HomeTag Eldar Ronning

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This FasterSkier series will examine the growing challenge to the national team model by privately funded ski teams and independent sponsorship agreements. Will national teams be able to support themselves in the future, or will corporate teams take over cross country skiing? This first article in the series will look at Petter Northug’s record deal with Coop and the implications it has for the Norwegian National Team and the sport as a whole.

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Twenty-five days before the Olympics open in Sochi, Russia, Nikita Kriukov couldn’t have timed Sunday’s 6 x 1.6-kilometer team-classic sprint victory much better. The 28-year-old Russian’s execution was right up there as well. Meanwhile, Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell teamed up for one of the best U.S. men's team-sprint finishes in recent memory.

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Athletes hit a breaking point on Thursday before the last three stages of World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden, where they threatened not to race on courses they deemed too dangerous. In successfully pressuring FIS and the race organizers to make the requested changes to the trails, athletes hope they've drawn a firm line between what they will and will not compete on in the future.

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The typical plot line never materialized. Norway's Petter Northug was supposed to spend the first several laps back in 25th and then surge to the front for the victory in the final 100 meters at World Cup Finals in Sweden. Instead, Northug's teammate Eldar Rønning salvaged a tough season with a surprise 15-kilometer classic mass start victory, posting a time of 43:26 minutes on the 2015 World Championships course.