The past weekend, the World Cup athletes were comparing their current shapes in several FIS races in the North of Europe. In Beitostoelen (NOR), the national opening for the Norwegian Cross-Country skiers and biathletes took place with the added participation of several other nations like France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and USA. Impressive there were the performances of Marit Bjoergen (NOR) who claimed victory in the free and classical technique distance races.
A positive surprise was the 4th place of the sprinter Kikkan Randall in the 5 km classic race. "That has to be one of Kikkan's best longer distance races ever and it really bodes well for the upcoming season and reflects well on the training she's done this summer," said US Cross-Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg.
The Swedish athletes were competing in Bruksvallarna together with some Polish and Canadian athletes in a sprint and in a free technique distance race. It seems that Charlotte Kalla, who won the free technique race, is back in shape as well as Devon Kershaw who showed his strength against the Swedish top athletes.
In Muonio, in northern Finland, several World Cup athletes from Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Finland met each other at the traditional pre-World Cup season FIS races. Impressive in these races were the strong performances of the Russian junior world champion Petr Sedov. He was racing the U20 category and won both distance races but with his time in the free technique race he would have finished third in the men's open category too.
Below a summary of the winners from the FIS races in Beitostoelen, Bruksvallarna and Muonio:
Sprint classical technique: Petra Majdic (SLO) & John Kristian Dahl (NOR)
Distance race in free technique 10/15 km: Marit Bjoergen (NOR) & Petter Northug (NOR)
Distance race in classical technique 5/10 km: Marit Bjoergen (NOR) & Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
Sprint race in classical technique : Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) & Emil Joensson (SWE)
Distance race in free technique 10/15 km: Charlotte Kalla (SWE) & Devon Kershaw (CAN)
Sprint classical technique: Alena Prochazkova (SVK) & Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
Distance race in free technique 10/15 km: Natalia Korosteleva (RUS) & Sergey Shiriaev (RUS)
Distance race in classical technique 10/15 km: Irina Khazov (RUS) & Sami Jauhojaervi (FIN)