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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.

 

A Solid Start to the 2016 Season

Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)

Hans Christer Holund (NOR)

Madshus racers posted five podium finishes and a good number of strong performances during the FIS season opener in Beitostølen (NOR).

Heidi Weng (NOR) was second in the women’s 7.5-kilometer classic race on Friday. Hans Christer Holund (NOR) started his first season on the Norwegian national team with two podiums in a row: Third place in the 15-km classic on Friday, and second place in the 15-km skate on Saturday. Finally, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Pål Golberg (NOR) were second and third, respectively, in the classic sprint competitions on Sunday.

Complete results from the Beitostølen season opener 

“It was really fun to be on the podium today after skiing fast enough to be on the podium, not because someone faster than me was disqualified,” said Holund after the skate race on Saturday.

And although there was a 47-second gap up to Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who won 15-kilometer skate race, Holund is satisfied with his season opener.

“Martin (Johnsrud Sundby) is in a league of his own. I have never been even close to him in skate or classic. For me, it was great to feel that my body felt good and that I am able to ski fast again,” Holund said.

During an altitude camp with the national team recently in Val Senales, Italy, Holund was evacuated off the glacier during a workout. Holund felt weak even at the start of the workout, and it just got worse. Suddenly, he was gasping for air and struggling to stay conscious. He was airlifted to the hospital and underwent a battery of tests. Ultimately, doctors could not find anything wrong.

“I have to take their word for it, but I’m still curious given that it happened so suddenly and during an easy workout rather than while doing intervals,” Holund said to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. But Holund admits that it was a scary experience.

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Hans Christer Holund during the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen on Saturday.

Hans Christer Holund during the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen on Saturday.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) opened the ski season with an impressive statement of her dryland training effort: She skied the women’s 7.5-kilometer course entirely without kick wax, and cruised into an impressive fifth place, as one of only four women opting for no kick.

“I am glad I did it and tried it. It was a combination of peer pressure and my own curiosity. It kind of feels like people wanted to sacrifice me to see if it could be done, and I had a chance to show that it is possible (to double-pole the whole course). It would have been even more fun if I could have been a few seconds faster and made it to the podium,” Østberg said, admitting that it was a spur of the moment decision.

At the very last minute before her start, she grabbed the skate skis and headed out.

“I don’t regret going all double-pole, but there were a couple of places on the course where I really would have loved to have some kick. I am a fan of traditional diagonal striding so I don’t really know why I did this. But it was kind of fun too,” the 25-year-old said after the race.

For the skate race the next day, Østberg commented that she was a bit more tired than expected and sore different places than normal, but despite the toll on her And by the end og the weekend, she moved on to the podium placing second in the classic sprint on Sunday.

Will she ditch the kick wax again?

“Maybe. But I doubt I will do this again in Kuusamo (at the FIS World Cup opener the last weekend in November). If I do, I am stupid,” she said with a big grin.

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Østberg Beito 680x

Heidi Weng opened her season with a strong second place in the 7.5-kilometer classic on Friday, and a fifth place in the skate race on the same course on Saturday.

Finally, Pål Golberg (NOR) was third in the classic sprint on Sunday, after leading the final heat most of the way through the course.

Furthermore, Oestberg, Weng and Golberg are all skiers who are known to race themselves into shape, so the season opener weekend was a strong statement of what’s to come.

No doubt, the skiers are looking forward to the 2016 FIS World Cup, which gets underway with a mini-tour in Kuusamo, Finland, November 27-29. Let the season begin!

Back to the Podium

Barbro Kvaale is sweeping up the roller ski victories this summer. Photo: Blink Summer Ski Festiva

Barbro Kvaale is sweeping up the roller ski victories this summer. Photo: Blink Summer Ski Festiva

Wednesday evening Barbro Kvaale won the Kirkebakken Grand Prix roller ski sprint in Hamar (NOR). This time she was followed by fellow Madshus racer Olympian and World Champion Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) in second place.

While Kvaale enjoys the roller ski races, she is quick to point out that the real test is on snow.

“This is just show and it’s fun, but what really matters is what happens on snow this winter,” the 23-year-old said to Norwegian news agency NTB after the race.

Read more about Kvaale’s clean sweep at the Blink Summer Ski Festival on July 31-August 1.

Additionally to being second in the individual the sprint, Oestberg won the mixed relay sprint the same evening. Oestberg, who won the team sprint at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (RUS) and the team sprint at the 2015 World Championships in Falun (SWE).

Kvaale had her major break-through last winter at the season opener at Beitostoelen (NOR), where she won the classic sprint race in a deep and competitive field. That victory opened the doors for World Cup races that season, and Kvaale is eager to be back this winter.

The Season is ON

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival 2012. Photo: Blink

The Blink Summer Ski Festival features the strongest biathlon field ever in the history of the event, as well as a solid international field for the XC events.

Madshus biathletes Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen will face the toughest racers in the world at the annual Blink Summer Ski Festival in Sandnes, Norway, July 30-August 1, which is featuring the strongest field ever.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary for the Blink Summer Ski Festival, and last year, the uphill time trial that kicks off the event drew more than 700 racers. This year, World Cup racers from France, Japan, Great Britain, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Canada and Germany are registered for the races, in addition to Norway.

French Martin Fourcade (FRA) is bringing the entire French national team to the races, Arndt Pfeiffer and Daniel Böhm of Germany as well as North American racers Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Nathan Smith are also on the start list. The biathlon program includes shooting duels and mass starts for men and women on July 31, and super sprint races on August 1.

For the Norwegian biathletes, the Blink Ski Festival is a part of the national team season preparations, gearing up for the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo March 3-13, 2016.

Complete start list biathlon

In addition to the biathlon competitions, there are several cross-country races as well. The uphill time trial Lysebotn Opp features a grueling 7.5-kilometer course with a total of 640 meters elevation gain. Many of the biathletes also race in the uphill time trial, adding depth to the already impressive field of XC skiers.

Also, there are two other XC races at the Blink Festival: a mass start distance race for the cross-country skiers, featuring 10km skate for women and 15km skate for men on July 31, as well as sprint races in Sandnes city center on August 1. Madshus racers Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), Krista Parmakoski (FIN), Barbro Kvaale (NOR) and Oeystein Pettersen (NOR) are among the favorites on the start lists.

Complete start list XC

More about the 2015 Blink Summer Ski Festival 

Lysebotn Opp race course. Photo: NSF

Lysebotn Opp race course. Photo: NSF

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