessmertnykh sat out Sunday’s 15km mass start event in order to prepare for the Lahti World Cup next weekend, and Ski Tour Canada from March 1 to 12.

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05.01.2016, Oberstdorf, Germany (GER): Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, individual sprint, Oberstdorf (GER). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) was second in the 10km classic race in Falun. Photo: Nordic Focus

On Sunday, Weng stepped up again and hauled in to second place again, just 8.8 seconds from winning the 10km skate race in Falun.

“I was nervous for the mass start with all the others, but Therese (Johaug) started like it was a sprint, so there weren’t many of us from the beginning. I tried to stay with her as long as I could, but my legs started to get stiff, and I just focused on my technique to make sure that I still got to the finish in second place,” Weng said after the race.

Next weekend, the FIS cross-country World Cup moves to Lahti (FIN), which is where Weng earned her first World Cup podium finish and one of her favorite venues.

Østberg is now in second place in the overall 2016 World Cup with weng in third place, while Weng is in second place in the overall distance World Cup with Østberg in third place.

Complete results 

First and third in the IBU World Cup
The IBU World Cup continued with races in North America, moving from Canada to Presque Isle, Maine (USA). On Sunday, Erlend Bjøntegaard helped Norway to first place in the men’s relay on Saturday, while Miriam Gössner helped Germany to third place in the women’s relay.

Complete results 

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Miriam Gössner at the relay in Presque Isle, Maine, on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Miriam Gössner at the relay in Presque Isle, Maine, on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Dahl back on the Ski Classics podium
Also on Saturday, Madshus marathon racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) of Team United Bakeries finished third in the Toblach-Cortina in Tirol. The 50km event, which is new on the Ski Classics long-distance cup schedule this season, was cut down to 32km due to lack of snow.

Fellow Madshus marathon racer Johan Kjølstad, who was second in the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria last weekend, was in contention for the podium for much of the race, but ended in eighth place. However, Kjølstad still remains in third place in the overall Ski Classics Champion standings. Also, Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) continue to lead the overall Youth competition.

The Ski Classics now takes a 3-week break before the final three races in Scandinavia: Vasaloppet on March 6, Birkbeinerrennet on March 19 and Årefjällsloppet (the Ski Classics final) on April 2.

Complete results

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