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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

Sprint, distance and marathon podiums

29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE):
Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) in front of Ingvild Flugstad (NOR) at the FIS World Cup 15km classic mass start in Falun (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng and Ingvild F. Østberg were back on the podium at the FIS cross-country World Cup, while Johan Kjølstad and Sara Lindborg posted Ski Classics podiums at the Marcialonga.

Heidi Weng (NOR) opened the World Cup weekend in Falun (SWE) with third place in the skate sprint on Saturday.

“I had never competed in the sprint here in Falun before. So this was new for me, and I am happy with the result. It’s good as well for the Overall World Cup lead as Krista (Parmakoski) was just behind me today, so I have a few more points,” Weng said after her race on Saturday.

On Sunday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was a fraction of a second away from victory in the 15km classic mass start in Falun.

“I felt really good today. I thought I could win. I didn’t ski the final climb well on the sprint course and Marit (Bjørgen) got a gap and I wasn’t able to close it. I wasn’t satisfied with yesterday’s sprint result, so it’s good to be back on the podium today,” Østberg said after her race.

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28.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) at the FIS World Cup sprint in Falun (SWE) on Saturday. Photo:  Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng in third place for the second day in a row, but had to dig deep for her second podium. I was so tired today. The others were getting a gap on the Morderbacken each lap, but I was able to come back to them on the downhill. I thought Stina might catch me, so I am very happy to make the podium today,” Weng said.

For Weng and Østberg, the Falun races this weekend was the last World Cup competitions for a while. Østberg joins the national team for an altitude camp in the Alps in preparation for the World Championships in Lahti (FIN) in the end of February, while Weng is preparing at her family’s cabin at Skeikampen (NOR).

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29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) at the FIS World Cup 15km Classic mass start on Sunday in Falun (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Also on Sunday, Johan Kjølstad was second at the Marcialonga, beating Morten Eide Pedersen on the finish line. Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) was fifth overall, and increased his major lead in the overall youth competition where he already had a gap of more than 200 points prior to the Marcialonga.

Sara Lindborg (SWE) was third in the women’s race, and is also third in the Ski Classics overall this season. Lindborg and fellow Madshus marathon racer Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) lead the women’s field for much of the race. Due to lack of snow, the 70-kilometer classic event was shortened to 57km this year.

Johan Kjølstad (left) was second in the Marcialonga. Photo: Team United Bakeries

Johan Kjølstad (left) was second in the Marcialonga. Photo: Team United Bakeries

German Team Power

Benedikt Doll (GER) at the IBU world cup biathlon in Antholz (ITA), this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus
Benedikt Doll (GER) at the IBU world cup biathlon in Antholz (ITA), this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) at the IBU world cup biathlon in Antholz (ITA), this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Germany earns three World Cup relay podiums in two days.

Madshus racers contributed to five World Cup relay podium this weekend, between the biathlon World Cup in Anterselva (ITA) and the cross-country World Cup in Ulricehamn (SWE).

On Saturday, the German biathlon relay team powers into a photo finish first place in the men’s 4×7.5km, with Benedikt Doll skiing the second leg for his team.

On Sunday, the German women follow suit, with Vanessa Hinz on the first leg setting the stage for the victory in the 4x6km relay. France snagged second place in the women’s relay, with Anaïs Bescond skiing the third leg for her team.

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Vanessa Hinz (GER) at the IBU biathlon World Cup in Antholz (ITA) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Vanessa Hinz (GER) at the IBU biathlon World Cup in Antholz (ITA) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

At the cross-country World Cup on Sunday, Sandra Ringwald anchored Germany to second place in the women’s 4x5km relay, beating Sweden by 0.2 second. This was the first World Cup podium for Germany since 2010.

“I did not want to be fourth again. I managed to stay in contact with Hanna (Falck). At the finish, I gave everything I had. It is absolutely amazing to be second,” Ringwald said after her race.

Norway won the women’s cross-country relay, 8 seconds ahead of Germany. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Heidi Weng left their teammates in a good position after skiing the first and second leg, respectively, for Norway.

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Sandra Ringwald (GER) at the FIS world cup in Ulricehamn (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Sandra Ringwald (GER) at the FIS world cup in Ulricehamn (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

On Saturday, Krista Pärmäkoski was second at the 10k skate race in Ulricehamn (SWE).

“I had a great day. I have proven to myself I can ski fast also in free technique. Of course 10 km Classic in Lahti is the big goal for me.”

For Pärmäkoski, this was a significant race in terms of preparing for the World Championships at home in Lahti (FIN) at the end of February.

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km skate race at the FIS cross-country World Cup in Ulricehamn (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd in the 10km skate race at the FIS cross-country World Cup in Ulricehamn (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

The Queen of the Monster Hill

08.01.2017, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA):
Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb women, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
08.01.2017, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb women, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) won the overall 2017 FIS Tour de Ski, after the final climb up Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Starting the final stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski 20 seconds behind the overall leader, Heidi Weng (NOR) was on a mission.

There was never a question who was the queen of the monster hill in Val di Fiemme: Heidi Weng made her move at the base of the hill, parked her competition and just kept widening the gap as the hill got steeper. At the top of the hill, Weng won by a solid margin, her first overall Tour de Ski victory.

“This is a huge victory for me, especially after a Tour where I feel like the margins have not been in my favor. It has been a very tough tour for me. I came into the tour feeling a bit tired and I didn’t feel like I had the preparation that I need for a tour,” Weng said after her race.

“But in Toblach on Friday, I started to feel like my body responded better. Before the stage today, I had decided to conserve my energy on the approach and not surge until the bottom of the hill,” Weng said to reporters, adding that she still had more to offer.

“It seems like the monster hill was not as hard as I remember it from previous tours. I had an extra gear that I could have used if I needed it,” she said.

Weng also had the fastest time for the day on the 9km distance, and won the stage as well as the overall Tour.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) with her 2017 Tour de Ski trophy. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) with her 2017 Tour de Ski trophy. Photo: Nordic Focus

Finally on the podium
Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) pulled off a solid final stage as well, finishing second overall and nailing her first overall Tour de Ski podium finish.

The 26-year-old has competed in six Tour de Ski stage races, and has been fourth overall three times before. For her, finally landing the podium huge.

“I had really good day. I have been fourth so many times, so it is great to be on the podium. Today, I felt great and surprisingly fast on the climb,” Pärmäkoski said after her race.

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Krista Parmakoski (FIN) on her way to the finish on the final stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski, where she was 2nd overall. Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) on her way to the finish on the final stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski, where she was 2nd overall. Photo: Nordic Focus

Best monster hill finish
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) came in fourth overall, but skied her strongest ever Alpe Cermis stage, and for a while the podium was within reach.

“Before the start of the final stage, I certainly didn’t believe I had any chance at the podium. But right now, I almost wish the hill had been just a little longer. I never thought I would ever say that, and knowing that I probably could have caught her if it were just a little longer makes the fourth place overall almost harder to handle,” Østberg said after her race.

At the same time, Østberg was thrilled for her teammate’s overall victory.

“I believed in Heidi from the start and knew it would be hard to beat her up this hill. She has been the strongest skier all season long, and the overall victory was so well deserved,” Østberg said.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg leading the pack during the 5km classic mass start in Val Mustair (SUI) on January 1, the 2nd stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski. Photo: NordicFocus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg leading the pack during the 5km classic mass start in Val Mustair (SUI) on January 1, the 2nd stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski. Photo: NordicFocus

Dominated the Tour
For six of the seven days of the 2017 Tour de Ski, at least one of the girls have been on the podium. Combined for the 2017 Tour de Ski the three Madshus racers have collected 10 podium finishes: two stage wins, four second-place finishes and four third-place finishes.

At the second stage of the Tour, the turbo trio took over the entire podium: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 5km classic mass start event, with Heidi Weng in second place and Krista Pärmäkoski in third. For the overall Tour de Ski, the three girls were first, second and fourth.

Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: Nordic Focus

Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race:
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: Nordic Focus

Plastering the Tour Podium

Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race:
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: Nordic Focus
Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: NordicFocus

Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI): Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won the 5km classic race, Heidi Weng (left) was 2nd and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was 3rd. Photo: NordicFocus

After two stages, Madshus racers are dominating the 2017 Tour de Ski.

The 9-day stage race competition opened with sprint races in Val Müstair (SUI) on New Years Eve, where Heidi Weng (NOR) snagged third place, despite having a rough day.

“To be third in a skate sprint is a great success for me. My body felt stiff almost the whole day, but at the end I made it to the podium. I am very happy,” Weng said after her race.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) was 3rd in the skate sprint in Val Mustair (SUI) on New Years Eve. Photo: NordicFocus

Heidi Weng (NOR) was 3rd in the skate sprint in Val Mustair (SUI) on New Years Eve. Photo: NordicFocus

On Sunday, the Madshus Turbo Trio owned the podium: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) pulled off a perfect 5km classic race, with Heidi Weng (NOR) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Østberg pulled away from Weng and the rest of the field and won the mass start event in 13 minutes and 21.2 seconds. Weng was seven seconds behind, and Pärmäkoski was 11.4 seconds behind Østberg.

“I was really angry with myself after the sprint on Saturday, and I needed a half hour to myself after that race. I wanted to come back hard, because I know I’m in good shape. I gave it everything today, and I made it,” Østberg said to reporters after the 5km on Sunday.

Østberg is now leading the overall Tour as the racers move on to Oberstdorf (GER) for the next two stages: a 5/5km and 10/10km skitahlon for women and men respectively on Tuesday, followed by 10km/15km pursuit races on Wednesday.

Overall Tour de Ski after 2 stages:
1. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR)
2. Heidi Weng (NOR) +10 seconds

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg leading the pack during the 5km classic mass start in Val Mustair (SUI) on January 1, the 2nd stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski. Photo: NordicFocus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg leading the pack with Heidi Weng right behind during the 5km classic mass start in Val Mustair (SUI) on January 1, the 2nd stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski. Photo: NordicFocus

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