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July 29 Roundup: Blink Festival Begins Thursday; Northug Says He’s Out of Shape

 

  • The 2015 Blink Ski Festival begins Thursday with the Lysebotn Up, a 7.5 kilometer uphill rollerski race in Lysebotn, Norway. According to ski-nordique, the event has become the big summer event for cross-country skiers and biathletes, likely because many of the world’s best skiers attend the festival. Some examples are Petter Northug, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Finn Haagen Krogh, Calle Halfvarsson, and Alexander Legkov on the men’s side and Astrid Jacobsen, Heidi Weng, Kerttu Niskanen, Maiken Caspersen Falla, and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen on the women’s side. The Blink Festival serves as an interesting test of mid-summer fitness for many of the World Cup regulars. After the uphill race tomorrow, the festival moves to Sandnes, Norway, where it continues with 10 and 15 k mass starts before wrapping up with a sprint competition on Saturday.

 

  • Petter Northug briefly spoke with the press after a charity soccer match in Oslo, Norway. Coming off an altitude camp, during which he trained at low intensity, Northug still feels his fitness is not where it needs to be. When asked how his fitness compares to the same time last year, the Norweigan star simply replied, “it is bad.” Aside from his fitness, Northug also needs to sort out a deal with the Norwegian Ski Federation. Without a signed national contract, he will be unable to represent Norway during the upcoming season’s World Cups.

 

  • The FIS Rollerski World Cup continued last weekend in Madona, Latvia, with a three-day series consisting of a freestyle sprint on Friday, a classic prologue on Saturday, and a freestyle pursuit on Sunday. Sweden’s Linn Somskaer dominated the weekend of races, winning all three races on the women’s side. With such a dominant weekend, Somskaer took the overall Rollerski World Cup lead. On the men’s side, Italian Emanuele Becchis once again showed his sprinting prowess, winning his second sprint of this summer’s Rollerski World Cup. Robin Norum of Sweden won Saturday’s classic prologue, but was unable to hold on in the freestyle pursuit, in which Sergei Dolidovich of Belarus claimed the win. After the weekend’s events, Norum now stands atop the men’s overall Rollerski World Cup standing and Sweden is on top in the team standings. The FIS Rollerski World Cup continues Aug. 21 in Bad Peterstal, Germany.

July 25 Roundup: Johaug Surgery Successful; Kaspiarovich to Head Russian Biathlon Team

  As reported earlier this week, Norwegian cross-country ski standout Therese Johaug broke her left hand while training in Seiser Alm, Italy. On Tuesday, VG reported that Johaug’s surgery to insert three screws into her left hand was successful. Because of this, she will only have to take 10 days of altered training to rest her hand before returning to her normal training regimen. The two-time 2015 World Champion did not let her injured hand affect her training much before the surgery, as fellow Norwegian cross-country skier Petter Soleng Skinstad stated “she went like crazy at training sessions … after the fall.” Johaug plans to maintain this same attitude as she continues to deal with the injury.   According to skisport, the Russian Federation Ministry of Sports recently approved Alexander Kaspiarovich as the head coach of the Russian National Biathlon team. Kaspiarovich had previously been recommended for the position by the Russian…

July 21 Roundup: Dürr Avoids Criminal Charges; Fourcade Training in Norway

  According to the Washington Times, the criminal investigation into Johannes Dürr, 28, has been dropped. The former Austrian cross-country skier was kicked out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics for using the banned substance EPO. An important factor in the decision was that Dürr did not provide other athletes with the substance, which would have been illegal under Austria’s anti-fraud laws. Other factors were that it was Dürr’s first offense, that he confessed to the doping charges after the positive test, and that the damages were paid because Dürr reportedly returned money from sponsors. Dürr’s lifetime ban from the Austrian Ski Federation remains, though he has only a two-year ban from the International Ski Federation (FIS).   French biathlete Martin Fourcade has been training at the Norwegian Olympic Sports Center in Oslo, Norway, according to NRK. Although he is one of the Norwegian biathlete’s toughest competitors, Fourcade was able to stay and train at the center for…

July 17 Roundup: Potential 2022 Winter Olympic Hosts; Northug Heads to Altitude Camp

  According to FIS, the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is down to two cities, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China. Each city is bringing a unique vision for the Games; Almaty envisions an Olympics centered around sports and physical activity, infrastructure, and economic growth while Beijing proposes to use the games to more heavily integrate winter sports into peoples lives. This would ultimately aid in developing a market for winter sports in Northern China where 300 million reside. A decision between the two potential host cities will be made on July 31.   Norway’s Petter Northug will attend an altitude camp in Central Europe this July despite experiencing fatigue during the early stages of his summer training, reports Adressa. Northug initially planned to skip the camp, but now that he is feeling healthier, he has decided to attend. According to his coach, Stig Rune Kveen, Northug is fully focused on…

July 14 Roundup: Cologna and Powell Face Off; Tour de Ski Under the Lights

  The FIS Rollerski World Cup kicked off in Oroslavje, Croatia, this past weekend with three races from July 10–July 12. In the women’s 10-kilometer skate mass start on July 10, Sweden’s Marika Sudin won, Ksenia Konohova of Russia took second and another Swede, Linn Somskaer came in third in a closely contested finish. In the men’s 12.5 k skate, seven athletes came into the finish together where Norwegian Ragnar Bragvin Andresen outsprinted the pack for the win. Italy’s Emanuele Sbabo and Sergio Bonaldi rouded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Saturday brought a freestyle sprint competition where Kiara Claudi of Germany won the women’s division. She was followed by Friday’s winner, Sudin, in second and Valiantsina Kamiskaya of Belarus in third. On the men’s side, Italian Emanuele Becchis bested second- and third-place finishers Dmitriy Voronin of Russia and Norwegian Ludvig Søgnen Jensen. The competition wrapped up on Sunday with a 7 k uphill classic race. Friday’s…

July 10 Roundup: Svendsen on Track; Search for Norwegian Director Continues

The Norwegian Ski Federation has yet to find a replacement for its former nordic director, Åge Skinstad, according to Langrenn. Skinstads had been the director since 2006, but stepped down after the season so he could become the director of NHO Inland on Aug. 1. There is a final round of potential replacements for Skinstad that still need to be evaluated, including Guri Hetland, Trond Nystad and Knut Nystad. Norwegian biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen trained for 103 hours in June as part of his mission to be in the best shape of his life for the upcoming season, according to Madshus. He is especially focused on performing well at Biathlon World Championships on his home turf in Oslo from March 3–13th. Langrenn recently reported that, according to a report from TV-and-marketing company Infront, interest in nordic disciplines (skiing, biathlon, nordic combined, and ski jumping) were at an all-time high in Norway last year….

July 7 Roundup: Domracheva, Inge Braten Memorial, Fair Play Mecenate

Biathlete Darya Domracheva was recently diagnosed with mononucleosis, according to Langrenn.com. Although Belarusian says she’s already been through the worst of the illness, the three-time Olympic gold medalist will take it easy throughout the summer. She hopes to return to the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund this November. – According to FIS, Swedish World Cup stars Charlotte Kalla and Calle Halvarsson were victorious in the start competition at the Inge Braten Memorial in Sunne this past Saturday. The women’s competition consisted of 12 laps on a kilometer loop. Although several skiers exchanged the lead in the first laps, Kalla pulled away from the field to win the race. Lin Somskar was second and Stina Nilsson was third. In the men’s race, which was a 20 k mass start, Haflvarsson skied similarly to Kalla for the victory. Norway’s Sindre Bjørnestad Skar claimed second while Bill Impola of Sweden was third. – According to Langrenn.com, Bjørn Dæhlie…

July 2 Roundup: Kalla Ready for Tour, New FIS Sponsor, Controversy in Duluth

– Charlotte Kalla recently told NRK Sport that she was excited to start the 2016 Tour de Ski, especially with the exit of Norwegian Marit Bjørgen due to pregnancy. The Swede, who skipped the 2014 event and finished seventh in 2013, is looking to improve on her past performances but acknowledged that the competition would still be tough and that she would need to improve her sprinting. – Le Gruyère AOP will be a new main sponsor of the FIS Cross Country World Cup. Le Gruyère AOP, a cheese company from Switzerland, will partner with FIS for a least three years. ”Le Gruyère AOP is proud to be a main sponsor of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, reinforcing its engagement for winter sports. We are delighted to become part of the Cross-Country family. We will be thrilled to live the emotion of the World Cup and to let people of such…

June 16 Roundup: Game of Thrones Quiz, USSA Membership, Sufferfest

– If you’re reeling from the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones like we are, maybe this will take your mind off the horrific death(s) of your favorite character(s). Stratton Mountain School T2 skier Annie Pokorny recently created a “Which Game of Thrones Team Would You Ski For?” quiz, and we’re obsessed. Take the quiz here to see if you’re part of the wealthy Lanister squad or a fiery Targaryen. Just remember, winter is coming… – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is rolling out a new membership format for the 2015/2016 season that the organization says will make its sports more affordable and accessible. Some changes include short-term membership availability, $15 entry-level memberships, and family caps of $400. – USST’s Liz Stephen and Taylor Fletcher clocked the fastest raw times at the 2015 Sufferfest in Park City, Utah last week. The bike race, which features 3,000 feet of elevation…

Park City to Bid for 2017 Junior/U23 World Championships

This is a developing story… (USSA press release) PARK CITY, UT (June 2, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is making a formal bid for the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) 2017 FIS Nordic Junior World Championships and FIS U23 World Cross Country Championships. The event will be awarded to a host city during annual FIS Calendar Conference meetings, taking place June 3-8 in Varna, Bulgaria. The USSA is putting forward a joint bid with Utah’s Olympic venues including the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and Soldier Hollow in Midway. The event also has the support of the Utah Sports Commission. The venues in the Park City and Heber City area have supported development and Olympic level athletes for well over a decade. Utilized during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the Utah Olympic Park and the Soldier Hollow are consistently maintained and used for training and competitions…