BEITOSTOLEN, Norway (AP) _ Norwegian skiers dominated the opening World Cup cross-country races of the season with Odd Bjorn Hjelmeseth leading a home team sweep Saturday of the first seven places.

Hjelmeseth, third overall last season, covered the men's 15-kilometer classical-style race in 36 minutes, 54.1 seconds. Last season, Hjelmeseth also won the opening race, at Kiruna, Sweden.

Thomas Alsgaard (37:03.5) and Tore Bjonviken (37:06.0) were the other podium finishers.

Defending overall champion Bente Skari won the women's 10K, also held in the classical style, in 26:30.2. She finished 44.7 seconds ahead of Kaisa Varis of Finland. Italian Stefania Belmondo was third, 45.6 seconds behind.