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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 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

Ski Classics: Top racing for everyone

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

Ski Classics, the long-distance race series, represents a unique opportunity to race the same course as the elites, on the same day and compare efforts. But unlike the pros, most of us have to pick only one or a few of the marathons each year. Here is your guide to the 2018 Ski Classics marathon lineup.

La Sgambeda, Italy, December 2:
At 36 kilometers, La Sgambeda is the shortest of the Ski Classics event, in an amazing place and magnificent scenery, well worth a trip if you want to kick start your race season early. However, beware that the altitude makes the event quite challenging.

Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Austria, January 13:
Seefeld is one of Europe’s best cross-country destinations, and this event is organized on the famous Seefeld courses. A healthy amount of climbing makes this 60-kilometer race challenging. Bonus: Seefeld is easy to access both from Munich (GER) and Innsbruck (AUT).

Kaiser Maximillian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

Kaiser Maximillian Lauf in Seefeld (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

La Diagonela, Switzerland, January 20:
A spectacular event with amazing scenery in the valley of the famous Alpine destination St Moritz (SUI). Mostly easy terrain with some sustained climbs, which makes this 65-kilometer course medium hard overall.

Marcialonga, Italy, January 28:
One of the biggest classic events in the world and one for the bucket list! The 70-kilometer race Incredible atmosphere, well-run event on a great course with a legendary 3-kilometer monster climb to the finish in Cavaleze, in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Val di Fiemme has hosted several FIS World Championships and is home of the Italian Olympic cross-country hero Franco Nones, who in at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble (FRA) became the first non-Scandinavian and non-Russian skier to win an Olympic gold medal.

Marcialonga. Photo: Newspower.it

Marcialonga. Photo: Newspower.it

Toblach-Cortina, Italy, February 3:
Like the previous two Ski Classics events in Italy this season, Toblach-Cortina offers fantastic scenery. The 50-kilometer course is partly set on an old railroad track and features a healthy amount of elevation gain in the category “gradually climbing.”

Jizerska Padesatka, Czech Republic, February 18:
One of the original Ski Classics events, Jizerska Padesatka is a challenging event in the deep forest south east of Liberec in the Czech Republic. When the weather is good, racers are treated to magnificent views several places along the 50-kilometer course. But often it is not, and the race has earned the nickname “Hell of the north” adopted from the classic cycling event Paris-Roubaix: A challenging race that often takes place in challenging climatic conditions. But the trip from Prague to the race is a breeze.

The Czech marathon event Jizerska Padesatka 50km classic is set for Sunday, January 11, and is offering stellar conditions this season. Photo: Jizerska

The 50-kilometer marathon event Jizerska Padesatka takes place southeast of Liberec. Photo: Jizerska

Vasaloppet, Sweden, March 4:
Needs no further introduction: The original. Founded in 1923, Vasaloppet is the oldest, the biggest and the most prestigious of any classic cross-country race. Simply a tribute to skiing, celebrating the joy of skiing, right in the heart of Sweden. The Vasaloppet Winter Week attracts almost 70,000 skiers to the nine events: Kortvasan (30km), TjejVasan (30km, women only), Öppet Spår Sunday (90km), Öppet Spår Monday (90km), HalvVasan (45km), StafettVasan (5-leg relay, 90km total), NattVasan (90km skating, night race), UngdomsVasan (youth race 9km/19km), Blåbärsloppet (9km) and Barnens Vasalopp (children’s race) and of course, the original 90-kilometer Vasaloppet from Sälen to Mora.

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

In 2017, John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

Birkerbeinnerrennet, Norway, March 17:
The legendary Norwegian ski race was established in 1933, and features one of the toughest courses on the Ski Classics race schedule. The spectacular and exposed 54-kilometer course is mostly above tree line and traverses two mountains between the start in Rena and the finish in Lillehammer, at the Birkebeiner stadium built for the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Reistadløpet, Sweden, April 7:
If you love challenges and/or skiing uphill, you will love Reistadlöpet. The 50-kilometer race, which debuted on the Ski Classics schedule for the 2017 season, features a course mostly above tree line, offering amazing views. The event is very professionally run, and easy to access by the nearby airport at Bardufoss.

Ylläs-Levi, Finland, April 14:
This 67-kilometer classic race features the some of the most scenic Finnish ski areas close to the northern Swedish border. Nice course with a nice combination of tough climbs and long double-pole sections in gentle terrain.

Now, the biggest challenge is: which one(s) to pick?

Birkebeinerrennet is one of the worlds most famous cross-country events. Come feel the atmosphere along the course. Photo: Birken AS

Birkebeinerrennet is one of the worlds most famous cross-country events. Come feel the atmosphere along the course. Photo: Birken AS

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

 

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

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