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This is Ski Classics 2018

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

The marathon race series just announced the event schedule for the upcoming season.

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet is one of the 11 events that make up the 2018 Ski Classics race schedule. Photo: Vasaloppet

Season 8 of the long-distance ski championship consists of 11 events from the end of November through mid-April. (See complete schedule below)

The 2018 Ski Classics season
There are several changes for the 2018 season, starting with a new format for the Pro Team Tempo, which is the opening show of the 11-event series. This year, the Pro Team women’s tempo will be run as a pursuit race following the Pro Team men’s team tempo.

The season can be divided into three distinct phases: The first consists of two events at altitude before Christmas. From January until mid-February, the racers embark on five events in Central Europe before the season caps off with the four-race Nordic Tour mini-cup consisting of Vasaloppet (SWE), Birkebeinerrennet (NOR), Reistadløpet (NOR) and Ylläs Levi (FIN).

Vasaloppet China in early January is out, as is Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, cutting the schedule from 13 to 11 events.

Strong Madshus Marathon team
This year, Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) won the youth competition for the second consecutive time and with a crushing margin. He is as motivated as ever for the upcoming season. Also, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition: Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was third, Sara Lindborg of Team Särneke was fourth and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) of Team Ski ProAm was fifth.

Madshus racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden, the world’s largest and oldest classic ski race, for the third time.

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Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard won the 2017 Ski Classic Youth Competition. Photo: Ski Classics

 

2018 Ski Classics Schedule
Event 1: 26th November, Prologue, Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 2nd December, La Sgambeda, Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 13th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 4: 20th January, La Diagonela, St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 5: 28st January, Marcialonga, Trentino Italy 70km
Event 6: 3rd February, Toblach-Cortina, Italy 50km
Event 7: 18th February, Jizerska Padesatka, Czech Republic 50km
Event 8: 4th March, Vasaloppet, Sweden 90km
Event 9: 17th March, Birkebeinerrennet, Norway 54km
Event 10: 7th April, Reistadløpet, Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 11: 14th April, Ylläs-Levi, Finland 67km

 

It’s a wrap!

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng at the FIS world cup relay in Nove Mesto (CZE). Photo: Nordic Focus

The elite skiers have already started the 2017 training season, making this a great time to look back at the 2016 achievements. And what a season it was for the Madshus racers!

Taking a look at some of the major highlights from the season, there is a lot to celebrate in the 2015-16 season. Just take a look at a random week in February: Dominating four sports 

The king of Biathlon, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, opened the IBU World Cup season with a podium at the first possible opportunity, in Östersund (SWE) the first week of December. But he reigned the grounds at the 2016 Holmenkollen World Championships, earning no less than four medals on home turf: gold in the relay, silver in the sprint and the pursuit and bronze in the mass start. At 42 years old. He now has over 40 World Championship medals, and he is not retiring any time soon, said the father to be, who is expecting a daughter in October.

Read more: The King Continues 

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Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Also at the 2016 Holmenkollen World Championships, Marte Olsbu (NOR) stepped up and earned her first World Championship medal as she anchored Norway to gold in the women’s 4x6km relay.

“This is the biggest I have ever experienced. I can’t believe it’s true,” Olsbu said after the relay.

Anaïs Bescond (FRA) took home two silver medals from Holmenkollen: the 15km normal competition and the relay.

Read the full recap of the Madshus podium party at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen 

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Marte Olsbu anchored Norway to gold in the relay. Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu anchored Norway to gold in the relay. Photo: Nordic Focus

In the Ski Classics, Madshus Marathon racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won both the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet in Sweden on March 6, and the 54-kilometer Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 19. In doing so, he made history: He was the first Norwegian and only the second racer to ever do so in the 93-year-long legacy of the Vasaloppet. The last to win both races back to back in the same season was Sven-Åke Lundbäck back in 1981.

Read more: Nailing the Double 

Two weeks later, Dahl was second in Årefjällsloppet on April 2, which was the Ski Classic Final. The Dahl capped the long-distance season with winning the world’s longest cross-country race: The 200-kilometer Nordenskiöldsloppet in Sweden, the longest ski marathon in the world, in 8 hours 35 minutes and 17 seconds.

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John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

Also, Madshus Marathon racers Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) won the Ski Classic Youth bibs, awarded to the best racers age 26 and under.

Even in a year without any major championships for the FIS cross-country and Nordic Combined, Madshus racers, still brought home an impressive number of podium finishes. The highlights were many and bright, but Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Heidi Weng (NOR) really dominated the FIS World Cup this season. The duo brought in podium finishes and victories both in the Tour de Ski in January and the brand new Ski Tour Canada as well as the regular World Cup schedule, in sprints as well as distance races.

Read more: Tour de Podium 

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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

In Nordic Combined, World Cup rookie Jarl Riiber (NOR) showed no respect for the established elite. He cleaned up the hardware at the 2015 FIS Junior World Championships in Kazakhstan taking home two individual gold medals and bronze in the team competition, and became a permanent member of the Norwegian World Cup team for the 2015-16 season. The 18-year-old stepped up to the challenge. He opened the season by winning the Norwegian national championships in November, and delivered podium finishes on the World Cup throughout the season.

 

Vasaloppet Means Everything

John Kristian Dahl wins Vasaloppet with a 1-second margin in a 29-man bunch sprint. Photo: Ulf Palm/Vasaloppet
John Kristian Dahl wins Vasaloppet with a 1-second margin in a 29-man bunch sprint. Photo: Ulf Palm/Vasaloppet

John Kristian Dahl wins Vasaloppet with a 1-second margin in a 29-man bunch sprint. Photo: Ulf Palm/Vasaloppet

“This victory saves my entire season,” John Kristian Dahl said after winning Vasaloppet by 1 second to fellow Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard in a bunch sprint.

“I had fantastic skis. I skied on a brand new pair and that was really fun. Also, there are always some luck involved, I’ve trained well this last month and I made good choices at the end of the race,” Dahl said to Madshus.com after the race.

Dahl, who also won Vasaloppet in 2014, surged on the last stretch to the finish line in one of the biggest mass sprints in the history of the race, where a total of 29 racers were fighting for the victory.

A breakaway that took off about 38km into the race had a lead of more than 2 minutes in Oxberg, where Dahl had nearly given up the hope of a victory. But then Dahl and the rest of the main field caught the two racers in the breakaway with several kilometers to go, and the whole bunch stayed together all the way to the finish.

“I thought that I would just go after it, and see if I could last. So I started picking up the pace, but it was so hard to get anyone else to join me, so spent a lot of energy there,” Dahl said after his finish, adding that he had a strategy once he saw the opportunity.

“I defended my own position. I stayed in my own track for the last four kilometers. I just skied faster and faster as we approached the finish line, and the last 200 meters I just sold out. I didn’t know that I made it until I had crossed the line. It was an intense experience,” Dahl said.

This second victory at the Vasaloppet means the world to Dahl, especially given a rough season so far.

“It’s really wonderful to be able to defend my victory from 2014. Our team has had a lot of trouble this year, and this win really makes the season for the entire team,” Dahl said.

“I skied a perfect race today. John Kristian was just that much faster at the end, and fully deserves the victory,” Hoelgaard said to Madshus.com.

RESULTS Vasaloppet 2016, men
1. John Kristian Dahl, (NOR) Norge, 4.08.00
2. Stian Hoelgaard, (NOR) Norge, 4.08.01
3. Anders Mölmen Höst, (NOR) Norge, 4.08.02
4. Öyvind Moen Fjeld, (NOR) Norge, 4.08.02
5. Dario Cologna, (SUI) Schweiz, 4.08.02
6. Markus Ottosson, (SWE) IFK Umeå, 4.08.02
7. Jerry Ahrlin, (SWE) Team Swedemount Sport, 4.08.03
8. Stanislav Rezác, (CZE) Tjeckien, 4.08.03
9. Johan Kjölstad, (NOR) Norge, 4.08.03
10. Oskar Kardin, (SWE) Östersunds SK, 4.08.03

This is Vasaloppet 2016

Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet
When the gun goes off at 8am on Sunday, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

When the gun goes off at 8am on Sunday, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

Sunday’s 90km classic event from Sälen to Mora is the 92nd edition of the legendary ski race, named after Swedish king Gustav Vasa who ventured into the area 495 years ago.

On Sunday, 15,800 skiers will participate in the 92nd Vasaloppet, and the 20th edition with a ladies’ competition class. This year, the elite ladies will have two to three tracks to themselves on the final stretch so that no men can get in the way of their final sprint for the finish line.

The first Vasaloppet was on Sunday March 19, 1922. Only three races have been cancelled: in 1932, 1934 and 1990. Since 1948, the race has always been run on the first Sunday of March, except for 2015 when it was moved due to the World Ski Championships in Falun.

Madshus marathon racer Jörgen Brink holds the current course record for the men, 3 hours, 38 minutes and 41 seconds, posted in 2012. Brink is the only athlete to post a true hat trick in the Vasaloppet since wooden skis went out of style in the 1970s. Brink won Vasaloppet in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Brink was on track for four straight victories, but racing the 90-kilometer course with a fever, Brink was narrowly beat on the final stretch and ended up fourth.

Fellow Madshus marathon team racer Stanislav Rezác (CZE) is participating in Vasaloppet for the 18th time. He’s been in the top ten twelve times, the top three six times, but no win. He has been among the top 6 these past six years, and came 3rd in 2015.

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet 2014 - in his first season on the marathon circuit. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet 2014 – in his first season on the marathon circuit. Photo: Madshus

Vasaloppet trivia
This year, it is 50 years since Vasaloppet was first broadcasted. Starting in 1966, the race has been televised live on Swedish television (starting in 1966). However, 2016 marks the 39th time that Vasaloppet (in parts or in its entirety) is live transmitted, and the 34th time that the Vasaloppet start is broadcasted live on television. 1973 was the first year with a live broadcast in color!

Last year an average 1,826,000 viewers watched SVT’s five-hour-long Vasaloppet broadcast. In total 3,445,000 viewers tuned in to see some part of the live broadcast – more than a third of Sweden’s population. 751,000 viewers got up as early as 07:30 to watch the initial half hour before the start.

Vasaloppet 2015 was fully booked in 83 seconds when registration opened in March, 2015. This means 15.800 registered participants. The record number is 16,462 from 2010, but the event is now limited to 15,800. 2016 is the third year in a row when over 66,500 participants have registered for the various races in Vasaloppet’s Winter Week.

For the third year in a row, over 2000 ladies have registered for Vasaloppet, which means almost 14 percent female participants out on the course this Sunday. (In the whole of Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2016, with all nine races included, 61 percent are gents and 39 percent are ladies.)

Vasaloppet 2016 has participants from 46 different nations, counting Sweden. About 3,800 of the registered participants come from other nations than Sweden, most from Norway (1,272). Then come Denmark (630), Finland (562), Germany (253), Czech Republic (207), Estonia (182), Switzerland (156), Austria (117), Italy (113), the Netherlands (69), Russia (66) and France (48). In total the Vasaloppet Winter Week 2016 has over 6,000 international participants from a record 55 nations.

Since 1922 a total of 534,639 Vasaloppet skiers have completed the 90-kilometre Vasaloppet; put together they have covered a distance equivalent to 1,202 round the world trips or 62 journeys to the moon and back.

Öppet spår. Foto: Mikael Forslund, 1/3-2015 © Mikael Forslund Produktion AB Manhemsvägen 34 791 31 Falun Mobil: 070-663 26 14 E-post: mf.produktion@telia.com Fax samt tel: 023-79 55 99 Hemsida: http://www.mikaelforslundproduktion.com Org nr: 556675-0047 VAT: SE 556675004701 Bankgiro: 5748-7191 IBAN: SE76 8000 0816 6197 4078 9731 BIC/Swift code: SWEDSESS Bank: Swedbank

Vasaloppet is most of all for the masses, those who take the time to savour the soup and the scenery. Photo: Mikael Forslund

15 Brutal Laps to 50km

The Jizerska 50 will be run as 15 laps on a 3.3km course for a total of 50km. Photo: Jizerska 50

 

The Jizerska 50 will be run as 15 laps on a 3.3km course for a total of 50km. Photo: Jizerska 50

The Jizerska 50 will be run as 15 laps on a 3.3km course for a total of 50km. Photo: Jizerska 50

The lack of snow forces the Ski Classics event Jizerska 50 to be creative: The 50km marathon will be run as 15 laps on a 3.3km course replacing the original 50km course.

The traditional Czech ski marathon Jizerska 50 is the third event in the 2016 Ski Classics long-distance race series, and despite the severe snow drought, the 50km marathon will take place as scheduled on Sunday. But, because the original 50-kilometer course is not skiable, the race organizers have come up with an entirely different plan: one that honors the history of the race and treats racers to a brutal competition.

The first Jizerska race took place on the last Saturday in January 1968 when 52 competitors participated and ran along the Jizera Mountains from Bedrichov to Korenow and back to Bedrichov. In 1970, the participating field included 15 members of expedition Peru 1970, who four months later were buried by a rockslide under Huascaran.

In honor of these men, the 2016 Jizerska on Sunday will be a 50-kilometer race consisting of 15 laps: one lap for each of the expedition member who was killed in 1970, as a tribute to the founders of the race. Each lap is 3.3km long, for a total of 50km.

“We are delighted to finding this solution this year in order to pay tribute to the history (of the race), and also being able to create an extremely tough 50km race in which the winners will be real cross-country heroes,” says David Nilsson, CEO of the Ski Classics, said in a press release.

Due to the new layout of the event and participants racing 15 laps each, the organizers have determined that both elite men and elite women will start at the same time, at 0830 (CET) on Sunday.

Prior to the Jizerska, Madshus marathon racers are dominating the standings: John Kristian Dahl (NOR) is currently in first place for the overall champion bib, Eugeniy Dementiev (RUS) in second place and Johan Kjølstad (NOR) in third place, while Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) is leading the Ski Classics youth competition.

The skiers are excited to race again after more than a month’s break. The 2016 Ski Classics started with a double-header in Italy on December 5 and 6, featuring a 15km team prologue, followed by a 24km classic distance race.

More information on the Ski Classics

The lack of snow forces organizers to be creative, but the Jizerska 50, which is the 3rd event in the 2016 Ski Classics series, will run the full 50km distance on Sunday. Photo: Jizerska 50

The lack of snow forces organizers to be creative, but the Jizerska 50, which is the 3rd event in the 2016 Ski Classics series, will run the full 50km distance on Sunday. Photo: Jizerska 50

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