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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

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

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