Crushing the Competition


Emil Hegle Svendsen delivered both at the range and on the course, anchoring Norway to victory in the biathlon WC relay in Rupholding (GER). Photo: Screenshot


On Thursday, Emil Super-Svendsen served up a smoking anchor performance in the men’s 4×7.5km biathlon relay. Then Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg dominated the World Cup sprints from start to finish on Saturday and helped Norway to 2nd place in the team sprint on Sunday.


In Saturday’s individual sprint in Tallin, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) won everything from start to finish. She had the fastest qualifying time and won every heat she was in, including the final.


“I had incredible skis. Prior to the final, I was unsure whether to grab the klister skis or my Zeros, but I opted for klister and gained a few meters on the last hill into the stadium,” Oestberg said to TV2 after the race.


Oestberg’s World Cup victory on Saturday was the second in her career. The first was in Davos, Switzerland, in December.


“This was every bit as fun as the first time. To earn my second World Cup victory for the season feels just unreal,” Oestberg said.


The individual sprint at the World Championships in Falun, Sweden, in February are also in classic technique, so Saturday’s competition was an important test run for the World Cup racers.


In the team sprint on Sunday, Oestberg powered Norway to an impressive second place in a three-way sprint with Sweden and Poland.


“We felt good, and tried to get a big gap. Unfortunately the plan did not work as we had hoped, but the second place is good,” she said with a smile.  The next FIS World Cup races take place in Rybinsk, Russia, featuring 10/15km skate, sprints and skiathlon races on January 23-25.

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Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) earned her second individual World Cup victory this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus


And on the Ski Classics long-distance cup, Karma goes a long way – read more about the drama in Switzerland where Madshus marathon team racer Oeystein Pettersen won the sprint finish but donated half of the prize money to 84th place racer.

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Oeystein Pettersen (NOR) won La Diagonela in Switzerland, his first Ski Classics victory, in a sprint finish after 43km. Photo: Ski Classics


On the Biathlon World Cup circuit there was plenty of action in Rupholding, Germany. On Thursday, Norway’s team, consisting of three Madshus racers including Emil Hegle Svendsen on the anchor leg, delivered an impressive victory in the 4 x 7.5km relay.


For the entire last kilometer of the race, Svendsen was right on the tails of Simon Schempp (GER). Then, on the final 200 meters, Svendsen accelerated, passed Schempp and could cross the finish line with his hands above his head. A calculated and perfectly executed plan.


“I went balls to the wall from the last shooting, and latched on to his tails. I needed to regain some energy, and I know I am efficient in the turns, so I tried to float on my technique. That was the plan, and it seemed to work quite well,” Svendsen said to Norwegian TV station NRK after the race.


“It feels great to be on top again. This was a tasty victory,” he added.


Madshus teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen raced the first leg for Norway, and Erland Bjoentegaard skied the second leg.


Additionally, Russia’s relay team with Timofey Lapshin on the second leg secured a second Madshus podium finish in the race. The biathlon World Cup moves to Anterselva, Italy, January 22-25.


Emil Hegle Svendsen was untouchable on the anchor leg in the 4×7.5km biathlon relay in Rupholding (GER) on Thursday. Photo: Nordic Focus