IBU Cup 2 at a New Venue in Lenzerheide
Sunny and beautiful Lenzerheide, Switzerland, welcomed 138 men and 116 women from 40 nations, competing in IBU Cup 2. As in Sjusjøen, Lenzerheide will also be hosting an IBU Cup for the first time, so the organizing committee is doing everything possible to provide the best conditions for all the teams in the upcoming three days of competitions.
The sun filled the stadium today during official training, making the spectacular landscapes even more dramatic. However, the weekend weather will probably change, bringing some snow and clouds. IBU Cup Race Director Felix Bitterling noted that it would not affect the track. “Most of the snow we have here had to be produced, but we are set with all courses, which are in a very good condition. Still, the track is not that easy, there are some really tough uphills; the highest point is a little higher than 1400 meters, so regarding altitude; it can be an issue for some athletes.”
Biathlon Arena Lenzerheide is the most modern and at the same time, the only venue in Switzerland to be awarded an official IBU A licence, in August 2017. Despite the fact that it was built only in 2013, it has already held international biathlon events: two IBU Junior Cups in the previous seasons and will host the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in 2020. Lenzerheide is also the new home for the Gasparin sisters; the youngest, Aita knows this place very well and will compete here. “For sure, it can be an advantage for me that I know the track, as I spent a lot of training here during summer time; I know the shooting range, how the wind can blow.” With a smile, she added, “But at the same time it could be a disadvantage. If you feel really tired, you know exactly how hard the next uphill will be and it can be tough.”
The current IBU Cup Total Score leaders Norwegians Thekla Brun-Lie and Fredrik Gjesbakk, followed by Uliana Kaisheva and Alexey Slepov of Russia, started the new season with strong performances in Sjusjøen. There’s no doubt, they will try to add more points to strengthen their top positions. Besides these four and their always strong teammates, there are many others who will battle for the podium. Those worth paying attention to include: Nadine Horchler and Florian Graf of Germany, France’s Chloe Chevalier and Antonin Guigonnat, Elisabeth Hoegberg and Tobias Arvidson of Sweden. Aristide Begue of France, who was a winner last season, but skipped the beginning of the season due to the injury, will also be competing.
IBU Cup 2 will kick off with the single mixed and mixed relays tomorrow, followed by sprints on Saturday and pursuits on Sunday.
December 8, Friday
10:00 Single mixed relay
12:30 Mixed relay
December 9, Saturday
10:00 Sprint Women
13:00 Sprint Men
December 10, Sunday
10:00 Pursuit Women
12:30 Pursuit Men