IBU Cup 6 in Italy's Martell
After the Open European Championships, which were held last week in Ridnaun, the IBU Cup circuit moved to Martell, another Italian venue in South Tyrol. Two competition days with sprints and pursuits will start tomorrow for 26 nations, 96 men, and 75 women.
Bright sun changed to real winter conditions with a lot of fresh snow today during official training. IBU Cup Race Director Felix Bitterling commented, “We have a mix of the artificial and natural snow on the tracks; in the most of the parts underneath is an artificial snow and on top is natural. But, in principal conditions are really good.” Because of a snow, which was falling all day long and is expected during the night, it will be tough for the nations to choose the right starting group for the strongest athletes, especially for the women’s sprint. But, at the same time, now the track is hard and compact.
Except for a high altitude of 1700 meters, which makes it quite hard for the athletes to compete in Martell, there is also one more peculiarity: a river crosses the shooting range and can bring unpredictable wind gusts. Still, at the moment the forecast seems to be pretty good with not much wind in the upcoming days. Bitterling also added about the number of athletes who came to the IBU Cup 6, “Fields are quite small; for the first time we have less than 30 nations, but this is mainly due to the Olympic Games.”
Despite the luck of some nations, there are many very strong athletes in Martell: Austria’s Felix Leitner, Tomas Krupcik of Czech Republic, France’s Simon Fourcade and Jean Guillaume Beatrix, Karolin and Nadine Horchler of Germany, Italy’s Karin Oberhofer, team Norway with Thekla Brun-Lie, Emilie Aagheim Kalkenberg, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen and Fredrik Gjesbakk, Russian team with Victoria Slivko, Anastasia Zagoruiko, Alexander Loginov and Alexey Volkov, Ukraine’s Yuliia Zhuravok. Most of those athletes were on the podium in Ridnaun, so no wonder if those will be the main faces in the battle for the medals.
To Do The Same
Among those athletes is France’s Chloe Chevalier, who came from the OECH with three individual medals, including two Golds. “I was really happy about my results in Ridnaun and I am really looking forward to do the same here. Last year I did not show my best in Martell, plus the conditions were really tough, so I really hope this year it will be different. This is one of the highest venues, which makes this place one of the hardest at the IBU Cup.”
Christiansen also commented on the altitude, “In Ridnaun I did not feel that good because of a little altitude there. We will see tomorrow how it goes, but I hope to feel a bit better than in Ridnaun.”
IBU Cup Total Score Leaders
After skipping the OECH, the current IBU Cup Total Score leader Russia’s Uliana Kaisheva lost her solid advantage of more than 100 points over her rivals. Now, the gap between the Russian and second place Horchler is only 6 points. With Kaisheva missing the IBU Cup in Martell, Horchler will most likely take the lead after tomorrow’s sprint competition.
In the men’s field, there are also come changes: Christiansen reclaimed first position in the overall, which he has lost after skipping a few IBU Cup competitions. Now, he leads with 424 points over his teammate Gjesbakk with 399 points.
The schedule for the upcoming IBU Cup 6. all times CET:.
10:00 Sprint Women
13:00 Sprint Men
10:00 Pursuit Women
12:30 Pursuit Men