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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

What a Season Opener!

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg turned the national season opener at Beitostølen into their podium party, Pål Golberg and Simen Sveen both delivered podiums at Beitostølen, and Krista Pärmakoski won in Finland.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg opened her 2017 season by winning the 10-kilometer classic race at Beitostølen on Friday, with Heidi Weng in second place. 13 seconds separated the two Madshus racers, but the duo had a minute gap down to third place.

“I’m almost surprised that I did so well in the first race. I have felt good in training all summer and fall, but the last week felt a little harder. But I felt like I skied well, and it was fun to win the first race,” Østberg said after the victory.

On Saturday, Weng posted another second place in the 10-kilometer skate race, with Østberg in third place.

“This is my best season opener at Beitostølen ever. I don’t usually ski very fast in the first events, so it’s fun to do well here,” Weng said.

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Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Additionally, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen was third in the men’s 15-kilometer skate race on Saturday. The 29-year-old is currently pursuing his racing career outside the Norwegian national team, and needed to ski well at Beitostølen in order to be considered for World Cup events later this season.

“I hope I will have a chance to ski the World Cup mini tour at Lillehammer in two weeks, and that I ski well enough there to be selected for the World Cup in Davos the following week. I have two main goals for the season, and those are the 30-kilometer skate at the World Cup in Davos, and the 50-kilometer skate at the World Championships in Lahti later this winter, so I really needed to post some good results here this weekend,” Sveen says.

Finally, on Sunday, Pål Golberg hauled in to second place in the skate sprint. Golberg is aiming for a spot on the Norwegian World Cup team for the mini tour in Lillehammer the first week in December. Performing well on home turf in Lillehammer is an important application for a chance to represent Norway at the Lahti (FIN) Championships in February. Accordingly, racing well at the Beitostølen season opener was crucial in order to keep those doors open, now that Golberg is racing outside the core of the Norwegian national team and has to qualify for the individual events.

Also this weekend, Madshus racer Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) won the women’s 10-kilometer classic race in Rovaniemi (FIN) on Sunday. She was second in the skate sprint on Saturday.

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Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

The 2017 FIS cross-country World Cup opens in Ruka (FIN) this coming weekend and consists of with 12 rounds including Tour de Ski and two mini tours. Additionally, the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships are held in Lahti (FIN) from February 22 to March 5.

2017 FIS World Cup Schedule
Nov 26-27: Ruka (FIN)
Dec 2-4: Lillehammer (NOR) mini tour
Dec 10-11: Davos (SUI)
Dec 17-18: La Clusaz (FRA)
Dec 31-Jan 8: Tour de Ski
Jan 14-15: Toblach (ITA)
Jan 21-22: Ulricehamn (SWE)
Jan 28-29: Falun (SWE)
Feb 3-5: PyeongChang (KOR)
Feb 18-19: Otepää (EST)
March 8: Drammen (NOR)
March 11-12: Oslo (NOR)
March 16-19: Tyumen (RUS) mini tour

Tour de Podium

Heidi Weng, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg og Krista Pärmäkoski swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

Heidi Weng, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg og Krista Pärmäkoski swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

Ski Tour Canada marked the season finale for the 2016 FIS World Cup, and a particularly strong finale for Heidi Weng’s amazing season.

The brand new Ski Tour Canada started with skate sprints in Montreal on March 1, then a 10km classic mass start on March 2 in the same place.

Stage 2 was a 10km classic mass start, and a strong effort in the brutal event in Montreal put Heidi Weng in 2nd place overall in the Tour, after a 4th place in the opening skate sprint.

“My plan was to go fast from the start. I hoped that Astrid and I could win some seconds on Therese. But Astrid got tired so I skied alone. It was a good race but I lost a lot of seconds Therese. I have to improve in distance competitions.”

Weng followed up with a third place in the skate sprint in Quebec City on March 5, and Weng snagged the leader, which she held onto for the rest of the tour.

“Stina (Nilsson) was very good today and she deserved to win. The sprint was longer, but I liked it. It is great to be in the lead of the Ski Tour Canada, but there are many races to go.”

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Heidi Weng at the skate sprint in Quebec City. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng at the skate sprint in Quebec City. Photo: Nordic Focus

The final race in Quebec was a pursuit on Sunday, March 6. Weng began the day just 11 seconds ahead of her teammate Therese Johaug in the overall Tour standings. Johaug quickly closed the time gap and moved into the lead, but Weng was able to match her pace and outsprinted Johaug to the finish by just 0.1 seconds. With 15, 10 and 5 seconds bonuses given to the top 3 at the finish, Weng kept the leader bib with a 5.1 second margin.

“It was a very good race. When Therese caught me she had a very high speed and I tried to stay with her. It was amazing to follow her. On the last hill I knew I was strong in the last meters. But it was very close. It is fun to win,” Weng said after the pursuit.

Then the Ski Tour Canada moved to Canmore, Alberta, for the last FIS World Cup sprint race of the season. Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) pulled off a strong 3rd place, which left her in second place in the overall 2016 Sprint World Cup.

“It was a really tough sprint. The course was long, and I had to fight until the end. I had to fight all the way I did not have any power left in the finish,” Østberg said.

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Ingvild FLugstad Østberg leading the pack in the 15km skiathlon in Canmore. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild FLugstad Østberg leading the pack in the 15km skiathlon in Canmore. Photo: Nordic Focus

The next stage featured a 15km skiathlon for the women, in which Weng outsprinted Johaug again.

“I tried to keep the pace with Therese and to ski away from the chasing group. We worked together and it was a great fight between me and Therese,” Weng said.

Friday’s 10km pursuit was a Madshus podium party where Østberg dominated the field, winning by 23 seconds to Weng in second place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in third place.

“I never thought I would win 10 km skate. I thought that was the weakest event for me. I did not feel I was fast. It is a great day for me,” Østberg said, admitting that she never expected to beat both Johaug and Weng in a distance event.

Weng was happy to beat Johaug as well, and earned herself even more bonus seconds for the final pursuit on Saturday.

“I started slowly and wanted to speed up. I got tired in the second lap. I really happy I picked up seconds on Therese and built up the lead in the Ski Tour,” she said.

And finally, Pärmäkoski rounded out the Madshus podium sweep in the second to last stage of the tour.

“I was little bit tired, I knew I had to start slow. I wanted to finish fast. I am excited to be third today,” she said.

The final stage of Ski Tour Canada brought Weng another second place overall in the tour. Just like Tour de Ski. She has proven that she can perform day after day, through travel and time zones, with very little recovery between stages and races. She outsprints the best at the end of a distance race, and she can sprint with the best in a true sprint race. This certainly bodes well for next year, a season when the World Championships will take place in Lahti (FIN), one of Weng’s favorite venues and the place where she earned her first ever World Cup podium.

Heidi Weng (left) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg after the final stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: Nordic Focus 

Heidi Weng (left) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg after the final stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

Dominated the WC Podiums

Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ole Einar Bjørndalen opened the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen opened the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with a second place in the sprint on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The last World Cup weekend before the holidays yielded no less than 11 podium finishes for the Madshus racers.

The biathletes were first out, opening the World Cup weekend in Pokljuka (SLO) with the men’s 10km sprint on Thursday night: Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) wasted no time, and went straight to the podium with an impressive second place finish.

His best performance in a long time,” said expert commentator Ola Lunde of the veteran after the race.

On Sunday, Bjørndalen snagged his second podium for the weekend, finishing third in the mass start, behind teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR). Super-Svendsen was just a hair from the victory in the mass start after delivering a smoking second half of the race.

The next round in the IBU World Cup is January 8-10, 2016, in Nove Mesto (CZE).

Complete results from the IBU World Cup in Pokljuka 

For the Nordic combined crew, the Norwegian Madshus racers dominated Saturday’s competition in Ramsau (AUT), claiming all the podium spots: Magnus Moan (NOR) won, while Magnus Krog (NOR) was second and reigning Norwegian national champion Jarl Riiber was third. On Sunday, Riiber, who is a rookie on the senior World Cup circuit this season, was back on the podium for the second day in a row, with a strong second place.

The Nordic Combined World Cup takes a break over the holidays and starts up in 2016 with two competitions in Klingethal (GER) on January 2-3.

Complete results from the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup 

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Jarl Riiber (NOR) was third in the Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau (AUT) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Jarl Riiber (NOR) was third in the Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau (AUT) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The FIS cross-country World Cup moved to Toblach, Italy, for the last round of races before the 2016 Tour de Ski. On Saturday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg posted another second place in the skate sprint. On Sunday, she was back on the podium again with a third place in the 10-kilometer classic race, just behind fellow Madshus racer Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), who posted her first World Cup podium for the season.

“I am so excited to be on the podium. I have been waiting for this moment since the beginning of the season. I knew the energy and fitness was there, but until today I haven’t been able to show that in my results. The whole Finnish team was amazing today,” Pärmäkoski said after her race.

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Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) earned her first podium finish for the season on Sunday, with second place in the 10km classic at the World Cup in Toblach (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) earned her first podium finish for the season on Sunday, with second place in the 10km classic at the World Cup in Toblach (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

Østberg, who has established her self as a solid distance racer this season as well as one of the best sprinters in the world, was equally excited about her third place.

“It was very tight, and great battle between me, Krista and Heidi (Weng). I lost a lot at the end of the race but I am really satisfied with third place. The season has been so great for me. I nearly cannot believe it. I’m so happy that things have worked so well for me,” said Østberg.

Also on Sunday, Alexander Bessmertnykh (RUS) skied into an impressive second place in the men’s 15-kilometer classic in Toblach.

“It is great to be back on the podium again,” said Bessmertnykh, who chose to ski with kick wax,.

While about half of the racers chose to go without on the challenging course, The Russian did not regret his decision.

“I had a very good race, and it was a good choice to go with kick wax. I had amazing skis. Our service team did a great job,” Bessmertnykh said.

The FIS World Cup resumes on January 1 with the first event of the 10-day stage race Tour de Ski, where sprint races in Lenzerheide (SUI) are the first races.

Complete results from the FIS Cross-country World Cup 

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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