Madshus biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen opened the summer ski festival in Sandnes, Norway, with winning the biathlon mass start event Friday night. Svendsen beat Lowell Bailey (USA) by 0.7 seconds, while Tarjei Boe (NOR) was third.
Among the women, Madshus biathlete Fanny Welle Strand Horn won the mass start, leaving no doubt and almost 10 seconds down to Kaisa Makarainen (FIN) in second place. Marine Boillet (FRA) was third. Furthermore, the young and promising Madshus biathlete Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the biathlon super duel on Friday night.
The cross-country skiers were also back in business, and Madshus racer Kristin Stoermer Steira opened the uphill race Lysebotn Opp with a second place finish, behind Liz Stephen (USA) and in front of Kaisa Makarainen (FIN) in third. In the women’s 10K mass start on Saturday, Madshus racer Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) posted a strong third place, where only 1.2 seconds separated first from third place.
Winter starts now
The World Cup racers are well on their way with the 2014-15 season, and with months since the last World Cup event, the annual Blink Festival in Sandnes, Norway, is both a popular race series as well as an opportunity to compare fitness and training progress with many of the top World Cup competitors.
The Blink Festival consists of a series of competitions over three days, starting with the uphill roller ski race Lysebotn Opp Thursday. On Friday, there are several biathlon events as well as mass starts for the cross-country skiers, and Saturday concludes with sprint races for the cross-country racers and mass start events for the biathletes. Juniors and citizen racers are also invited to participate in some of the events, including the uphill roller ski race.