A freestyle sprint through the downtown streets of Sandnes, Norway, on Saturday wrapped up the three-day Blink rollerski festival, a selective event for both cross country skiers and biathletes.
A tenth of a second separated Norwegian Barbro Kvåle from Ida Ingemarsdotter of Sweden, giving Kvåle her first win of the week after placing 14th in Thursday’s hill climb and fourth in the 10-kilometer mass start on Friday.
“I know that I have good top speed,” Kvåle told NRK, according to a translation. “Now I’m approaching the best.”
Sondre Turvoll Fossli pulled away from fellow Norwegian Øystein Pettersen to win the men’s cross country sprint, avenging Pettersen’s 1.1-second win in Friday’s 15-kilometer mass start.
“In the winter it is valid, but it’s fun to win with so many people here and a good atmosphere,” Fossli told Langrenn.
On the biathlon side, misses in the standing portion cost Norway’s Hilde Fenne the lead and ultimately the win, which Norwegian Ann Kristin Flatland claimed.
The Boe brothers from Norway went 1-2 in the men’s race, with Johannes winning the final that included International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup champion Martin Fourcade of France.
The biathletes and cross country skiers united for Thursday’s hill climb. First to the top were Switzerland’s Curdin Perl and Kaisa Mäkäräinen of Finland. Mäkäräinen also won the women’s biathlon mass start.
“It is great to win,” Perl told Langrenn. “In the years before I was number 4, 3 and 2.”
Carl Johan Bergman of Sweden won the men’s biathlon mass start and Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla took the women’s cross-country mass start. Led by Falla, Norway placed five women in the top six.
“I had never won here,” Falla told Langrenn. “This was cool.”
The event included children’s activities, entertainment and a free brunch for the entire city. Blink attracts about 50,000 spectators annually. A record crowd of 5,000 lined the Lysebotn hill climb.
Steven McCarthy discovered a passion for sportswriting in the classrooms of the University of Maine school of journalism. He earned his Bachelor's degree in 2010, while complementing his studies covering two years of UMaine sports and summer college baseball on Cape Cod. He resides in southern Maine and works in a private school for kids with autism. In his spare time he's training for his next marathon (running or skiing) or coaching at a local high school.