sturlabakken

It ain’t over till it’s over

March 21, 2022

They say it ain’t over till it’s over, and for the Madshus racers that was true in a couple of different ways this weekend. Check out the late-season action.

Starting off with the Ski Classics long-distance series, Astrid Øyre Slind posted her second impressive victory in a row. The 33-year-old Norwegian fought tooth and nail to the finish line in Birkebeinerrennet, beating two-time Olympian Therese Johaug by a second in a thrilling sprint finish - and writing history in the process.

Øyre Slind became the first female to win the brutal 54-kilometer race from Rena to Lillehammer on double-pole skis, climbing two substantial mountains entirely without kick wax.

Two weeks ago, Øyre Slind won Vasaloppet in Sweden by a landslide. And there are still three races to go in the 2022 Ski Classics series.

Story continues below

astridslind

Photo by: Nordic Focus

Madshus biathletes wrapped up the 2022 IBU biathlon World Cup with three days of racing in Holmenkollen (NOR).

On a roll since the Olympics, both Sturla Holm Lægreid and Sivert Bakken fed off the massive home crowd support. They pulled off nearly half a dozen of podiums, including a maiden World Cup victory, and a crystal ball for the overall mass start season in three days.

On Friday, Lægreid started off the weekend with a victory in the sprint on Friday. German veteran Benedikt Doll hauled into fourth place, and rising star Sivert Bakken (NOR) rounds out the top 15 on the first day of the World Cup final.

On Saturday, Lægreid posted his second podium in two days. Despite missing once on the second prone shooting and twice on his last stop at the range, the 25-year-old was oh-so-close to another victory in the pursuit. Lightning fast on the course, Lægreid finished third. Bakken was seventh and Doll ninth.

On Sunday, Lægreid is second in the mass start, losing the sprint finish by half a second to Bakken in the final World Cup event of the season.

For Bakken, Sunday’s victory was his first ever at the World Cup level.

“That was crazy. It was such a hard fight with Sturla and I was so tired. But I thought I would beat him in a sprint, so when I was still right on his tails coming in to the last hill, I decided I just had to give it a try,” Bakken says after his victory.

The 23-year-old, who represents the Norwegian development team, also snagged the overall mass start World Cup.

Lægreid is certainly no sore loser. Lægreid wins the overall U25 World Cup and moves up to second place in the overall World Cup.

“I know that Sivert beats me if it comes down to a sprint finish. We both know that. He’s done it a hundred times before,” Lægreid says and continues:

“I am super content with my second place. I moved up to second place in the overall World Cup and I win the overall U25 World Cup, and I get to do it in Holmenkollen with my family in the stands. This was the first time ever they got to see me live in a World Cup, this was amazing.”

Additionally, Madshus veteran Anaïs Bescond (FRA) announced her retirement from World Cup-level racing during the World Cup final in Holmenkollen. After 13 years of racing on the IBU World Cup, the 33-year-old has 13 World Cup podiums, three Olympic medals, including one gold (2018), and eight World Championship medals on her resume.

sturla

Photo by: Nordic Focus

bakken

Photo by: Nordic Focus