Tag Archive | "Oberhof"

Tour de Ski Countdown – 11 Days To Go

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


December 18, 2012 – Justyna Kowalczyk who is a top favorite for the Tour de Ski overall victory has confirmed her participation in the tour-opener on December 29, 2012 in Oberhof. The Polish skier won last year’s Tour de Ski and finished second in the overall World Cup. Kowalczyk won the prologue in Oberhof 2011 before Marit Bjoergen of Norway.

In addition to the Polish national team, teams from Italy, Belarus, Russia and Romania have reported the names of their skiers. The Italian men should have some opportunities to get one of their starters to the top ten in the overall standings. The best Italian in the Tour de Ski last year was Giorgio di Centa 15th position.

Also, expected to be on or near the podium will be one of the strong Russian men with Alexander Legkov (5th), Maxim Vylegzhanin (8th place) and Ilia Chernousov (10th), three men in the top ten in the 2011/2012 Tour . The Russian women are also likely to have in their best skier Julia Ivanova. They finished second in the final statement of the Tour de Ski 2011/2012 13 team rank.

After the heavy snowfalls, a recent thaw took away some of the snow base. According to course Chief Christopher Gellert, there is enough snow remaining for the event to be held without concern. The race track currently has 40 centimeters of snow as a base. The Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski will be in Oberhof: 29.12.-30.12.2012.

FIS News – YOG 2016, Falun Mascot Contest, Fiemme Ski Exhibition, FIS Council, Ski Jumping in Romania

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


November 07, 2012 – Here is the latest news from FIS, including an update on the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, announcement of a mascot contest for the Falun 2015 World Championships, a skiing history exhibition in Val di Fiemme, decisions from the recent FIS Council Meeting in Oberhofen, Switzerland, and a progress update about ski jumping in Romania.

Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games off to a flying start

The first visit of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination for the second Winter Youth Olympic Games wrapped up on 26th October 2012 in Lillehammer (NOR).

Chaired by IOC member Angela Ruggiero, the Commission was impressed with the early progress made by the Lillehammer Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee since the city won the bid in December 2011 and the strong government and National Olympic Committee support pledged from the outset.

The shared vision of the three parties aims to engage as many young people as possible locally and abroad in the Games. It will also act as a catalyst for change in the development of youth sport nationwide before, during and long after the Games conclude.

During the meeting, the Coordination Commission visited all the venues that will be used to host the seven sports that currently make up the YOG Programme.

The majority of these venues were built for the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, thereby extending the legacies of those Games. One of the few venues to be built from scratch for the 2016 YOG will be the Youth Olympic Village, which will house the athletes and be the site of all the Culture and Education Programme activities.

Commission chair Ruggerio concluded: “We have full belief in Lillehammer to not only deliver a successful Games, but also leave a legacy for youth sport development long after the Games have terminated.”

Falun 2015 has launched mascot competition

How should the official mascot of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun look like? The Swedish Organisers have recently rolled out a mascot competition inviting people from all age groups to design the official Falun 2015 mascot.

“The purpose of the mascot competition, apart from creating a buzz about the Championships, is to gather ideas from the general public to be able to create a popular symbol for Falun and the World Championships. The mascot has to work in a wide variety of settings – from printed materials to films and the homepage as well as cheerleading the crowds in the stadium”, said Kent Lövgren, Marketing Director of the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun.

Anybody who is interested can enter his/her very best ideas by uploading a photograph or scan including a mascot name to www.beyondskiing2015.com/maskot. The competition will remain open until 15th December 2012.

During the autumn, the general public will be able to vote for the best of the approved proposals shown on the homepage. After that, a jury will be taking on the job of selecting the final mascot. The new mascot will then be introduced during the summer and autumn of 2013 and in 2014, in conjunction with the World Cup competitions that will also serve as World Championship test events.

It’s all about Skiing – “Ski History” exhibition officially opened in Val di Fiemme

In conjunction with the Forum Nordicum held in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on 16th October 2012, a “Ski Past” exhibition has officially been inaugurated in the presence of 100 participants at Le Gallerie space in Trento.

During the opening ceremony FIS President Gian Franco Kasper underlined the significance of “keeping memories alive and strong”.

Mountain equipment, historical objects and various items related to sport and winter activities such as boots, skis, poles and clothing are telling the story that has characterized the region of Trento over the past century. High-tech video installations, pictures, medals and trophies as well as a detailed time-line from the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 in Chamonix (FRA) until the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme (ITA) are fully covering the exhibition space.

Decisions from the FIS Council Meeting in Oberhofen

The FIS Council traditionally held its Autumn Meeting at the FIS Office in Oberhofen (SUI) on Saturday 3rd November and dealt with a full agenda, including reports from Organising Committees for future FIS World Championships, the appointment of technical officials as well as proposals from the FIS Technical Committees with calendar updates and a number of rules.

Click HERE to see the main decisions of the FIS Council.

Final inspections before the season – Romania reaches a milestone in Ski Jumping

Among numerous inspections carried out before the season in the different FIS Olympic disciplines, FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer recently met with representatives of the Romanian Ski Association. The visit focusing on the new jumping hills was held in conjunction with the Romanian International Championships on 27th-28th October 2012 in Rasnov.

“Staging an international Ski Jumping competition in Romania might sound rather unusual and it actually is. But already a view on the facility Trambulină Valea Cărbunării in Rasnov has shown, that something was built here that is not mysterious, but the result of years of professional planning”, reported Walter Hofer.

On 19th-20th January 2013, four FIS Cup competitions (2 ladies, 2 men’s) will be held on the new HS 100 hill. The facility originally consisted of three jumping hills for children and young athletes and was completed by two more hills K64 (HS 71) and K 90 (HS 100) in October 2012.

Upon his return, FIS Ski Jumping Race Director Walter Hofer concluded on the positive trends: “Six years ago we did some sort of an appraisal and saw a precarious situation. Just like in some other countries as well, the only possibility for a young Romanian athlete to train was to travel abroad. Since then an amazing development took place at an accelerated pace. In the open national championships (including Bulgaria and Hungary) at the end of October, the fruit of this labour could be seen and Romania is now on its way to establish itself on the international field. One athlete (Dana Haralambie) could even already achieve the personal qualification standard for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”

As a result of a cooperation between the Austrian industrial company OMV and the Romanian Ski Association started in 2007, the construction of the first Ski Jumping centre in Romania and South-Eastern Europe could be launched in 2009 in the city of Rasnov. With the sponsorship of OMV, project leader and Ski Jumping expert Paul Ganzenhuber and former ski jumper Christian Moser (both AUT) have been the driving forces in this development. The goal of the project “OMV Move & Jump” was to give Romanian ski jumpers the chance to score among the top ten of the world within the next ten years.

Germany’s Neuner and Birnbacher Take IBU Mass Start Races – USA’s Baily 16th

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


January 11, 2012 (Oberhof, Germany) – In tough conditions with snow falling, Germany’s Magdalena Neuner won her second victory of the weekend taking the women’s 12.5km Mass Start with a winning time of 40:02 despite three shooting penalties. Norway’s Tora Berger was only 12.5 seconds back in second with two penalties while Neuner’s teammate, Andrea Henkel had only one shooting penalty to claim 3rd at 32 seconds back. No North American women qualified for the event.

The skiing was very challenging as the heavy snowfall created taxing ski conditions and difficult shooting. None of the top racers shot clean. With 2.5km to go, Neuner took the lead with her strong skiing and didn’t look back taking her second win of the weekend.

“It was a great race and a lot of fun since it is my last time here. I am in very good shape and I had very good skis, so I am very happy with my race,” Neuner told Biathlonworld post-race. “The penalties did not faze me I was always close to the lead and felt all day like I had enough power to handle Tora and Andrea. I was very relaxed all day.”

The snow subsided shortly after the men’s 15km Mass Start race began and it was Germany again as Andi Birnbacher was unstoppable shooting clean on his way to victory with a finishing time of 38:34. In second was Simon Fourcade of France at 24.3 seconds back with only one shooting penalty, followed by Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) in third with three penalties at 29.6 seconds back.

With better conditions a total of 19 men shot clean on the first round of prone shooting including Lowell Bailey of the USA, the lone North American in the field. Nine men shot clean on the second prone round and after the first standing session Birnbacher was one second behind the race leader Klemen Bauer (SLO).

Birnbacher shot clean in the final round while Bauer cracked missing three shots and was out of contention. Bailey missed two rounds in his first standing session, the only shots he missed on the day to finish 16th overall.

“I was pretty tired after the travel and competition in Schalke,” said Birnbacher, “I was still tired in the sprint so it was amazing that I did so well today. Having the wins is good for my confidence, but puts no pressure on me.”

Women’s results HERE.
Men’s results HERE.

Russia and Italy Top the Podiums at Oberhof 4×6/7.5km IBU WCup Relays – US Men 11th

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


January 06, 2012 (Oberhof, Germany) – The Russian and Italian teams won gold in the women’s 4x6km and men’s 4×7.5km relay, respectively, at IBU World Cup #4 in Oberhof, Germany.

In the women’s race, Olga Vilukhina (RUS) anchored the Russian team to bring home gold with an overall time of 1:19:32 and 13 shooting penalties. Team Norway cruised in +5.9 later for the silver medal, and the French team grabbed bronze.

The Italian squad put together a fantastic race in the 4×7.5km men’s race with only five shooting penalties opposed to second place Russia’s 13. Italy won by a +6.1 margin, while Sweden scooped up bronze with six penalties and a +32.7 gap.

Team USA’s Lowell Bailey, Jay Hakkinen, Tim Burke, and Leif Nordgren opened the World Cup competition with a 11th-place finish, trailing the leaders by +5:42.3 and racking up 19 penalties.

“With the rain training has not been easy, but the organizers have been doing everything they can to put a good track together, ” said U.S. Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. “In the Relay, it’s always tricky in these conditions with both skiing and waxing….”

Results
Women 4×6 km Relay HERE.
Men 4×7.5 km Relay HERE.

Canadian Video Highlights and Interviews from Day 1 at the Tour de Ski

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


December 30, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Check out this great video courtesy of the Canadian Team during Day 1 of the Tour de Ski, including training clips, action in the wax room, race footage, and post-race interviews with the athletes, including Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw.

Kowalczyk and Northug Claim Prologue Victories at Tour de Ski – Harvey 6th and Randall 10th

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


December 29, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland staked her claim to the women’s Tour de Ski overall crown with a win in today’s opening 3.1km Prologue stage in Oberhof, Germany. Kowalczyk bested World Cup overall leader, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) by 0.4 seconds over the 2.5km course. Sweden’s Hannah Brodin was third.

Among the American women, Kikkan Randall finished a solid 10th, with teammates Liz Stephen and Holly Brooks (who is suffering with an injured wrist – read more HERE) coming in 37th and 53rd respectively.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Petter Northug backed up his intentions to win the Tour this year with a win in the men’s 4.0km Prologue, beating Tour arch rival Dario Cologna of Switzerland by .7 seconds. France’s Maurice Magnificat finished third.

The Canadian men had an excellent day, with Alex Harvey finishing 6th and Devon Kershaw 12th. Ivan Babikov was further back in 38th position while Andy Newell had the top result for the US squad in 29th place, followed by Simi Hamilton and Kris Freeman in 63rd and 64th respectively.

Full women’s results HERE.
Full men’s results HERE.

The Eve of the Tour de Ski

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


December 29, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – So…. I haven’t said much on my blog yet about the Tour de Ski but here it is – starting TOMORROW!  As there is no World Champs or Olympics this year, the Tour is kind of the pinnacle of the race year. Many of the top athletes have been aiming to perform well here all year. I was a last minute addition to the US Tour roster after having performances during period one of the World Cup this fall.

I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to race this event. As a distance skier and high volume trainer, I absolutely LOVE the thought of racing day in and day out, challenging myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have no idea how I’ll do or what will happen to by body as the days of fatigue add up but this is a great time to try it and I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge.

There are a ton of friends, family, and even people I don’t know that have helped make it possible for me to be here. As many of you know, I’m responsible for providing my own funding and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generous support and enthusiasm of many of YOU. I hesitate to name anyone personally because there are so many of you and I don’t want to leave anyone out but you know who you are.

The experience of needing support and needing it fast has really been really moving. I only hope that I can repay many of you back with the generosity someday be it in the form of a ski lesson, athletic inspiration, a smile, or perhaps one day, dollars to a cause important to you. I know that on Thursday, when I put a bib on, I will feel like I’m racing with the support of people from Washington and Alaska; Kongsberger Ski Club, Alaska Pacific University, and Snoqualmie Nordic Team. THANK YOU so much to ALL of you!

As far as challenges go, I feel the need to share something that’s been on the fore front of my mind lately…. Christmas Day I decided to go for a short run before dinner. It was dark out and icy in places. Just as I was about to turn around and head back to the Kobaldhof, I slipped on the ice, falling back, and caught myself with my left hand. I knew instantly that it was not good…. but I wasn’t sure how bad. And I still don’t know. The plan for tomorrow, and each day afterwards is to ice, tape, take some anti-immflatatory medication and go for it.

The US team doesn’t have a doctor here at the moment so this morning I went and saw the Norwegian Team’s Doctor and “Physio.” (The Euro name for PT). They were incredibly generous to see me and were encouraging in that they do not think my wrist has a scaphoid fracture – my greatest worry via a couple hours on email and web MD. (Always a bad idea and also guaranteed to give you nightmares). If Petra Madjic can win a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games with broken ribs and a punctured lung, perhaps I can race the Tour, and excel in it with whatever injury my wrist may have sustained. It’s not ideal but I’m certainly not the first athlete who has gotten a bit beat up.

Time for bed as often rest provides one with the best healing and rejuvenation powers! Thank you everyone for everything and I’ll do my best to keep you posted through this incredible journey!

Sincerely,

Holly :)

Watch FIS Indoor Sprint Race in Oberhof Live Online – Sept. 29

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


September 27, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – The second Cross-Country Skiing sprint race will take place in Oberhof’s indoor ski venue on September 29. This is the first year it will be sanctioned by FIS. The freestyle sprints will kick off the German performance tests in a Mini-Tour format. For the first time, the athletes will fight for FIS points during the first event held on snow in the ski hall and organizers expect a larger international field to compete.

The German performance test program traditionally features Cross-Country running and Roller Skiing pursuit races.

Follow the race LIVE!
You can follow the Oberhof indoor sprint races LIVE! Competition starts on Thursday at 18:00 CET with qualifying session and finals starting at 18:30. You can watch the race HERE or on fiscrosscountry.com

Kershaw Report – Tour de Ski Wrap

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


January 13, 2011 (Canmore. AB) – The fifth ever edition of the Tour de Ski is over and done with. I am comfortably sitting in a “Nighbor driving” laid back position up in B-Class flying home after over two months of European racing and am still in disbelief… first how fast this first half of the season has blazed by, and second how great our team performed over the last 10 days in Germany and Italy.

The Tour de Ski is the most grueling race that we do all year. We race eight distinct competitions in only 10 days at four different venues. It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes week and a half and considering how I feel at the end of it, I cannot even imagine how it is for our staff who work so hard indefatigably all day, everyday to give us every opportunity to perform.

I’ll break ‘er down race by race since I didn’t update as I went along this year.

Day One: 3.75km Skate Prologue – Oberhof (Ger) – December 31st/2010
I was psyched to get my 5th Tour under way. Ivan, Alex and I did our finishing  touches on our Tour-prep enjoying Davos’ great skiing and stellar café over the holidays. Everything went quite well for all of us in the pre-Tour period and with the added bonus of Hutchdogg tirelessly working on us over Christmas we were all feeling strong and confident – and for the most part I had great workouts and life was grand.

When December 31st finally came, I felt ready but not 100%. One aspect still lingered – some heavy legs that settled in after my last long distance ski earlier in the week. My legs were stubbornly holding on to fatigue like a dog that just won’t release that tennis ball. Justin and I had planned to push for that optimal training load before backing off but as the race day came and I was still feeling slightly sub-par – oops.

The good news was that the first race is short. The prologue is under 8 minutes and the Tour is never won or lost on the first stage. I hammered the one lap course willing my body to empty the tank. It didn’t take long before I knew things weren’t going my way. Early in the race I knew my legs hadn’t came back in time. While I was happy that my energy was back to 100%, and my legs no longer felt heavy while pushing hard, I lacked punch/power and in such a short race that’s not good.

I pushed as hard as my flat-feeling body would go crossing the line out of the points in 37th – same finish as last year. I was pissed off. No denying. I’ve been very hot and cold with prologues in the last and while I was happy that the body felt better I wasn’t expecting to be so bad on day one. Being a Tour though I had very little time to feel sorry for myself as the next day the 15km classic pursuit was quickly approaching. I did wallow of course being the drama-queen that I am blasting some Band of Horses during a cold bath, and afterwards for about an hour before putting the race in the rear view mirror and refocusing.

Day Two: 15km Classic Pursuit Start – Oberhof (Ger) – January 1st/2011

I was fired up for this race. I always am. I love classic skiing, I love the course in Oberhof and I love pursuit starts where you’re chasing the leaders. It’s exciting, fast from the start and suits my strengths. It helps that the previous two years I had finished 3rd and 10th in the same race. It was a classic Oberhof day, foggy with slightly soft tracks. Warming up I felt great far better than just one day earlier and our skis were top shelf. I was nervous, but pumped.

Still, I had a lot of work and dudes to go through to catch back up to the front. I played it patiently, slowly working through the pack for the first six or so kilometers before making sure I was hanging out in the top 10-15 out of trouble and close enough to react if an attack went.

It was a tactical affair, some surging and some half-hearted attacks but none that stuck. Then, on the last lap Cologna went to the front to assert himself. I followed; just focusing on skiing as well I could technically. Next thing I knew I was in the front with about 2km remaining. I made a snap-decision that it was time to punch it and starting a long drive to the line in the lead. Coming around the last corner and into the windy finishing stretch I was still leading. I was double poling as hard as I could, but Dario came around me with 50m to go and passed me. I slipped right in behind him and crossed the line in 2nd place.

Needless to say, I was pumped. It was only my second-ever distance podium, and after not hitting the podium at all last year it felt so good to be back. It was a great race for me, best of the year and I posted the fastest time of the day, moving from 37th to 2nd. It also confirmed that Justin and I had in fact got the training right. It would have been awesome to win but Dario was just too strong for me and to finish only 0.5 seconds from my first win wasn’t bad.

Alex was 9th putting two Canadians in the top 10 for the first time this season which was sweet!

Day Three: 1.2km Classic Sprint- Obertsdorf (Ger) – January 2nd/2011
After packing up and showering it was onto our badass bus that Justin had organized (you’ve all seen the photos and read about it. The thing ruled for recovery!) as we rolled Southwest to the site of the 2005 World Champs Obertsdorf.

I love the sprint course in Obertsdorf. It was the first time I was ever top 15 internationally back in 2005 as a 22year-old, and I watched Sara Renner make history sprinting her way to a bronze medal there. I knew the course well, and was cautiously optimistic that I could get through the quarter-finals.

Well, it went far better than I could have ever imagined. Again our skis were fantastic and Alex and I qualified 6th and 7th. I felt amazing in all my heats and moved through to the final for the first time in my life in a classic sprint on the World Cup. I was stoked!

In the final I made a desperate attack up the last climb and came over the top with a gap. The meters were flying by and I was still in the lead down the finishing stretch.

I may have even thought about what my victory salute would be but Joensson had other ideas. With meters to go, he pulled even with me and it came down to an epic lunge for the line for the victory. After some tense moments, it was announced that no, for the second day in a row I had been beat at the line. I lost the race my 1cm or something ridiculous. Joensson described it as his tightest victory ever.

After hitting the podium the day before I was shocked to snag back to back silver medals. I was choked to lose such a tight race, especially after a gutsy move over the top that I believed was enough to stick, but Joensson is the best sprinter in the world, and to even be competitive with him was more than I ever expected. Alex finished an impressive 7th so back to back great days for Canada all around!

Day Four: 20km duathlon pursuit Obertsdorf, GER January 3rd/2011
The fourth race in a row was the also the longest. The course in Obertsdorf was the same 2.5km that they used for some races back in 2005 as well, whith consisted of flatter terrain and one huge hill per lap. The only difference is that they used the same course for classic and skate (just groomed in tracks on the side) and that made for a narrow/sketchy experience.

People were attacking all over the place going for early bonus sprints and launching for the finish line. It was very messy, lots of crashes, and just pandemonium in the pack to be honest. The course was silly.

I felt great but ended the day in 7th getting caught behind traffic up the final climb  but I was still happy with how the race played out. Alex and I both thought it felt more like a zone 3 workout because of all the bodies around. That was the one positive it didn’t take as much out of me as I would have thought.

Day Six: 1.3km skate sprint Toblach, ITA January 5th/2011
After another sizable trip, but on our sweet bus from Obertsdorf to Toblach, we had a rest day which we used to test skis and train on the long 35km stage. This was the best day to date in my ski career – I finally won a world cup! I felt so good today. I qualified in 14th, then moved easily through my final. Once again that was the main goal get through the quarters, so I was pretty relaxed for the remaining rounds.

In the final, I got off to my normal snail’s paced start, and was content to hang in the back part of the pack. Then, with two uphills remaining I just went crazy and launched an attack with everything I had. I kept the pressure all the way to the line, and while I had a big lead at one point Cologna almost came right back to me, but he ran out of real estate. At the time I could not and still cannot believe it.

It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to lift your arms in victory on the World Cup after working and dreaming about it for over 10 years. Haha, it’s almost embarrassing when I put it that way, but it finally happened. Our staff did such a great job, and everything just came together perfectly. I will never forget that race!

Day Seven: 35km skate pursuit CortinaToblach ITAJanuary 6th/2011
From an amazing race, to an extremely frustrating race was the transition between the two Toblach events.

In the long race, I started in 2nd place but alone to tackle the long/fairly flat stage over the Italian Dolomites. Cologna had amassed a big lead so I wouldn’t come back on him, but my goal was to stay away from the chase packs that were sure to form.

The course is 18km of gradual climbing, before descending gradually back to Toblach, and then a final show lap of 3.3km to finish off the spectacle. I felt good, started at a good/manageable pace. Still, at 13km Hellner who had started 30-odd seconds behind me swallowed me up. I tried in vain to stay with him, but he was on another planet. I just got popped right away, and had to settle to ski my own pace keeping him in my sights to make sure I still had a good pace.

I made it over the top of the hill, but even though I was going all out down the other side in 2km the large 11-dude chase pack caught me. I was so frustrated – like in cycling it is so much harder on easy terrain to stay away. Guys that started over 2.5 minutes behind me were safely in the draft of the pack and with them working together they made quick work of me.

What’s worse, is when they caught me nobody was willing to work together. We were chewing into Hellner who would have been caught for sure but then all of a sudden everyone was thinking of the bronze medal and things got tactical in a hurry.

I ended up finishing in the first chase pack good enough for 10th. All that hard work for the overall that I did early in the Tour was erased. I was (and still am) bummed about it. It’s a tough race, and without question the most important race of the entire Tour as far as the overall goes.

Day Nine: 20km Mass Start Classic Val di Fiemme, ITA January 8th/2011
After another travel day, and another rest day training and scouting the Val di Fiemme classic course we had finally arrived at the last venue.

I love Val di Fiemme, and I was really excited about this race seeing how I had been feeling so strong in classic this year. I knew it could be good.

Conditions were pretty standard klister skiing with warm temperatures greeting us in the Northern Italian venue. Here’s a strange fact about Val di Fiemme – it was the first time this year that we saw races above zero degrees which is extremely odd for Europe. It felt like Hawaii out there!

I tried going for some of the plethora of bonus seconds up for grabs early but soon realized that it was going to cost too much energy, and that Northug and Cologna had both amazing skis and were gunning for all of them. I changed my strategy mid-race and focused on attempting to win the competition.

I sat near the front and stayed out of trouble keen with being patient and hyper-aware with what was going on around me in the pack. There were some pace changes, but for whatever reason this year no one was able to really inflict big damage. On the last lap the Swede Rickardsson launched a move with 2 km to go that could have stuck but we all caught him on a big descent. Then I launched up the final climb (600m from the line) and over the top I was in the lead going for broke.

Still, it was too early and on the flats of the stadium I was caught and passed by Northug and Cologna. Again. I finished 3rd which was my 4th podium of the week. Unbelievable. It’s been just such a great week of racing!

Alex ended up in 5th meaning with one stage remaining we were 4th and 7th overall. It was going to be a dog fight as not much time separated 3rd to 10th and both Alex and I aren’t exactly gazelles up Alpe Cermis but we were excited to see how things went.

Day Ten: 9km Skate Uphill Pursuit Val di Fiemme/Alpe Cermis, ITA January 9th/2011
The last stage. Always tough, the 9km skate consists of 6km of gradual descending before meeting the walls of Alpe Cermis, an Alpine run close to the ski trails in Val di Fiemme.

As expected, it was a large group heading down to the climb. We worked well together, exchanging leads often but it wasn’t enough to keep a hard charging Lucas Bauer at bay who caught our group (3rd-9th) on the bottom slopes of the Alpe.

Things splintered early on the climb especially when Bauer caught us, and I settled into the best rhythm I could. I am no specialist at this unique uphill event and tried in vain to stay with Perl, Clara, and Gaillardall who are far better at this event than me. Gaillard and I were dropped by Perl and Clara and in a battle with my friend from the French Team, Jean-Marc beat me to the line after I tried to attack and blew up with only 300m remaining in the race.

The Tour was over, and I ended up 7th overall. Alex had a tough climb as well, slipping to 10th, but both of us were excited to have completed a solid Tour and to have two Canadians in the top 10 was a great achievement. Babs had the 6th fastest time up proving once again that the bulldog IS climbing boom.

What now?
After traveling and racing for over 2 months, and I am now at home. It’s so good to be back in Canmore and I am already looking forward to training with friends and sipping cappos in the afternoons as I recharge and begin to get ready for the World Champs in Oslo. I can confirm that nothing is as comfortable as your own bed and I slept like a log last night.

I was able to catch up briefly with Chandra in Munich for one night as our trips overlapped (Chandra heading to the sprint World Cups in the Czech and Estonia, while I head home to recover/train for Worlds). It was great to see her – however brief – after weeks away from one another but I am already missing her here in Canmore!

After an easy week this week to catch my breath it’s back on baby. We have work to do if we want to keep this party going. Oslo and the World Cups after it are the next objective. I cannot wait!

I want to extend heart felt thanks to everyone who supported me and our team: Mostly importantly is Chandra and my family!

Thanks to Justin who has proven to be such an amazing coach, and has shown stellar leadership all year. Our technical staff is some of the best in the business. All the boys – Sasha, Joel J, Joel K, Yves and Micke – you all rule. Micke thanks for sticking with me for the past few years and putting up with my sketchy self every weekend (and during the week, haha), you’ve made a HUGE difference!

Most importantly thanks to my teammates. I am so lucky to be a member of such a bad ass/awesome Canadian Team. We respect each other, push each other and celebrate each other’s victories. It’s a lot of hours together but damn it’s fun! It’s been a trip – one that will continue for years to come!

We couldn’t do it without our loyal team sponsors (the crew at Haywood, AltaGas, Statoil and Teck) and B2ten for the mad hook ups all year most recently being instrumental behind our big black rock and roll Tour de Ski bus. Your continued support means that our entire team can push the limits all year.

Lastly, my personal sponsors, guys like Jamie Coatsworth who makes such a difference and who believes not only 100% in me but all of Canadian skiing, Stephen Dent and the whole Birch Hill crew in T.O., Chris out in Vancouver with Teck and Allison and the Stoneridge crew, thanks to all of you. Support matters, from all levels. Family, friends, team, sponsors, it all helps make

Ekholm Wins Women’s Mass Start – USA’s Spector Makes History in 25th

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


January 10, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Laura Spector continued her solid showing at the Oberhof World Cup by placing 25th in Sunday’s 12.5km mass start. Spector became the first US woman ever to compete in a mass start at the IBU World Cup, which features the top 30 biathletes from the sprint .

“Laura really made a strong impression today, especially in the first half of the race,” said U.S. Biathlon Head Coach Per Nilsson in US Biathlon release. “Two clean shootings at prone were really good in a race like that.”

Spector ended the day with just two misses in four shooting stages, finishing with a time of 43:28.8.

Helena Ekholm (SWE) grabbed her second win of the season adding to her World Cup pursuit victory in Hochfilzen. The Swedish biathlete shot clean for the day, finishing with a time of 39:22.9.

Ekholm said after the race that her plan was to simply shoot well and then let everything else fall into place. “I tried to stay back shoot well and then attack,” Ekholm told IBU, “Andrea [Henkel] and Svetlana [Sleptsova] were skiing well in the final loop, and I just stayed behind them. When we came up the final hill before the finishing straight, I felt that I had more power, attacked at that point, and it worked out.”

Henkel of Germany continued her solid showing in Oberhof by posting a 2nd place finish with a pair of misses, finishing just 1.6 seconds behind Ekholm. Russia’s Sleptsova was just one of two racers, including Henkel, to shoot clean on the day, grabbing the third place finish with a time of 39:28.1.

No Canadian women qualified to compete in Sunday’s mass start event. Spector’s result puts her 36th overall in the overall IBU World Cup standings.

Full results HERE.

Results (Brief)

1. Helena Ekholm, SWE (0+0+0+0) 39:22.9
2. Andrea Henkel, GER (0+1+1+0) 39:24.5
3. Svetlana Sleptsova, RUS (0+0+0+0) 39:28.1
4. Maria Laure Brunet, FRA (0+0+0+1) 39:43.2
5. Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland, NOR (0+0+1+0) 39:49.6

25. Laura Spector, USA (0+0+2+2) 43:28.8

Boe Takes IBU Men’s 15km Mass Start – Canada’s Le Guellec 20th

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


January 10, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Canada’s Jean-Philippe Le Guellec followed up his 16th place effort in Friday’s sprint by placing 20th in the men’s 15km Mass Start on Sunday, the final event of IBU WCup round #4 in Oberhof, Germany, won by Norway’s Tarjei Boe.

Le Guellec, a two-time Olympian, had a day to remember in the shooting range, coming away with just one miss in four trips through the stadium. “That was one heck of a hard race. The conditions were super soft and the snow was wet in places,” said Le Guellec in a Biathlon Canada release, “I had nothing left in my legs, but it was a great day for shooting. I established a tactic in training yesterday that worked well today.”

Canadian teammate Brendan Green also followed up a strong sprint race with a 25th place effort on Sunday, finishing with a time of 42:11.1 after missing a pair of targets. No Americans qualified for the men’s mass start as only the top 30 skiers advanced from the previous races.

Norway placed two skiers on the podium with Boe scoring his fourth race of the season, and Emile Hegle Svedsen capturing second with 3 misses and a time of 35:55.4. Ivan Tcherezov of Russia rounded out the top three with a pair of misses on his way to finishing with a time of 39:55.4.

Boe, who also won this week’s sprint competition, helped to strengthen his grip on the yellow leader’s bib, awarded to the best biathlete in the world. The 23 year-old Norwegian showed poise on the final lap, after missing a shot in the last shooting stage of the day.

“Usually, you do not win a mass start with a penalty in the final stage. But I had a strategy going into that stage,” said Boe, according to the IBU report, “I knew I had to shoot fast, so that if I missed one I could get around the loop before the others. I missed the first shot and just went on. The last one took some mental strength, because I knew the victory depended on hitting it.”

Full results HERE.

Results (Brief)

1. Tarjei Boe, NOR (0+1+0+1) 39:51.3
2. Emile Hegle Svedsen, NOR (1+0+2+0) 39:53.7
3. Ivan Tcherezov, RUS (0+0+1+1) 39:55.4
4. Martin Fourcade, FRA (0+1+0+1) 40:05.6
5. Michael Greis, GER (1+0+1+1) 40:10.4

20. Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, CAN (0+0+0+1) 41:41.7
25. Brenden Green, CAN (0+1+1+0) 42:11.1

Sweden Takes Women’s Relay in Oberhof

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


January 07, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Sweden took advantage of key shooting, despite heavy rain and high winds, on the final two legs of the 4x6km Women’s Relay held yesterday to execute a come-from-behind victory at Oberhof’s World Cup venue. Sweden’s team of Jenny Jonnson, Anna Carlin Zidek, Anna Maria Nilsson and Helena Ekholm suffered only one penalty, while utilizing eight spare rounds, to finish 52.3 seconds ahead of second place France, who compiled three penalites and nine spare rounds respectively. Belarus rounded out the top three with a time of 1:19:24.5.

Sweden’s team got off to a slow start, despite a solid shooting performance from Jonnson, and found themselves in fourth place after the first leg. Trailing the likes of Slovakia, Ukraine, and Finland, the second leg was no change in fortune for the team, as they remained in fourth after Zideck passed off to Nilsson.

Sweden’s third leg proved to be a spark for the team as they moved up to second placed behind Nilsson’s three spare round performance, and Ekholm brought home the victory with a no-miss final lap.

Thursday’s harsh weather conditions were undoubtedly a factor in determining the champions, as there were 84 penalties and 263 spare rounds used across all of the 21 teams who competed. The heavy rain and powerful winds made shooting no easy task for the world-class athletes.

Canada’s relay squad consisting of Zina Kocher, Megan Imrie, Rosanna Crawford, and Melanie Schultz, North America’s lone representative, was among an astounding nine teams who were disqualified as a result of being lapped in the challenging conditions.

The United States, although present in Oberhof, did not field a team on Thursday due to a lack of available racers.

Full results HERE.

Results (brief)

1. Sweden (1+8) 1:17:53.1
2. France (3+9) 1: 18:45.4
3. Belarus (1+13) 1:19:24.5
4. Ukraine (5+12) 1:20:46.3
5. Russia (8+16) 1:20:59.2

LPD Canada (4+14)

Germany Takes IBU World Cup Men’s Relay

Tags: , , , , , ,


January 06, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – The IBU World Cup resumed in Oberhof, Germany on Wednesday with the men’s 4×7.5km relay that saw the home team take off with the early lead and stay ahead, winning their first men’s relay since 2006 in a time of 1:23:53.0. While the Germans lead consistently all race, the battle for the next two podium steps was dynamic, changing at each shooting stage. In the end, the Czech Republic edged out Norway for second, finishing with a time of 1:26:15.8 over the Norwegians in third at 1:26.17.0.

The top North American result was an 11th place finish by the Canadian men’s team at 1:27:25.8 represented by Marc-André Bedard, Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, Scott Perras and Brendan Green. The American team of Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Leif Nordgren, and Russell Currier placed 16th in a time of 1:28:41.4.

The men were beset by hostile weather conditions with howling winds blasting through the stadium making shooting difficult and no team shot clean. Competitors, who collected ten times the typical number of penalties and used more than three times the number of spare rounds expected, were resigned to doing penalty laps.

“The winds were so strong that it made standing shooting extremely difficult because it was gusting so bad,” said Le Guellec. “It was best not to fight the wind today but take your penalties, do the laps, and make up your time that way. We had fast skis so was a good day for our team.”

The result is a promising performance from the newly formed young Canadian relay team lead by two-time Olympian, 25 year-old Le Guellec.

“This is the first time us four have raced together. We have a really young team that is young and I believe is going to be very good for a long time,” added Le Guellec. “Everyone on the team has had some good results before Christmas so I think we will be strong in year’s to come. You can’t approach the relay any different. You have to focus on your individual performance and we did that today.”

Full results HERE.

Results

1. Germany (2+16) 1:23:53.0
2. Czech Republic (3+14) 1:26:15.8
3. Norway (6+14) 1:26:17.0
4. Ukraine (5+14) 1:26:37.2
5. Slovenia (5+16) 1:26:48.7

11. Canada (6+14) 1:27:25.8
16. USA (7+11) 1:28:41.4

Kershaw Second on Podium at TdS 15km Classic in Oberhof – Cologna Wins UPDATED

Tags: , , , ,


January 01, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Canada’s Devon Kershaw put on stunning display of classic skiing with the fastest time of the day to take second in the men’s 15km classic handicap start, only 0.5s behind winner Dario Cologna (SUI), in an exciting battle as the snow fell in Oberhof. Kershaw took over the race lead at about 1km to go and looked like he might hold on for the win but Cologna nipped him at the finish line while World Cup leader, Alexander Legkov (RUS), took third.

A hard-charging Petter Northug (NOR) attempted his patent strategy making spectacular gains as the finish approached but fell short moving up from the mid 20s to place 6th. Kershaw’s team mate Alex Harvey had a strong race as well finishing 9th. The USA’s Kris Freeman, another classic specialist, also made strong gains starting in 55th to finished 26th overall. Ivan Babikov (Can) placed 32nd and Andy Newell (USA) was 58th.

The silver is Kershaw’s best ever distance result. “It was an amazing race perhaps my best ever,” said Kershaw in a phone interview with SkiTrax. “Once we got going I knew my legs were good. Our techs did a great job and our skis were great – I was frustrated with my performance in the Prologue so I was charged up to improve.”

Experience told Kershaw how the race would unfold. “As expected the pace was fast until we caught Hellner so I stayed mid-field conserving energy knowing the pack would slow down once we reeled Hellner in which is what happened. Then I started to move up wanting to stay near the front and cover any attacks. I felt comfortable and ended up in the lead by accident – then it was my time to push it and I thought I could win but couldn’t hold off Cologna at the end.”

Kershaw’s best previous distance result was third in the 15km in Oberhof in 2009 at the Tour de Ski and many recall his 5th place in the men’s 50km classic at Vancouver 2010. In 2006 the versatile skier won WCup sprint silver in Munich, Germany and sprint bronze in Borlaenge, Sweden.

He’s now in second place overall at the Tour de Ski coming into the sprints in Obertsdorf on Sunday and hopes Team Canada can continue with more strong performances. “Alex was 9th at the classic sprints in Kuusamo (Fin) so we’re fired up to see what we can do tomorrow,” added Kershaw.

It was huge day for the Canadians with Harvey in 9th and head coach Justin Wadsworth was on cloud nine. “Devon showed what he’s got,” Wadsworth told us by phone. “Conditions were challenging but not super tricky as there was time for testing in the morning and I think many teams had good skis like us. Devon has had good training since La Clusaz but he was as little flat afterwards and we missed some intensity blocks as he took it easier before the Tour knowing things would pick up once the racing unfolded. Alex was right up there as well and dropped back a little near the end but it was a great day for both of them.”

“I was a little tired in the warm up but things felt better soon after the race started,” said Harvey. “It was a tricky day for waxing and no one had perfect skis but our team did a great job for us. I felt good and was able to move up but couldn’t bridge to the lead group with Devon near the end and started to cramp dropping a few spots. Overall my form felt good and I’m really happy for Devon.”

Watch the FIS XC Big Step – Men’s 15km classic Race video HERE.

Early on the Russians looked like they’d be a force with Legkov and Ilia Chernousov leading the chase to reel in Hellner and at once point there were five Russians at the front of the pack. Then defending TdS champ, Lukas Bauer (CZE) flexed his ski muscles and took up the mantle as Hellner was caught but Bauer’s efforts may have cost him later as he faded to end up 13th.

Cologna who was also near the front most of the race paced himself better. As the final kilometres approached he, Kershaw, Legkov and Chernousov were leading with a small chase group just behind as Northug was whipping things up and passing skiers as he moved to the front. But the Norwegian ran out of time as Cologna edged Kershaw for the win and takes over the TdS leader’s jersey.

“Of course I’m satisfied. I had a good feeling and didn’t want to push too much as it’s a long race, but on the last hill I gave it my all,” said the winner to FIS XC. “I won here in 2008 and afterwards I was the winner of the Tour – so that’s a good sign. I was not afraid of loosing contact with the Russians, I was pleased the speed was higher. It is always good to be in front, and to cover first position.

“I am not afraid of Northug, I knew that I was in the first position and that was more important. I thought Northug was coming, but luckily he didn’t. My goal is to take as many bonus points as possible in the Tour. The sprint is important, and I want to be in the semi finals tomorrow.”

The US team was not their best yet Freeman’s move up from 55th to 26th was commendable but Newell who started in 14th fell back to finish in 58th.

“I felt good out there and despite the tricky conditions it was a solid day… I was able to move up steadily but I’m still not where I want to be as I couldn’t find my top gear near the end,” said Freeman from the team bus as they headed to Obertsdorf for tomorrow’s sprints.

It’s Freeman’s first Tour so what are his impressions? “Overall things are good and it feels a bit chilled out. Noone’s over-amped as it’s still early in the Tour so we’ll see how things unfold.” Freeman has raced at Obertsdorf and knows the scene there. “I haven’t qualified for a WCup sprint yet so we’ll see how I do tomorrow.”

Newell who had his best prologue performance yesterday was out of gas today. “I felt decent at the start of the race today, but for sure had a bad bonk. Not sure why… maybe I just pushed too hard up a hill or two. But after I bonked I moved backwards really fast and had a lot of trouble kicking my skis so I lost a ton of time. It was kind of windy and the tracks were a little soft in places so it was tough for some people to get kick. I was pretty worked after the race so hopefully I can recover ok for tomorrow’s sprint.”

US Team head coach Chris Grover referred to today’s efforts as a mixed bag. “Andy blew up which was too bad but Kikkan had a decent day as did Kris. I think Bird and his coach Zach Caldwell are satisfied with his efforts today. He picked off a lot of skiers and was as high as 12th or 13th at one point but couldn’t manage to hold the pace. We had a good transfer to Obertsdorf and we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s sprints.”

Results HERE.
Results detail HERE.

Kowalczyk Takes Women’s Prologue at Tour de Ski – USA’s Randall 16th UPDATED

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


December 31, 2010 (Oberhof, Germany) – In a dramatic finish Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) took the first win of the 2010/11 FIS Tour de Ski at today’s 2.8km freestyle Prologue in Oberhof in -3 C temps, as the snow fell, and in front of a crowd of 2,000 spectators. Charlotte Kalla (SWE) took second place, only 1.5s behind the winner, with Norway’s Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) in third.

“It was really hard before the finish and my coach told me I was 1 second behind Charlotte [Kalla], so I was surprised when I saw the result,” Kowalczyk told FIS XC. “You start and finish like in a sprint, and I am very satisfied that I am in the top. It is really nice to be number one in the Tour, definitely a good start. I see Charlotte [Kalla], Astrid [Jacobsen] and [Petra] Majdic as my strongest contenders for the rest of the Tour. I don’t have any specific strategy for tomorrow’s pursuit, I will think about it tonight and you will see tomorrow.”

Finland’s Aino Kaisa Saarinen (FIN) wearing bib #34 and recently returned to World Cup racing following a shoulder injury, was in the hot seat for some time but Jacobsen took over only to be eclipsed by Kalle. Arianna Follis (ITA), the second last skier, could not match the pace and it was up Kowalczyk, who was only 0.5s behind Kalle’s time at the 1.4km mark, and was able to power through the second half of the course into the finish for the victory by 1.5s.

The top three have racked up 15, 10, and 5 points, respectively, towards their sprint ranking in the TdS and Kowalczyk will don the red leader’s bib for tomorrow’s 10km classic Pursuit where she will start 6.5 seconds ahead of Kalla and 14.8 seconds ahead of Jacobsen. USA’s Kikkan Randall, the only North American entrant, finished a respectable 16th.

Today’s Prologue course was “short and sweet – but tough,” said Randall. She said the first section was like a sprint qualifier, and then skiers were faced with a monster climb, followed by a descent and then a slight uphill to the finish.

The American star added that she doesn’t have much experience with prologues at this distance (2.7km) but it’s her best prologue to date. Her focus was to pace properly and conserve enough energy to be strong for the finish. The race was made tougher by the snow conditions. “I felt good out there and I’m happy with 16th place,” she said.

“Kikkan hasn’t done that well in prologues before. She ended last season really well at the World Cup finals tour so it’s exciting to be off to such a good start,” said US coach Pete Vordenberg.

Celebrating her 28th birthday today as well, Randall raved about the fun atmosphere at the 2010/11 Tour de Ski – her first TdS experience – and organizers even played the techno Happy Birthday song in the finish zone.

“There are always fireworks on my birthday but it won’t be the wildest New Year’s Eve,” she quipped, as she looked ahead to tomorrow’s 10km classic pursuit. “Times today were really tight,” and she will be in the mix with a lot of fast women tomorrow. “I’m looking forward to a good day.”

Women’s Prologue results HERE.

Eurosport Teams up with FIS Tour de Ski 2010/11 – Reaches 240 Million Viewers

Tags: , , , , ,


December 26, 2010 – Eurosport and the International Ski Federation (FIS) have reached an agreement for the upcoming FIS Tour de Ski. Eurosport will be an official partner of the FIS Tour de Ski, and will host the official team presentation held on 30th December in Oberhof. Eurosport will broadcast all stages of the Tour LIVE, reaching 240 million viewers in 20 different languages across 59 countries.

The fifth edition of the Tour de Ski takes place from 31st December to 9th January and leads from Oberhof via Oberstdorf (GER) and Toblach (ITA) to Val di Fiemme (ITA). The ten-day tour covers eight competitions in both techniques and in all Cross-Country events across almost all distances.

Exciting races, the spectacular 3,7 km climb to “Alpe Cermis” at the final stage in Val di Fiemme and over 800,000 Euro prize money make the FIS Tour de Ski one of the first highlight of this year’s Cross-Country season both for athletes and viewers.

The tour starts on New Year’s Eve with the prolog (ladies 2,5km and men 3,7km). Eurosport will feature live broadcasts of all races.

Eurosport will promote the event across its multimedia platform and is organizing viewer competitions in Germany, Poland and Italy. Cross-Country fans can win a weekend trip for two to the final of this years’ Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme (ITA), including VIP access to the competition venue and a private behind-the-scenes tour with Jürg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country.

Furthermore, Eurosport offers ambitious amateur cross-country skiers the chance, to make a start on the “Rampa con i Campioni”. This race for everyone to experience the final climb is offered for the first time.

Jürg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country, explains: “We are delighted that Eurosport is once again one of our partners for the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear. Our international partnership for mutual promotional activities, which involves Poland and Italy besides Germany for the first time, clearly shows the high value the FIS Tour de Ski has reached. This unique event will not only be experienced by viewers on site but also by millions of viewers across Europe through Eurosport’s high-quality broadcasting.”

“Nordic skiing has always been very popular among Eurosport viewers and we will broadcast 120 hours from this year’s FIS Cross-Country World Cup on Eurosport and Eurosport 2. The Tour de Ski has established itself as an important sport highlight along with the International Four-Hills-Tournament, and we are very happy to present this event to our viewers”, says Werner Starz, Director Marketing and Communication at Eurosport Media GmbH in Munich.

For all Eurosport Tour de Ski transmission times click HE

Tour de Ski 2010/11 Launching Soon – Dec. 31-Jan. 9

Tags: , , , ,


December 26, 2010 – The fifth edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear will kick off soon beginning on New Year’s eve day, December 31st – 10 days, 8 races, 4 venues in two countries – that will be the Tour de Ski 2010/2011.

The start will be in Oberhof (GER) on December 31st with the prologue in the free technique and a handicap start race on January 1st (that means that the athletes start with the time difference from the first Stage) over 10km (women) and 15km (men) in classical technique. The program of the 2011 FIS Tour de Ski will continue on January 2nd with a classic sprint on the Sunday and on January 3rd there’s a short Pursuit race for ladies over 5km + 5 km and for the men over 10km + 10km in Oberstdorf, the venue for the 2005 World Championships.

After four intensive days of competitions the athletes will clearly deserve the first rest day on January 4th. In Toblach, the racers will face first the challenge of the free technique sprint on January 5th before for the second Handicap Pursuit race, on the schedule for January 6th. From Cortina d’Ampezzo to Toblach, the male athletes will be racing in a free technique handicap start over 35km. Out of the experiences from the last year, the ladies’ will start this time in the stadium of Toblach and make a three times 5km loop for 15km.

After the second rest day, the Tour will conclude in the valley of ‘Fiemme’, the host of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2003 and 2013. On January 8, 2011, the athletes will compete in a mass start race over 10km (ladies) and 20km (men) in classical technique. The last competition on January 9th, the already famous ‘Final Climb,’ will start in the Cross-Country Stadium Lago di Tesero and end on Alpe Cermis, with the last climb stretching over 3.7km with an altitude of 425m. Both genders will contest the same course and race 9km in free technique.

The snow conditions are promising everywhere. All venues just have a short warm period but thanks to cold weather at the beginning of December all have enough snow to prepare good courses. With the start of Christmas the weather will change and a cold period is expected. The fifth edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear is ready – come and join us on the Tour 2010/2011!

More information HERE.
For starting times & schedule click HERE.

Tour de Ski rankings 2010/2011

Women
1. Justyna Kowalczyk, POL
2. Petra Majdic, SLO
3. Arianna Follis, ITA

Men
1. Lukas Bauer, CZE
2. Petter Northug, NOR
3. Dario Cologna, SUI