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Posts Tagged ‘Anna Haag’

July 2 Roundup: Northug, Kalla win Bråten Memorial; Mignerey Talks Strategy as New FIS Race Director

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

— In front of 12,000 spectators in Sunne, Sweden, on Sunday night, Petter Northug (NOR) and Charlotte Kalla (SWE) won their respective competitions at the Inge Bråten Memorial rollerski race, a 1.5 k sprint through the town streets. Both victors said in their post-race interviews that they trained straight through the race, both having put in three additional hours on Sunday morning.

I have trained three and a half hours this morning in Lillehammer!” Northug said, “but I’m very happy with the race today.” 

Langrenn is calling the performance Northug’s “competitive comeback” following his break from racing due to illness in February.

Norway swept the men’s podium, with rollerski champion Ragnar Bragvin Andresen taking second and his teammate Tord Asle Gjerdalen third. Sweski reported that the Swedish favorites were eliminated before reaching the finals; Marcus Hellner was bumped in the quarterfinals, beaten by Anton Hedlund. Theodore Peterson went out in the semifinals and Emil Jönsson got dropped when he lost his pole tips. 

Kalla bested teammate Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE) and surprise 18-year-old skier Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) in the women’s race. Sandra Hansson and Anna Haag took fourth and fifth, respectively.

— Pierre Mignerey took over as the Cross Country Race Director at the International Ski Federation (FIS) this summer. Mignerey has been the head coach of the French ski team and most recently was the FIS Assistant Race Director. In an interview with Dauphi Nordique this June, which is well worth a read in its entirety, Mignerey discussed the coming season, the Tour de Ski, city sprints, health & safety for wax techs and his overall plans as director.

The future of city sprints is “not in danger,” Mignerey said, though the format is under review this coming winter. He also said the TdS will probably never make a stop in, say, France because it must go through Germany, where TV viewership is high, and “we can like it or not but today a high-level sport cannot live without television. Without substantial television coverage in Germany, Cross-Country skiing, like most winter sports, would get in great difficulties and even probably perish in short term.”

On the topic of TV as the bottom line, Mignerey added that one of the biggest concerns at FIS right now is the proportion of TV viewership claimed by Poland, which has largely been attributable to the success of Justyna Kowalczyk. FIS has already started to think about what might happen when Kowalczyk retires.

“You have to know that for three years, the biggest audience has been in Poland because of the brilliant results of Justyna Kowalczyk. If she stops competing, there will inevitably be a decline… Eight or nine of the most watched races of the last season were the ladies’ races, only because of the results of one athlete.”

— Johan Olsson (SWE) recently gave an interview with Land.se about working through injury, age (he’s 32) and balancing family life with a ski career. Olsson started off strong last winter with a win at the World Cup season opener in Sjusjoen, Norway, but for the remainder of his season was plagued by illness and injury. Before a recent team training camp in Majorca, Olsson had broken bones to contend with again, this time with a broken rib.

“At my age, it is not as fresh as when it was [at] 20-25,” Olsson said. “It’s just that we have a maze of injuries almost all the time. The trick is to train wisely and clear the damage from the road as soon as possible.”

On the importance of camps in his training, Olsson said they enable him to focus completely on skiing, unlike his home routine where caring for his young daughter makes significant demands on his time. But on the other hand, he continued, family life can be a healthy distraction for an athlete.

“It has given me tremendous joy,” Olsson said. “Both in private life but also the joy of skiing. First, there is no pressure of the demands on themselves in the same way anymore that I must do such and such… You might get a little narrow picture of what you’re doing [at a younger age].”

Read the rest of the (translated) interview here.

Nov. 28 Roundup: Northug and Bjoergen to skip Dusseldorf and Rogla; FIS began new live-GPS tracking

Monday, November 28th, 2011

— Marit Bjoergen and Petter Northug (NOR) are both planning on skipping the World Cups in Dusseldorf, Germany and Rogla, Slovenia. The current leaders of the World Cup are instead going to train at altitude in Davos, Switzerland for a 14-day camp to gear up for the Tour de Ski, which begins on December 29.

— The International Ski Federation (FIS) unveiled a new live-GPS tracking system on Saturday, modeled after a similar service available to Tour de France fans. Check the link above for details on how to use the follow selected World Cup athletes around course from your computer or mobile device.

— Marcus Hellner’s (SWE) season is not going as well as he’d hoped so far, and the Swede has begun a ‘contingency plan’ to put it back on track, according to Aftonbladet. Instead of going to the next World Cup, he’s considering changing his schedule for the next few weeks in order to prepare for the Tour de Ski. He’s returned home to Gallivare to put in extra training on snow, and may wait until longer than Monday to reconnect with the Swedish National Team in Davos.

—Marit Bjoergen’s (NOR) and Anna Haag’s (SWE) moms are apparently friends. In a word of advice to Haag’s mother, Bjoergen’s mother said that it took patience to start seeing Marit-like dominance on the World Cup.

Haag agreed. “These kinds of times, it is easy to forget that even Marit Bjoergen had tough years, she is still a couple years older,” she said. “I will continue with patience.”

Nov. 11 Roundup: It’s Go Time

Friday, November 11th, 2011

— The wait is over—with the sprint in Muonio, Finland already completed, racing season is officially here. Bruksvallarna, Sweden is also hosting FIS races this weekend, starting with the men’s 15 k skate on Saturday. It will be a stacked field. Joining the Canadian National Ski Team are the top Norwegians, Russians, French and Swedes. Petter Northug (NOR) and Marcus Hellner (SWE) headline a long start list. Today, the course was approved for the calculation of FIS points, so this will be the real deal.

The women’s 10 k skate is on Sunday. Top names include Charlotte Kalla and Anna Haag (SWE), with Marit Bjoergen and co. noticeably absent.

— Five Norwegian biathletes will be joining the cross-country field for the first World Cup on November 19 in Sjusjoen, Norway. The host country gets 10 additional start rights for each gender, so Emil Hegle Svendsen, Lars Berger, Ronny Hafsås, Tarjei Bø and Tora Berger are taking full advantage of the opportunity to race earlier than the first Biathlon World Cup (in Ostersund, Sweden on November 28).

“Now I am so tired of just practicing and eager to go skiing,” said Svendsen, a multiple World and Olympic Champion.

— Mathias Fredriksson (SWE) plans on retiring after this season, and wants to go out with a bang. Before each race he enters he will auction off equipment to raise money for UNICEF. Other skiers will also donate their gear to the cause throughout the winter. Bidding will take place online here.

“I wish that my last race of the career will also be the coolest one,” said Fredriksson.

Sept. 23 Roundup: Hellner injured a knee; Sochi raised record $1.2B for 2014

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

— Marcus Hellner (SWE) hyperextended his right knee last week and had to skip a training camp in Italy. After taking a few days off to let the swelling go down, he is up and running again, and the defending sprint World Champ doesn’t foresee the temporary setback affecting his upcoming season.

— Charlotte Kalla, Anna Haag, and several other members of the Swedish national team are competing in the Lidingöloppet this weekend, a series of races in Lidingö, Sweden. The women entered the relay on Friday (results not yet available) as a warm up for the rest of the weekend’s races, which includes a 30 k on Saturday. While not fielding a full relay team, Anders Sodergren and Emil Jönsson are also competing as individuals.

— Madshus is funding a new Norwegian race team this winter. Comprised of 40 top-tier athletes, the team setup is a unique manufacturer-supported team in that it has dedicated support staff specifically for the project. Thomas Alsgaard is among the list of mentors intended to guide and help the athletes achieve international success.

The project is as much about Madshus’ efforts to reposition its brand as it is about supporting Norway’s cross country and biathlon development, according to Per Wiik, the Global Marketing director for Madshus. Though the team is currently funded entirely by Madshus, Wiik said they are hoping to expand sponsorship down the road.

— Sochi 2014 has raised a record $1.2 billion for the upcoming Winter Olympics, surpassing the record set by Beijing in 2008 and London’s $1.1 billion sponsorship target. This is the first Winter Games in which every venue is being built from scratch. Hilton and Mariott are building brand new hotels by the mountain ski center specifically for the games.

September 6 Daily Roundup: The Ski Train is Back, and Northug Rides With Evans

Monday, September 6th, 2010

The Ski Train in Alaska has returned, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The train, which carries avid cross-country skiers to a wilderness area inaccessible by car, was cancelled last year due to budgetary concerns at the Alaska Railroad. While the Daily Roundup’s curator has never had the opportunity to experience the Ski Train, it sounds awesome: according to the story, “[s]ome party to tunes by the Alaska Blaskapelle Polka Band on the trip back to Anchorage in what some fans call a moveable polka mosh pit,” and another skier asserted that “[n]othing can compare to it anywhere for total awesomeness.” Tickets go up for grabs on October 1.

–The Norwegian national ski team had a chance to ride with world champion cyclist Cadel Evans.

–There’s plenty of summer biathlon action going on right now, with races in New York, Washington, and Alberta.

–Catharine Pendrel, the Canadian who just took fourth at the mountain biking World Championships in Quebec, says she wants to take up cross-country skiing.

–The Wood River Ability Program in Sun Valley, which helped Paralympic bronze medalist Andy Soule with his preparation for the Vancouver Games, has received a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Paralympics.

–XC-Ski.de has a great report from a 92 k rollerski race held on bike paths–check out the translation.

–FIS has a piece on the testing and exceptional physical aptitude of Swedish women Charlotte Kalla and Anna Haag.

Bjoergen and Northug Win WC Pursuit in Falun

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Bjoergen Leads Norwegian Sweep in Falun Pursuit, Randall 14th

Marit Bjoergen (NOR) took the ladies 10km Pursuit today in Falun, Sweden in a time of 31:58. Bjoergen was in 11th place after the 5km classic with a time of 17:04, but only 4 seconds off the pace set by Stefanie Boehler (GER) who finished the day in 25th place. Bjoergen, however, had the fastest freestyle leg on the day with a split of 14:31.

As one would expect the ladies remained together throughout the classic portion of the race, but once they switched to their skate skis only Kristin Stoermer Steira could match the pace being set by her Norwegian teammate. Bjoergen crossed the line just 2.5 seconds ahead of Steira with the next closest competitor being fellow Norwegian Therese Johaug 33.6 seconds behind Bjoergen.

Career Best Distance Race for Randall

Kikkan Randall (USA), whose previous best in a World Cup distance race was 18th in Kuusamo, Finland earlier this year, improved on that mark by crossing the line in 14th place. Her time of 32:50 was 52 seconds off the pace of the winner, but Randall was only 19 seconds out of third place. As you would expect the ladies Randall is battling with for a top twenty in a World Cup race have decent, but not great resumes. That, however, is not the case with those battling for a top ten. Today Randall went toe to toe with the best in the business. She beat Sweden’s Anna Haag by over four seconds and out toed Haag’s teammate Anna Olsson in a photo finish. Randall was only half a second behind Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and just six seconds behind Charlotte Kalla (SWE). Lastly, Randall crossed the line less then six seconds out of fifth place.

Obviously Randall has nothing else to prove this season, by all measures the last four months have proven that all of her hard work has been worth it. However, she keeps turning heads. At this point it is not a surprise when she battles for a podium position in a freestyle sprint, but until this season expectations were lower during classic sprints or distance races in either discipline – that is no longer the case. Her results in the classic sprint at the Olympics was beyond solid and today she proved that we can expect to see her name near the top in middle distance races in either technique.

The top Canadian skier was Daria Gaiazova in 43rd place in a time of 36:32, 4:34 off the pace set by Bjoergen.  Check back later for a full race report.

Complete Results

Northug Does it Again in 20km Pursuit, Babikov 13th

Like so many other times over the past few years Petter Northug (NOR) lurked in the pack throughout most of the race, saving energy and positioning himself for the final dash to the line. Northug won today’s 30km pursuit in a time of 1:00:03, 1.7 seconds ahead of Germany’s Tobias Angerer, who bettered Lukas Bauer (CZE) by 0.1 seconds. Unlike the ladies race, the top nine finishers were separated by only 4.9 seconds.

At 7.5km Northug was skiing in 14th place nearly 20 seconds off the pace being set by Sweden’s Anders Soedergren, who finished the day in 8th place, but by the 10km mark Northug and others had closed the gap down to under 5 seconds. By the 12.8km mark he even took a short pull at the front of the race only to soon settle back in near the back of the lead pack. With 2.2km to go Sweden’s Marcus Hellner controlled the front of the race with Northug in 8th place ten seconds behind. As we have come custom to watching it all came down to positioning over the final 500 meters with the final sprint rather predictable.

Canadians Still Strong

Ivan Babikov (CAN) kept his solid season going with a very respectable 13th place finish. Although it appears that Babikov may have worked too hard in the early kilometers; donning bib number 48 he worked himself up to 34th at the 2.5km mark, 20.4 seconds off the pace of Mats Larsson who started at the very front. By the 5km mark, Babikov had the lead, but by the 7.5km mark he was already 18 seconds off the front of the pack. Babikov would again work his way up to just 4.8 seconds off the lead at the 15km checkpoint only to again fall to 23.6 seconds off the pacing being set by Marcus Hellner (SWE) at the 17.8km mark. All in all it was a solid result for Babikov.

Babikov’s teammate Alex Harvey finished the day in 23rd position with fellow Canadian Devon Kershaw crossing the line in 38th place.

The US Men

Andy Newell (USA) skied a rather consistent race bettering his start bib by one to finish in 40th position, 1:59 off the pace set by Northug. Brian Gregg ended the day in 49th position, but was 4:42 behind the lead.

Check back later for a full race report.

Complete results.