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Double podium at Vasaloppet

Astrid Øyre Slind after finishing Vasaloppet 2018, in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta
Astrid Øyre Slind after finishing Vasaloppet 2018, in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Astrid Øyre Slind finished Vasaloppet 2018 in 2nd place. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) and Stian Hoelgaard were second and third, respectively, at the tough 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora.

With cold, draggy snow after a long period of frigid temperatures and snow falling through most of the race, conditions were brutal for the more than 15,000 racers in the 94th edition of Vasaloppet.

For Slind, who is in her third season on the Ski Classics marathon series, this year’s second place is her second time on the podium at Vasaloppet and her second time in second place. In 2016, she was fifth. Slind, who chose to ski the race with kick wax, lead at times by more than half a minute. However, in Hökberg, with less than 20 kilometers to go, she was passed. Slind also took home four of the seven preems in the race.

In the men’s race, Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) earned his third consecutive Vasaloppet podium. He finished third, three seconds behind the winner. Jörgen Brink (SWE) was fourth, one second from the podium. The three-time Vasaloppet champion has been among the top four racers seven times. Brink beat fellow Madshus skier Øystein Pettersen (NOR), who was fifth but was given the same finishing time.

Madshus racers snagged five of the top seven spots in the men’s race and two of the top five spots in the women’s race, where Sara Lindborg (SWE) was fifth.

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd in Vasaloppet 2018. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Stian Hoelgaard was 3rd in Vasaloppet 2018. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Sweeping the long and the short

Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus
Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ida Sargent (USA) at the FIS cross-country World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Podium performances in the Ski Classics marathon, the FIS World Cup team sprint and the IBU biathlon World Cup relay.

In the Ski Classics long-distance series, Sara Lindborg (SWE) delivered a solid podium finish in Austria – her first for the season – with second place in the 60-kilometer Kaiser Maximilian Lauf.

The race, which was the third event in the 2018 Ski Classics marathon series, was also the first event in the new mini cup “Alp Trophy.” The Alp Trophy is a bonus to the top racer overall in the three Alpine races Maximilian Lauf in Austria, La Diagonela in Switzerland on January 20, and Marcialonga in Italy on January 28.

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Sara Lindborg (SWE) was 2nd in the Ski Classics Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

Sara Lindborg (SWE) was 2nd in the Ski Classics Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

At the IBU biathlon World Cup in Rupholding (GER), Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place again for the second week in a row. This was the last World Cup relay prior to the Olympics in South Korea, which take place February 9 to 25.

On Sunday, Ida Sargent (USA) helped USA to third place in the World Cup team sprint in Dresden (GER). This was her third World Cup podium, and her second third place in the team sprint event. Last year, she was third in the same event at the pre-Olympics in South Korea.

Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place in the IBU biathlon World Cup relay in Rupholding (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Anna Magnusson helped Sweden to third place in the IBU biathlon World Cup relay in Rupholding (GER). Photo: Nordic Focus

Solid Ski Classics Season

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

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

Stian Hoelgaard dominated the Youth Competition, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

Hoelgaard (NOR), who won the Youth Competition for the second year in a row, earned 1269 points – almost twice as many points as the next racer. This marks the second year in a row that Hoelgaard wins the Youth competition. He was also fourth in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition.

“I have had a great season, and I really liked skiing so many races. I made four podium finishes, and had amazing skis and was able to peak just at the right times,” Hoelgaard says. Now, the 26-year-old is hungry for more.

“I still haven’t won a Ski Classics event, so I’m already top motivated for the next season and I am looking forward to start the dryland training and the preparations for next winter, where I hope to nail my first victory.”

A season recap will be broadcasted on Monday, April 17, starting at 8:30am Central European Time. 52-minute broadcast will feature highlights from the 2016-17 Ski Classics season.
More information

Strong women
For the women, Madshus captured three of the top five 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.

Slind was also third in the brand new Nordic Trophy competition, which rewards the top three men and women over the last five events in the Ski Classics. All of these five events take place in the Nordic countries (Vasaloppet and Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, Birkebeinerrennet and Reistadløpet in Norway and the Ski Classics finale Ylläs-Levi in Finland).

Astrid Øyre Slind at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was fourth after fighting for the podium to the bitter end. Photo: Inge Scheve

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) at the Birkebeinerrennet, where she was 4th after fighting for the podium to the end. Photo: Inge Scheve

Dahl defends Vasaloppet title

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus
John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won the legendary 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora for the third time, defending his victory from last year.

In addition to winning Vasaloppet last year, Dahl also won the race in 2014, his first season as a marathon skier.

Despite injuring his back in preparation for the Vasaloppet on Thursday, Dahl fought his way to the front of the pack with 4 kilometers to the finish, and won the sprint finish by a tenth of a second and a few centimeters, clocking in at 3:57:18.1. On Thursday, the 35-year-old was in such pain that he wrote off the Vasaloppet this year.

“This is amazing, a miracle. Two days ago, I couldn’t ski at all, but I thought that I would try to start the race. My back got better in the race, but my arms were totally depleted at the finish. And given that I felt cooked already at the start, it feels like a miracle that I am standing here,” Dahl said at the finish line, his voice trembling.

“I was tired already after 30km and had to let go of the lead group. But I fought my way back, taking it step-by-step and hill-by-hill,” Dahl said to reporters after the race.

Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard was third, only 0.6 seconds behind Dahl. With 903 points in the overall Ski Classics youth competition, Hoelgaard now has a substantial lead to Oscar Persson, who is second with 394 points. Hoelgaard is also third in the overall Ski Classics champion competition only 12 points behind second place.

Among the women, Madshus marathon racers Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was second, and Sara Lindborg (SWE) was third. They finished in 4:21:21.3 and 4:28:47.6, respectively.

Top 3 men
1. John Kristian Dahl, Team United Bakeries. 3:57:18.1
2. Andreas Nygaard, Santander, 3:57:18.2
3. Stian Hoelgaard, Team Leaseplan, 3:57:18.7

Top 3 women
1. Britta Johansson, Norgren, Lager 157, 4:19:43.4
2. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team United Bakeries, 4:21:21-3
3. Sara Lindborg, Sernäke, 4:28:47.6

Sprint, distance and marathon podiums

29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE):
Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) in front of Ingvild Flugstad (NOR) at the FIS World Cup 15km classic mass start in Falun (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng and Ingvild F. Østberg were back on the podium at the FIS cross-country World Cup, while Johan Kjølstad and Sara Lindborg posted Ski Classics podiums at the Marcialonga.

Heidi Weng (NOR) opened the World Cup weekend in Falun (SWE) with third place in the skate sprint on Saturday.

“I had never competed in the sprint here in Falun before. So this was new for me, and I am happy with the result. It’s good as well for the Overall World Cup lead as Krista (Parmakoski) was just behind me today, so I have a few more points,” Weng said after her race on Saturday.

On Sunday, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was a fraction of a second away from victory in the 15km classic mass start in Falun.

“I felt really good today. I thought I could win. I didn’t ski the final climb well on the sprint course and Marit (Bjørgen) got a gap and I wasn’t able to close it. I wasn’t satisfied with yesterday’s sprint result, so it’s good to be back on the podium today,” Østberg said after her race.

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28.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) at the FIS World Cup sprint in Falun (SWE) on Saturday. Photo:  Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng in third place for the second day in a row, but had to dig deep for her second podium. I was so tired today. The others were getting a gap on the Morderbacken each lap, but I was able to come back to them on the downhill. I thought Stina might catch me, so I am very happy to make the podium today,” Weng said.

For Weng and Østberg, the Falun races this weekend was the last World Cup competitions for a while. Østberg joins the national team for an altitude camp in the Alps in preparation for the World Championships in Lahti (FIN) in the end of February, while Weng is preparing at her family’s cabin at Skeikampen (NOR).

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29.01.2017, Falun Sweden (SWE): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, mass women, Falun (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) at the FIS World Cup 15km Classic mass start on Sunday in Falun (SWE). Photo: NordicFocus

Also on Sunday, Johan Kjølstad was second at the Marcialonga, beating Morten Eide Pedersen on the finish line. Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) was fifth overall, and increased his major lead in the overall youth competition where he already had a gap of more than 200 points prior to the Marcialonga.

Sara Lindborg (SWE) was third in the women’s race, and is also third in the Ski Classics overall this season. Lindborg and fellow Madshus marathon racer Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) lead the women’s field for much of the race. Due to lack of snow, the 70-kilometer classic event was shortened to 57km this year.

Johan Kjølstad (left) was second in the Marcialonga. Photo: Team United Bakeries

Johan Kjølstad (left) was second in the Marcialonga. Photo: Team United Bakeries

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