Osrblie: First IBU Cup in 2018

Osrblie: First IBU Cup in 2018

After a Christmas break and few days off, the athletes are back on the track to start the New Year at the IBU Cup 4 in Osrblie, Slovakia.

Osrblie: First IBU Cup in 2018

Qualification

IBU Cup Race Director Felix Bitterling commented on the conditions in Osrblie. “The OC started the artificial snow production in November, which was put underneath. Then it was warm but they received quite of snow during the Christmas break and in the last few days, we had rain, which connected really well with a fresh snow. So conditions are good, and for tomorrow and Sunday they are quite similar to what we have today.” He also explained the reason for having two sprint competitions in a row, “In the end of January events, the qualification for the Olympic Games is closing. Therefore, the Technical Committee has allocated four competitions (sprints and individuals) in January on purpose. Many teams have internal qualifications and in this kind of events, the conditions for all athletes are equal. And it is also important for smaller nations who are still fighting for the personal qualifications for the Olympics.”

IBU Cup Total Score Leaders

As usual in January, after successful starts in December, many athletes moved to the World Cup and received chances to show their best at the higher level. Still, there are always many famous and interesting names at the IBU Cup. The current leader of the IBU Cup Women’s Total Score Uliana Kaisheva of Russia has a big advantage of 102 points over the closest rivals Elisabeth Hoegberg of Sweden and Germany’s Karolin Horchler and will try to strengthen her position in the overall. Kaisheva also leads in the Women’s Sprint Score, where the gap to second place Horchler is 68 points.

Osrblie: First IBU Cup in 2018

In the men’s field, Norway’s Aaslak Nenseter and Fredrik Gjesbakk have a chance to get closer to their teammate Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen who is currently in the first but will miss the competitions in Osrblie. Christiansen also leads in the IBU Cup Sprint Score but most likely, that second position Eduard Latypov of Russia, 24 points back, will take over the top spot. Gjesbakk is another athlete who has a chance to become a leader, as he is only 5 points behind the Russian.

Osrblie: First IBU Cup in 2018

Comeback

Competitions in Osrblie are going to be interesting for a few more reasons. First, we will see a comeback of a girl who has recently became a mother,  Nastassia Kinnunen (Dubarezava) of Belarus. After skipping almost the whole season last year, this will be Kinnunen's first start since the birth of her daughter in August.

And the second reason is the performance of an athlete, who has not competed at the IBU Cup level for many years, France’s Simon Fourcade. “It is a little bit strange feeling because I did not come to the IBU Cups since 2005. At the same time, it is nice to compete with young guys and I hope it will help me to restart the season after two awful weeks in Hochfilzen and Le Grand Bornand.” He also added, “Osrblie is a place where I got my first qualification for the Olympic Games, so I hope that this is a new beginning for me and for Olympics in Pyeongchang too.”

Schedule

The schedule for the upcoming IBU Cup 4 with CET times follows.

Saturday

10:00 Sprint Women

13:00 Sprint Men

Sunday

10:00 Sprint Women

13:00 Sprint Men

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