Back to the Norwegian bastion - Lillehammer up next!
After an impressive show of Norwegian strength at the Nordic Opening in Kuusamo, there can hardly be a more interesting place the Nordic Combined World Cup could go to on this upcoming weekend than Lillehammer. The traditional venue of the famed 1994 Olympics will wait with two Individual Gundersen competitions, a new cross-country venue and a brand-new concept.
With the return to the old Olympic Birkebeineren ski stadium, all competition sites are now easily accessible from downtown Lillehammer and with the addition of the Cross-country World Cup at the same weekend, the Organisers are promising a folk festival, boosting the dwindling numbers of spectators during the busy Christmas time.
Just the perfect backdrop for the Norwegian team to try and continue with their tour de force in front of the home crowd: after always having won at least one race in Lillehammer in the past three years, the pressure definitely is on for local hero Mikko Kokslien and his teammates Joergen Graabak, Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Krog and World Cup returnee Magnus Moan.
But the competition is strong: World Champion and overall World Cup winner Eric Frenzel is also strong as ever, winning the individual competition in Kuusamo in his classic calm and confident style of the last season. Jason Lamy Chappuis is known to be quite low-key and then pounce mercilessly in the best moment and the Austrian team which hasn't presented itself in shining shape last weekend will have an agenda to change that as fast as possible.
So, the goals are set, the stakes are high and it's safe to say there will be one more exciting, nail-biting, perfect Nordic Combined weekend coming up!