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Solid World Cup Opener

Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to 2nd place in the single mixed relay at the IBU biathlon World Cup in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Madshus racers posted several podiums in the cross-country and biathlon World Cup openers, as well as Ski Classics.

Benedikt Doll helped Germany to 3rd place in the mixed relay at the IBU biathlon world Cup in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll helped Germany to 3rd place in the mixed relay at the IBU biathlon world Cup in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

At the FIS Cross-Country World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN), Pål Golberg (NOR) opened the 2017-18 season the same way as last year: on the podium. For Golberg, the second place finish in the classic sprint on Friday was important, as the classic sprint is one of the events on the schedule at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (KOR) in February.

Now, he is looking forward to the next World Cup sprint, which takes place on his home turf in Lillehammer on Saturday. “I’ve been thinking about the upcoming World Cup sprint ever since I broke a pole at the start of the sprint race in Lillehammer a year ago,” Golberg says.

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Pål Golberg (NOR) was 2nd in the classic sprint in Ruka on Friday. Photo: NordicFocus

Pål Golberg (NOR) was 2nd in the classic sprint in Ruka on Friday. Photo: NordicFocus

On Saturday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was third in the 10-kilometer classic race, the second stage of the mini-tour in Ruka.

“I am really happy with my third place and I had a strong finish. The conditions were not easy, so the plan was to start carefully and stay in control,” she said after her race.

While Heidi Weng (NOR) and Hans-Christer Holund (NOR) didn’t make the podium at the final stage of the minitour in Finland, they posted the second and third fastest times, respectively, for the skate races on Sunday, which secured them several points in the overall FIS World Cup.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 2nd in the 10km classic at the FIS world cup in Ruka (FIN) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) at the 10km classic in Ruka (FIN) on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

On Sunday, the 2017-18 IBU biathlon World Cup opened with both single mix relay and conventional mixed relay in Österssund (SWE). Vanessa Hinz helps Germany to second place in single mixed relay, the first event at the IBU biathlon World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE). Afterward, Benedikt Doll helped Germany to third place in the mixed relay.

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Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to 2nd place in the single mixed relay at the IBU biathlon World Cup in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to 2nd place in the single mixed relay at the IBU biathlon World Cup in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Sunday also marked the start of the 2017-18 Ski Classics marathon series with the 12-kilometer Pro Team Prologue in Switzerland. Team Lager 157 (SWE) won the team competition, placing four racers among the top six men, including Madshus racer Fredrik Byström (SWE) in second place.

Madshus racers also placed fifth with Simen Østensen (NOR) from Team BN Bank, sixth with Jimmie Johnson (SWE) from Lager 157, seventh with Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) from Team Koteng and tenth with Marcus Johansson (SWE) from Lager 157.

In the women’s prologue, Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) from Team Koteng was second. After the first of the season’s 11 events, Lager 157 is in first place overall, and Team Koteng in second.

Lager 157 won the Pro Team Prologue, which was the first event in the 2017-18 Ski Classics marathon series. Photo: Magnus Östh

Lager 157 won the Pro Team Prologue,  the first event in the 2017-18 Ski Classics series. Photo: Magnus Östh

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

Training with the Best

20.02.2016, Lahti, Finland (FIN):
Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lahti (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
20.02.2016, Lahti, Finland (FIN): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lahti (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) in the sprint at the World Cup in Lahti (FIN) on Feb. 22, 2016. Photo: Nordic Focus

Pål Golberg (NOR) roller skis through the winter and plays golf as much as he can.

The 26-year-old Norwegian had his international breakthrough at the Lillehammer World Cup in December 2013, when he won the 15km classic race. This year, Golberg did a repeat when he won the opening sprint in the World Cup mini-tour at Lillehammer.

While Lillehammer is home turf for Golberg, who knows the trails like the back of his hand, he says there is nothing special about this venue. It’s simply a matter of racing well.

“There is nothing magic about Lillehammer. I like these trails, I’ve trained a lot here and I know the courses well, but it’s all about nailing the tactics and having the best skis,” Golberg explains.

Furthermore, success at the World Cup level is the result of thousands of training hours over years. Golberg believes in having a plan with every workout, and performing every session with dedication and purpose.

“The most important is to have a plan for every workout. Don’t just go out there to train. You need to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it,” Golberg says.

For him, these training goals vary from making sure he’s staying in specific training zones throughout the workout to more specific technique assignments.

“Sometimes it’s just sticking to a specific heart rate, other times I tell myself that for 10 minutes every hour, I will have 100 percent focus on technique,” he says.

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03.02.2016, Drammen, Norway (NOR): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Drammen (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) at the classic World Cup sprint in Drammen, Norway, on March 2, 2016. Photo: Nordic Focus

The secret to better technique
Leading up to this past season, which was one of his best Golberg put extra effort into skate technique.

“I worked a lot on skating in the fall, because I feel that this is an area where I still have a lot to gain. I feel that my skating is more efficient now, so the effort is paying off,” Golberg says, and happily shares his best training advice for those who want to improve their skating.

“Skating, just like classic skiing, is fundamentally all about balance and coordination. So doing a lot of no-pole skiing and working on gliding as long as you can on one ski fully committed with all of your body weight are good exercises for everyone, whether you are at the World Cup level or just getting into skiing,” Golberg says.

Favorite workout
Golberg has several workouts he likes a lot. In the winter, he loves long distance workouts in the mountains near his home in Gol.

“You can ski really far at Golsfjellet – all the way from Hemsedal to Nesbyen, which is a long ways. Maybe it’s because its home, and I don’t get to be home all that often, but I really think Golsfjellet is quite unique,” he says with passion.

Through the summer and fall, Golberg is fond of moosehoofing and bounding.

“Those moosehufing anf bounding workouts are really good for building capacity and technique at the same time. I put a lot of effort into this during the dryland season,” Golberg says.

Roller skiing in January
And Golberg’s final key to success? Roller skiing – even in the dead of winter!

“I try to do at least one roller ski workout on the treadmill every week, all winter long. My favorite strength session consists of 1-hour uphill double-poling on roller skis on the treadmill, followed by a general strength workout in the gym. The double-poling delivers specific endurance strength, while the weights and core strength works makes it a very well-rounded workout,” Golberg says.

So where does the golf come in? Before focusing 100 percent on skiing, Golberg used to be an active golf player. These days, he plays as often as he can. During the race season, that’s not very often, if at all, but in the summer he likes to get onto the green at least often enough to maintain his skills.

“I’m not sure if the skills are directly transferable to skiing, but golf does require a fair amount of coordination and technique as well,” he says.

“I also like to have something else to think about than just skiing and training, especially during times when things aren’t going as smoothly,” says Golberg, who has put his business degree on hold for a while.

Back on the Podium

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016
Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Madshus racers collected five podium finishes at the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival in Sandnes (NOR).

On Thursday July 28, Heidi Weng (NOR) pulled into second place in the brutal 7.5-kilometer uphill skate roller ski race Lysebotn Opp. In the men’s race, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen (NOR) was third. Both men and women raced the same distance.

In the men’s 15km skate mass start on Friday, July 29, Pål Golberg (NOR) was third, only a tenth of a second behind second place and less than a second from first place.

Finally, in the women’s biathlon sprint finals on Saturday July 30, Anaïs Bescond (FRA) was second and Marthe Olsbu (NOR) was third.

Complete results all events 

However, the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival opened on Wednesday July 27 with the inaugural Blink Classic roller ski marathon in Sandnes where Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) was just one second from the podium. The 62km classic roller ski race was the first event in a brand new international roller ski series. The next event in the 3-race series is Alliansloppet in Sweden August 19-21.

The 2016 edition of the annual summer roller ski festival in Sandnes event attracted over 1,200 skiers and biathletes from more than 20 nations to compete in a variety of roller ski events over the course of four days. Read more about the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival.

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