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Aiming for a New Double

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve
John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the 2016 Norwegian Birkebeiner, less than two weeks after winning the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet in Sweden. Photo: Inge Scheve

Defending Birkebeiner champion John Kristian Dahl (NOR) will double-pole the classic race on Saturday.

Hoping to repeat his double victory from last year when he won both the 90km Vasaloppet and the 54km Birkebeinerrennet back to back, the 35-year-old will take on two mountains without kick wax.

“I’m dreaming of a repeat of last year’s double win, although I think it will be harder to pull off this time, given the back injuries I have battled this season,” says Dahl.

“After Vasaloppet on March 5, I’ve had to cut back and go easier than I planned due to the back injury. But you never know, cutting back might be the perfect move to release peak performance on race day,” he says.

Just days before the Vasaloppet a week and a half ago, Dahl was in such pain that he feared he had to skip the 90-kilometer race in Sweden. But on race morning, he decided to give the race a shot, and made his move only 4 kilometers from the finish, winning by a fraction of a second. Read more: Dahl Defends Vasaloppet Title

Redline Redefines the Race

 

Stian Hoelgaard, who has been on the podium consistently for years and currently leads the overall Ski Classics youth competition, has one ultimate career goal: to win Vasaloppet.

“Vasaloppet is the hairiest race on the schedule. It’s the biggest ski race in the world. It’s 90 kilometers and everyone starts on the same starting line. It’s special, and I want to win it,” says the 25-year-old, who is in his fifth marathon season.

Last year, Hoelgaard missed his goal by 0.5 seconds to Madshus teammate John Kristian Dahl.

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Stian Hoelgaard at Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on January 14. Photo: Madshus

Stian Hoelgaard at Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Austria on January 14. Photo: Madshus

At Madshus, we work hard to put every margin on your side. Our Redline products know no compromises. Our product developers save no effort, material or engineering to build the most advanced equipment on the market.

The Redline Propulsion is a classic double-pole ski developed with the best and most accomplished long-distance racers in the world over the past years: built specifically for double-poling: with a flex and camber style developed to facilitate fast acceleration in uphill and flat terrain, a brand new 3D geometry that improves the pressure distribution throughout the entire ski, optimized pressure distribution for high speed stability on long descents and a low tip that reduces the swing weight of the ski and preserves energy.

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Madshus Propulsion - Foto Stefano Zatta:Madshus 680x

Madshus Propulsion. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

The Redline skis and boots also continue to push the limits on the World Cup. On January 8, Heidi Weng parked her competitors on her way up the monster hill on the final stage of the 2017 Tour de Ski. She won the overall tour and had the fastest time for the brutal stage.

“This is a huge victory for me, and winning the Tour de Ski is the hardest thing I have done. But it seems like the monster hill was I wanted to sprint from the bottom of the hill,” Heidi Weng said after her impressive performance up the alpine run in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

08.01.2017, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA): Heidi Weng (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb women, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Heidi Weng (NOR) won the 2017 Tour de Ski. She parked her competitors and had the fastest time up the final climb on Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Photo: Nordic Focus

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.

Ready to Race

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) will compete in the mass start on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) will compete in the mass start on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) is ready for the World Cup season opener in Östersund (SWE). Photo: Nordic Focus

The weekend marks the opening of the World Cup season for Nordic and biathlon, as well as the kick-off for the 2017 Ski Classics long-distance series.

It will be a busy season for both fans and racers, so mark your calendar for the season highlights.

The IBU biathlon World Cup opens in Östersund (SWE) on November 27 with the mixed team relay in the afternoon and the single mixed relay in the evening. The World Cup opener continues with the women’s 15km normal on November 30, the men’s 20km normal on December 1, sprints for men and women on December 3 and concludes with pursuit races for men and women on December 4.

The IBU World Cup season consists of nine World Cup rounds:
Nov 25-Dec 4: Österssund (SWE)
Dec 6-11: Pokljuka (SLO)
Dec 13-18: Nove Mesto (CZE)
Jan 2-8: Oberhof (GER)
Jan 10-15: Rupholding (GER)
Jan 17-22: Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
Feb 27-March 5: Hochfilzen (AUT)
March 7-12: Pyeongchang (KOR)
March 14-19: Oslo (NOR)

The 2017 FIS Nordic World Cup opens in Ruka (FIN) with races for both cross-country and Nordic combined on November 26-27. For cross-country, the World Cup opens with classic sprint races on Saturday, followed by 10/15-kilometer skate races on Sunday. The Nordic Combined racers open their season with Gundersen Large Hill 142m and 10-kilometer cross-country on both Saturday and Sunday.

Then the cross-country World Cup continues with 12 rounds including Tour de Ski and two mini tours throughout the winter:
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

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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 (NOR) won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen last weekend, and is excited to get started with the 2016-17 FIS World Cup. Photo: Geir Olsen

For Nordic Combined, there are 12 World Cup rounds this season:
Nov 26-27: Ruka (FIN)
Dec 2-4: Lillehammer (NOR)
Dec 17-18: Ramsau (AUT)
Jan 7-8: Lahti (FIN)
Jan 13-15: Val di Fiemme (ITA)
Jan 21-22: Chaux-Neuve (FRA)
Jan 27-29: Seefeld (AUT)
Feb 4-5: PyeongChang (KOR)
Feb 10-11: Sapporo (JAP)
March 11: Oslo (NOR)
March 15: Trondheim (NOR)
March 18-19: Schonach (GER)

Two World Championships
Additionally, the IBU World Championships take place in Hochfilzen (AUT) from February 8-19, and the FIS Nordic World Championships take place in Lahti (FIN) from February 21-March 5.

5-month marathon party
Also, the Ski Classics long-distance race series opens on November 27 with a team prologue in Pontresina, Switzerland, and continues through mid-April with the final taking place in Levi, Finland. For the 2017 season, there are 28 professional teams and almost 200 racers in the pro category.

For the first time, the race series ventures outside Europe, featuring the Vasaloppet China on January 4 as a part of the 2017 race schedule.

Read more about the 2017 Ski Classics season

The 2017 Ski Classics Schedule
Event 1: 27th November, Prologue Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 3rd December, La Sgambeda Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 4th January, Changchun Vasaloppet China 50km
Event 4: 14th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 5: 21st January, La Diagonela St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 6: 29th January, Marcialonga Trentino Italy 70km
Event 7: 11th February, Toblach-Cortina Italy 50km
Event 8: 19th February, Jizerska Padesatka Czech Republic 50km
Event 9: 5th March, Vasaloppet Sweden 90km
Event 10: 18th March, Birkebeinerrennet Norway 54km
Event 11: 26th March, Årefjällsloppet Sweden 65 km
Event 12: 1st April, Reistadløpet Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 13: 8th April, Ylläs-Levi Finland 55km

Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

New final to Ski Classics

Ylläs-Levi 60km premiers on April 8, 2017, and will be the final event in the 2016-17 Ski Classics. Photo: www.yllaslevi.com
Ylläs-Levi 60km premiers on April 8, 2017, and will be the final event in the 2016-17 Ski Classics. Photo: www.yllaslevi.com

Ylläs-Levi 60km premiers on April 8, 2017, and will be the final event in the 2016-17 Ski Classics. Photo: www.yllaslevi.com

The long-distance series ends in Finland for the next three years.

The all-new 60-kilometer classic event Ylläs-Levi premiers on April 8, 2017, and will be the Ski Classics final through 2019.

The Ski Classics is unique in that the race series offers regular recreational skiers and citizen racers an opportunity to start on the same starting line and race the same course on the same day as the elite, such as Madshus marathon team racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) who won both Vasaloppet and the Birkebeiner back to back – and compare their efforts with best in the world.

The Ylläs-Levi ski event has been around for several years as an unofficial gathering of skiers, but it was made official only last year when a small group of cross-country ski enthusiasts decided to organize a race between Finland’s two most renowned ski resorts.

The start is in the middle of Ylläs Ski Resort by the downhill slopes and ski through scenic landscapes over fells and through Lapland’s wilderness where local reindeer herds can easily be spotted. The race finish is in the center of the idyllic winter wonderland village Levi.

The Ylläs-Levi race in Finland is one of three new events on the 2016-17 Ski Classics schedule. Additionally, the 50km Vasaloppet China on January 4 is on the schedule for the first time this year, as well as the 50km Reistadløpet in Norway on April 1.

Ski Classics VII (2016/2017):
Event 1: 27th November, Prologue Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 3rd December, La Sgambeda Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 4th January, Changchun Vasaloppet China 50km
Event 4: 14th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 5: 21st January, La Diagonela St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 6: 29th January, Marcialonga Trentino Italy 70km
Event 7: 11th February, Toblach-Cortina Italy 50km
Event 8: 19th February, Jizerska Padesatka Czech Republic 50km
Event 9: 5th March, Vasaloppet Sweden 90km
Event 10: 18th March, Birkebeinerrennet Norway 54km
Event 11: 26th March, Årefjällsloppet Sweden 65 km
Event 12: 1st April, Reistadløpet Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 13: 8th April, Ylläs-Levi Finland 60km

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve

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