For Team Madshus the World Cup opener proves to be business as usual, picking up where they left in March.
Sturla Holm Lægreid (NOR) skis like a bullet, shoots clean at the range and goes straight for the podium in the 20-kilometer normal competition at the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund on Saturday.
Additionally on Saturday, Sivert Bakken (NOR), who won the national season opener in Norway two weeks ago, pulls off an impressive sixth place in the World Cup opener.
“Yes, that’s me at the on the far right. First World Cup flowers,” Bakken posts to his Instagram account after the 20-kilometer normal competition.
The 23-year-old followed suit on Sunday, and pulled off a solid eighth place in the 10-kilometer sprint after nailing every target both prone and standing.
The Östersund season opener was only his second World Cup: Bakken raced his first World Cup in Oberhof (GER) last season – in an empty stadium at the peak of the Covid pandemic.
Also, Roman Rees (GER) had a solid race on Saturday. Shooting clean the first and second time at the range and missing only once the third time, he was long in contention for the podium. But despite missing two targets the last time, Rees skied liked a bullet throughout the race and ended up 14th.
The IBU World Cup continues in Östersund (SWE) with sprint, pursuit and relay races for men and women December 2 to 5.
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At the 3-day FIS cross-country World Cup opener in in Ruka (FIN), US National team rookie Ben Ogden shows off speed and potential finishing eighth in the sprint qualifier on Friday. The 21-year-old followed up with a 13th place overall in the sprint.
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On Saturday, World Cup veteran Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) pulled into a strong fifth place in the 10-kilometer classic race, setting herself up nicely for the pursuit on home turf Sunday afternoon. While several skiers chose to skip the pursuit, Pärmäkoski braved the frigid temperatures and pulled into fourth place, half a second from the podium. She now sits in third place overall after the World Cup opener.
The FIS World Cup now moves on to Lillehammer (NOR) featuring sprint, 10/15km skate and relays on December 3 to 5.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.