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What a way to start the season

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

Madshus racers posted seven podiums at the Norwegian cross-country and biathlon season opener events this weekend.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the biathlon mass start at Sjusjøen (NOR) on Sunday, with Anaïs Bescond (FRA) in second place.

“It was really fun. I did exactly what I set out to do and it worked,” Olsbu said after her race.

Olsbu became the first Norwegian woman to ever win the season opener in Sjusjøen.

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Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the season opener at Sjusjøen on Sunday. File photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the season opener at Sjusjøen on Sunday. File photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg were second and third, respectively, at the 10km classic race that opened the Beitostølen season opener in Norway on Friday morning.

“It felt really good but very painful at the same time, almost unusually painful. But it was really fun to race again and go really hard,” Østberg said after her first race of the season.

Weng admits that she was nervous before the start, but relieved to finish second.

“I didn’t feel like I skied super fast up the hills, and I never thought I would be on the podium today, so I’m super excited about the race. It was really fun, and I’m really happy to be back in the racing again,” she said.

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Heidi Weng was second in the 10km classic race at Beitostølen on Friday. Foto: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng was second in the 10km classic race at Beitostølen on Friday. Foto: Geir Olsen

In the afternoon Hans Christer Holund finished third in the men’s 15km classic. The young Madshus racer Johan Hoel finished fifth after leading much of the race and impressed both fellow racers and the experts.

“This is by far the best race I’ve done at Beitostølen ever. I feel like I have a lot to prove after a bad season last year, and hope to be a part of the mix when the national team is naming the 2018 Winter Olympics team,” Hoel said to reporters after his race.

Holund was content with his third place in the first event of the season.

“My main focus for this season is to race well at the World Cup and secure a spot on the Olympic team. In order to do that, I need to race well from the start, so these races are important,” explained Holund, who followed up with second place in the 15km skate race on Sunday.

Weng also concluded her weekend with another podium on Sunday. She was third in the 10km skate race.

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

 

“First place feels really special”

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The World Cup season is just around the corner. These are some of the racers to keep an eye on this winter.

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint at the 2017 IBU World Championships. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon
Benedikt Doll (GER)
– the ambitious German from Titisee-Neustadt earned the gold in the sprint at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen (Austria) in February, with a 0.7 second margin. This was his first individual World Championships gold medal, and only the third time in his entire career that Doll shot clean.

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal. First place feels really special,” Doll said to reporters after his race.

Doll also helped Germany to silver in the relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and has several World Cup podiums and Junior World Championship medals.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) – the 26-year-old from Froland anchored Norway to gold in relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and also helped Norway to the bronze medal in the mixed relay at the same championships. Olsbu comes into the season as the reigning Norwegian champion in the mass start event as well as the in summer biathlon, and eager to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February.

The 2018 IBU Biathlon World Cup opens with a full round of races in Lillehammer(NOR) November 22-26.

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Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Cross-country
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
– a stayer at the World Cup level, the 28-year-old had his breakthrough at the international level in the 2016 season, posting several World-Cup podium finishes. Last season, he injured his shoulder in the final weeks prior to the season, but still managed to come back in time for the World Cup. This season, Holund has his eyes set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February. In July, he won the brutal uphill rollerski race Lysebotn Opp by a full minute, leaving the entire World Cup elite in the dust.

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) is coming off a flying World Cup season and going for more. Photo: Nordic Focus

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) – the strong all-round racer from Gjøvik, hardly needs further introduction. Performing in both distance and sprint races, Østberg has earned multiple World Cup podiums since her first appearance on the international circuit in November 2008. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (RUS), she helped Norway to gold in the team sprint and earned a silver medal in the sprint event. At the 2015 World Championships in Falun (SWE), she again helped Norway to gold in the team sprint. She was third in the overall 2017 World Cup, and with a total of 48 World Cup podiums and 105 top-10-finishes.

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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

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center), with Heidi Weng (left) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) during the 2017 Tour de Ski in Val Müstair (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Liz Stephen (USA) – New on the Madshus team this season, the 30-year-old from Vermont is known throughout the racing community as one of the best climbers in the world. She has been a part of the US Ski Team since 2007, and was a part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as well as the U.S. World Championship teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.

“I’m really excited to be on Madshus this season,” says Stephen, who is aiming for her third Olympics with the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang (South Korea).

The 2018 FIS World Cup season opens with a mini tour in Ruka (Finland) on November 24.

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

Olsbu Wins National Title

Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the sprint competition at the 2017 Norwegian Summer Biathlon Championships. Photo: NordicFocus
Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the sprint competition at the 2017 Norwegian Summer Biathlon Championships. Photo: NordicFocus

Marte Olsbu won the sprint race at the Norwegian Summer Biathlon Championships. Photo: NordicFocus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) heads into the 2017-18 biathlon season as the reigning sprint champion.

The 27-year-old enters the final preparations for the 2017-18 World Cup season with a brand new national title collected at the Norwegian National Summer Biathlon Championships this weekend. On Saturday, Marte Olsbu won the women’s sprint competition.

“I always try to do my best, so it’s extra satisfying when I do well,” Olsbu said after the race.

On Sunday, she was fourth in the mass start, just barely behind the podium finishers.

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

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

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