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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

Four Medals in Two Days

Heidi Weng helped Norway to gold in the team sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Krista Parmakoski (FIN) won the silver medal in the 15km skiathlon at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships in Lahti (FIN). Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) won the silver medal in the 15km skiathlon at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships in Lahti (FIN). Photo: Nordic Focus

The 2017 FIS World Championships are on, and so are the Madshus racers.

On Saturday, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) earned the silver medal in the women’s 15km skiathlon on home turf in Lahti (FIN).

“It was such a great feeling that …. aaaaaaaaah… everything was so good. The uphills were less steep than yesterday. Everything was so easy,” Pärmäkoski said to reporters after the race.

On Sunday, Heidi Weng helped Norway to victory in the team relay. Weng, who skied the first leg for the team, nearly cried as she watched her teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla pull in to the gold medal with a solid gap to Russia in second place.

“I have always dreamt about racing the team sprint, and being able to do that with the reigning World Champion and win the gold was amazing,” Weng said after the race, admitting that she was quite nervous about the event as well.

“You never know what happens in a relay, and I was afraid that I would mess it up for Maiken, but fortunately, it all went well. I skied better as the race progressed, and I was able to calm down a bit. There was a lot of chaos at the beginning, so I decided it was better to sit in the front of the pack and relax,” Weng said.

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Heidi Weng helped Norway to gold in the team sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng helped Norway to gold in the team sprint on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Later on Sunday, Magnus Moan and Magnus Krog helped Norway to silver in the Nordic Combined team competition. With this medal, veteran Moan made history: He is the first Nrodic Combined athlete to earn a medal at seven different FIS World Championships.

“I am extra proud that I earned this medal in the team competition. My team means a lot to me. Without them, and the support of my family, none of this would be possible,” Moan said after the team competition.

The 2017 FIS World Championships in Lahti continue on Tuesday, with the women’s 10km classic event.

Cross-country
February 28: 10km classic women
March 1: 15km classic men
March 2: relay women (4x5km)
March 3: relay men (4×7.5km)
March 4: 30km skate women
March 5: 50km skate men

Nordic combined
March 1: LH130/10km
March 3: Team sprint LH130/2×7.5km

Ready for the World Championships

Heidi Weng 3rd sprint Otepää Feb 18-17 - Nordic Focus 680x
Heidi Weng 3rd sprint Otepää Feb 18-17 - Nordic Focus 680x

Heidi Weng (NOR) was 3rd in the sprint at the FIS World Cup in Otepaeae (EST). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heading into the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships, Madshus racers are dominating the overall World Cup on the women’s side.

Heidi Weng (NOR) sits in first place with 1651 points, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) in second place with 1285 points and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in third place with 1262 points. The same order goes for the overall distance World Cup.

Weng is also third in the overall sprint world cup going into the World Championships this week.

Final prep for Lahti
At the FIS cross-country World Cup last weekend, Heidi Weng (NOR) was third in the sprint on Saturday and again in the 10km classic race on Sunday at the World Cup in Otepää (EST).

Also on Sunday, Hans Christer Holund (NOR) skied an impressive 15km classic race, and was rewarded with a podium finish. Holund was third in the race but possibly the happiest skier on the podium.

“This third place means a lot to me. I’ve had a difficult season with the (shoulder) injury in the fall. At the finish, I could not believe I was third. This is probably the hardest 15 km I have ever skied. The course was tough, and the snow conditions made it even harder, so I started out conservatively and stepped it up as the race progressed,” Holund said.

Holund is an extra for the Norwegian national team World Championships squad.

The Otepää weekend was the last World Cup prior to the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships in Lahti (FIN), which open on Wednesday, February 22. The first races are on Thursday, February 23.

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Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was 3rd in the 15km classic at the FIS World Cup in Otepaeae (EST). Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was 3rd in the 15km classic at the FIS World Cup in Otepaeae (EST). Photo: Nordic Focus

2017 FIS Nordic World Championships schedule
Cross-Country:
February 23: Sprint men and women
February 25: 15km skiathlon (women), 30km skiathlon (men)
February 26: team sprint men and women
February 28: 10km classic women
March 1: 15km classic men
March 2: relay women (4x5km)
March 3: relay men (4×7.5km)
March 4: 30km skate women
March 5: 50km skate men

Nordic combined
February 24: NH100/10km
February 26: Team competition NH100/4x5km
March 1: LH130/10km
March 3: Team sprint LH130/2×7.5km

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

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