Before the first stop on the IBU World Cup circuit continues in Östersund on Wednesday, we bring you a synopsis of last weekend's racing action and links to full reports.
Sadie Bjornsen was, in a way, trying to avoid the kind of seventh-place showing she broke out with last year in Kuusamo, Finland. Instead, she placed 17th on Sunday for a result she was pleased with, especially considering how much it hurt. Jessie Diggins was 39th and four more Americans were in the top 60.
Eirik Brandsdal repeated his Kuusamo feat from last year, winning the classic sprint there for the second-straight year. He led a Norwegian sweep of the men's top four, outlasting Northug in a double-pole showdown to the finish, and 21-year-old Sondre Turvoll Fossli placed third in his first World Cup final.
In the middle of the day under the lights in Finland, Marit Bjørgen opened the season with a result that likely only surprised herself. "I am grateful to win today,” she said. "It’s still a sprint." Two other Norwegians joined her in the final, as did Slovenia's Katja Visnar, American Ida Sargent, and Russia's Natalia Matveeva -- but not Justyna Kowalczyk.