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Sweeping the long and the short

Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus
Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Podium performances in the Ski Classics marathon, the FIS World Cup team sprint and the IBU biathlon World Cup relay.

In the Ski Classics long-distance series, Sara Lindborg (SWE) delivered a solid podium finish in Austria – her first for the season – with second place in the 60-kilometer Kaiser Maximilian Lauf.

The race, which was the third event in the 2018 Ski Classics marathon series, was also the first event in the new mini cup “Alp Trophy.” The Alp Trophy is a bonus to the top racer overall in the three Alpine races Maximilian Lauf in Austria, La Diagonela in Switzerland on January 20, and Marcialonga in Italy on January 28.

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Sara Lindborg (SWE) was 2nd in the Ski Classics Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

Sara Lindborg (SWE) was 2nd in the Ski Classics Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

At the IBU biathlon World Cup in Rupholding (GER), Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place again for the second week in a row. This was the last World Cup relay prior to the Olympics in South Korea, which take place February 9 to 25.

On Sunday, Ida Sargent (USA) helped USA to third place in the World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). This was her third World Cup podium, and her second third place in the team sprint event. Last year, she was third in the same event at the pre-Olympics in South Korea.

Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place in the IBU biathlon World Cup relay in Rupholding (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place in the IBU biathlon World Cup relay in Rupholding (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

This is Ski Classics 2017

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet 2014. Photo: Madshus
John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet 2014 - in his first season on the marathon circuit. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet both in 2014 – in his first season on the marathon circuit – and again this year. Photo: Madshus

The long-distance series adds five new events to the race schedule for 2017.

The 2016/2017 Ski Classics race schedule includes new events in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Finland and China. The marathon series now consist of the world´s 13 most prestigious cross-country ski events.

The race series, which enters its seventh season, is unique both in that the 28 Pro Teams and more than 50.000 amateurs toe the same start line, and in that male and female skiers compete together for the same distances.

Ski Classics VII (2016/2017):
Event 1: 27th November, Prologue Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 3rd December, La Sgambeda Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 4th January, Changchun Vasaloppet China 50km
Event 4: 14th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 5: 21st January, La Diagonela St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 6: 29th January, Marcialonga Trentino Italy 70km
Event 7: 11th February, Toblach-Cortina Italy 50km
Event 8: 19th February, Jizerska Padesatka Czech Republic 50km
Event 9: 5th March, Vasaloppet Sweden 90km
Event 10: 18th March, Birkebeinerrennet Norway 54km
Event 11: 26th March, Årefjällsloppet Sweden 65 km
Event 12: 1st April, Reistadløpet Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 13: 8th April, Ylläs-Levi Finland 55km

About the individual events
The 2017 Ski Classics season kicks off with an individual prologue in Pontresina, Switzerland, on November 27th. The individual prologue is a new initiative since last year´s tour that started with a Pro Team Tempo prologue.

The following weekend, on Saturday December 3rd, the 35km La Sgambeda in Livigno, Italy, takes place as in past seasons. Also new this season is also that the above-mentioned Team Prologue will give both Pro Team points and Individual points.

The first two events are both at altitude, around 2000 meters, which makes them extra challenging.

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Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

VASALOPPET: Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

The 50km Vasaloppet China in Changchun, China, which takes place on January 4th, is the third event on the race schedule. This is the first time the Ski Classics leaves Europe. Changchun is an industrial megacity in northern China, the event is held in the national park famous for the amazing snow sculptures built around the event finish.

After China the Tour returns to Europe for Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld, Austria. The event was part of last year´s calendar as a late replacement for a cancelled event. This year, the event will have a complete new course over 60km with start and finish in the picturesque city of Seefeld.

“For Seefeld, the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf is a step into the Nordic future and an opportunity to show that we are the best cross-country destination in the Alps. In the Ski Classics, we have an experienced partner on our side for the organization of long distance races,” says Markus Daschil Viceman of the tourist board and Nordic group coordinator in Seefeld.

He adds that Seefeld will host the FIS Nordic World Championship 2019 we will also in Seefeld.

From Seefeld, the Ski Classics continues with well-known events in the following order of: La Diagonela, Marcialonga, Toblach-Cortina, Jizerska Padesatka, Vasaloppet, Birkebeinerrennet and Årefjällsloppet.

However, the Czech event Jizerska 50 moves to mid-February in order to get better snow conditions.

This year, Årefjällsloppet, Sweden, will take place on Sunday 26th of March, but it will not be the Ski Classics finale, as the race series has added two more races at the end of the season.

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Oh so close: Tore Bjoerseth Berdal was one tenth of a second from first place in the Ski Classics event Koenig Ludwig Lauf 2015. Photo: Ski Classics

Oh so close: Tore Bjoerseth Berdal was one tenth of a second from first place in the Ski Classics event Koenig Ludwig Lauf 2015. Photo: Ski Classics

The new event Reistadløpet takes place on April 1st in the stunning mountainous fjord landscapes of northern Norway. The event features a 50km course with start in Setermoen and finish in Bardufoss. Reistadløpet has been organized for more than 50 years in the memory of the Norwegian legendary military Ole Reistad. The area surrounding the race is also home to one of the most important military bases in Norway, and the area is also famous for the professional UCI World Tour cycling race Arctic Race of Norway.

“This is exactly what we need to bring our event in northern Norway to the next level. We believe race taking place north of the Arctic Circle on guaranteed natural snow and one of the toughest courses in the Ski Classics will bring a lot of attraction to the event, especially for those of us who like the old, traditional type of cross-country skiing, says Jørn Erik Berntsen, CEO Reistadløpet.

Finally, the Ski Classics moves to Finland for the last new event in the race series: Ylläs-Levi in Lappland. This will be the Ski Classics finale, and features a 55km course with finish on the main street of Finland´s biggest alpine resort Levi. The Ylläs-Levi area offers 550 km well-prepared tracks and a snow guarantee seven months per year. The Kittilä airport makes it easy to travel to Levi, and the area has more than 45 000 hotel beds and wide range of services. Levi Events, the LOC party, has a lot of experience of hosting international events such as Alpine World Cup Levi.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of the Ski Classics family, and believe that having a final event at Ylläs-Levi area will help us to reach our future goals in becoming the largest cross-country tourist area in the northern Europe,” says Janne Pelkonen, CEO at Levi Events.

Podiums in 3 Sports, 2 Continents

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was second in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Østberg shines on the cross-country World Cup, Doll is on the biathlon WC podium and Madshus marathon racers make their mark in Austria.

Madshus racers fielded half of the women’s final at the World Cup classic sprint in Drammen (NOR) on Wednesday. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) hauled into second place, only narrowly beaten on the finish line.

“I’m really happy for being second today. I am on the right way now again. Maiken (Caspersen Falla) was strong, and I am happy for her to win here in Drammen for the third time in a row,” Østberg said after the sprint race.

Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) was fourth in the sprint final, while Heidi Weng (NOR) was fifth.

On Sunday, Østberg was back on the World Cup podium with yet another second place in the 30km classic mass start in Holmenkollen (NOR).

While nobody could fight Thersese Johaug for the victory, Østberg battled the challenging conditions and finished 30 seconds ahead of third place, her best finish to date in a 30-kilometer event.

“It was an amazing race. It was a big fight for second and third place. I was expecting that somebody would attack on the last lap, but it was little bit surprising that it was me. I gained some seconds (on the last lap), and managed to keep the gap to the finish line,” Østberg said after the brutal race.

“Therese was too far ahead. Second place today smashed my previous best. Second place is like a victory,” she said.

Additionally, Heidi Weng (NOR) was fourth and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was seventh, putting three Madshus racers among the top seven.

Østberg now sits in second place in the overall World Cup, second in the sprint World Cup and third in the distance World Cup. Weng is second in the distance World Cup and third in the overall World Cup.

Complete results 

Dominating the marathons
Also on Sunday, the Ski Classics Johan Kjølstad (NOR) narrowly missed the overall victory in the Kaiser Maximillian Lauf in Austria.

Petter Eliassen won the event after thrilling sprint finish, although both Kjølstad and Eliassen clocked in at 3:02:35. Kjølstad is now third in the overall 2016 Ski Classics standings.

In the men’s race, there were a total of four Madshus marathon racers among the top seven: Tore Bjørseth Berdal (NOR) in fourth, Stanislav Rezac (CZE) in sixth and John Kristian Dahl (NOR) in seventh place.

Stian Hoelgaard (NOR, who was 11th in the Kaiser Maximillian Lauf, now has a lead of more than 100 points in the overall youth competitions. In the women’s youth competition, Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) is more than 350 points ahead of the second-place skier, and also sits in fifth place in the overall Ski Classics standings.

The 65km classic race in Seefeld, Austria, replaced the Ski Classics event König Ludwiglauf in Germany, which was cancelled due to lack of snow.

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Johan Kjølstad (NOR) was a split second from the overall victory at the 65km Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on Sunday. Photo: Ski Classics

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) was a split second from the overall victory at the 65km Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on Sunday. Photo: Ski Classics

Complete results 

Doll on the World Cup podium
Also this weekend, Benedikt Doll (GER) was second in the 15km mass start at the IBU World Cup in Canmore, Canada.

Complete results

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