Victory and podium in Birkebeinerrennet

Simen Sveen won the Birkebeiner skate race, his first since November. Photo: Inge Scheve

Simen Sveen (NOR) won the Birkebeiner skate race on Friday, while Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) was third in Birkebeinerrennet in Norway.

Sveen won the 54km Skøytebirken by more than 10 minutes. The ambitious 30-year-old has had a rough season following a crash at the end of the 10km skate race at the FIS season opener in November, and the victory on Friday was an important milestone.

“It is always fun to win ski races. But most importantly, I didn’t get a headache when I tried to push myself. Since the concussion at Beitostølen in November, I haven’t been able to do any intensity without getting a pounding headache. So this means that I am now finally ready to shift my focus from easy distance training to harder intensity workouts. With the national championships coming up in just a couple of weeks, this is perfect timing,” says Sveen, who missed his shot at a spot on the national team to the 2019 World Championships due to the accident.

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On Saturday, Astrid Øyre Slind was back on the Ski Classics podium with a strong third place in Birkebeinerrennet.

She is now fourth overall in the Ski Classics with two events remaining in the 2019 Ski Classics, and only 11 points from the overall podium. The next event is Reistadløpet on April 6,

However, Øyre Slind is among the top three in almost all of the Ski Classics bib competitions: she is in second place in the climbing jersey competition and in third place in the sprint bib competition. Earlier this winter she was second in the Alp Trophy cup, which consisted of the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf (AUT), La Diagonela (SUI), Marcialonga (ITA) and Toblach-Cortina (ITA). Øyre Slind is currently second in the Nordic Trophy cup, which consists of Vasaloppet, Birkebeinerrennet, Reistadløpet and Ylläs-Levi, which is the Ski Classics final on April 11.

Behind the scenes: Redline 2.0  

Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) was third in Birkebeinerrennet 2019. Photo: Inge Scheve