Biathlon Summer Events 2021

Many of the biggest stars in biathlon will go head-to-head in August and September when rollerski competitions take center stage across Europe. It all starts in Sandnes, Norway with the Blinkfestivalen then jumps to Wiesbaden, Germany for City-Biathlon, then on to Nove Mesto na Moravě for the IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships with Annecy hosting the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival wrapping up the hectic four weeks of top-flight biathlon competitions.

Johannes and Tiril

Many of the top stars in the sport are expected to toe the starting line at least once in this year’s return to a “normal” summer competition schedule. IBU World Cup Total Score winners Johannes Thingnes Boe and Tiril Eckhoff top the list along with Boe’s brother Tarjei and IBU Blue Bib winner and Total Score runner-up Sturla Holm Laegreid. Beyond the Norwegians, expect to see Quentin Fillon Maillet, Dorothea Wierer, Marketa Davidova and Julia Simon.

Spectators Back

Last year, only Blink with a very limited field and no spectators as well as City Biathlon also spectator-free were conducted. The IBU SBWCH scheduled for Ruhpolding and the Fourcade Festival were cancelled. However, this year, several venues will allow spectators. Blink will have some spectators, while City Biathlon will have limited on-course spectator areas and the Fourcade Festival will have spectators in the stadium as well as along the tracks.

Blink Battle: Norway and France

After missing last year, the French team returns to Norway for their traditional July training camp culminating with the Blink competitions August 5-7. Despite limited fields, there will be the usual line-up of competitions: the Lysebotn Uphill Rollerski race, followed by two days of biathlon with a super sprint, shooting duels and a mass start all in the Sandnes Arena. This first showdown of the new season between the Norwegian and French teams will be shown live on NRK in Norway and in several other countries. It will be fun to see Johannes line up in the mass start against his nemesis Emilien Jacquelin. At the same time, expect to see Eckhoff and her “partner in crime” Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold take on the French squad that includes veteran Anais Bescond and IBU WCH Sprint Silver medalist Anais Chevalier-Bouchet. However, the big question will be: Will the quick-with-trigger Norwegians led by last year’s runner-up Marte Olsbu Roeiseland or a French challenger like Jacquelin take the shooting duels title? The Blinkfestivalen will be an intriguing appetizer to the summer biathlon season.

Julia Simon Defends at City-Biathlon

City-Biathlon Wiesbaden follows Blink the next weekend on Sunday August 15. This one-day extravaganza will showcase nine men and nine women in their unique six-lap, five shooting stage mass start. Julia Simon and Quentin Fillon Maillet took the top spots last year. This year, Simon returns to defend against last year’s runner-up Marketa Davidova and two-time IBU World Cup Total Score winner Dorothea Wierer and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold while young Janina Hettich will hope to claim the win for the home team Germany.

Boe Brothers Return

The men’s field will be loaded with the Boe brothers as the headliners. Wierer’s teammate Lukas Hofer and German fan favorite Erik Lesser will challenge along with Jakov Fak. 22-year-old Said Karim Khalili in his international rollerski biathlon debut should push the veterans on the tracks and shooting range.

Home Team: High Hopes in Nove Mesto na Moravě

The summer highlight IBU Summer Biathlon World Championships takes center stage two weeks after Wiesbaden in Nove Mesto na Moravě. The IBU’s big summer event returns to the Vysočina Arena August 26-29 for the third time after previous stops in 2011 and 2018. The Czech Republic has high hopes for this edition of the IBU SBWCH after winning 13 medals the last time they hosted in 2018. 2021 IBU 15 km Individual World Champion Davidova and two-time 2019 IBU SBWCH Silver medalist Lucie Charvátová will lead the way for the home team. 2018 Olympic winter Games Sprint Silver medalist Michal Krcmar provides the star power in the men’s competitions

Four Biathlon-packed Days

Besides the home team, other traditional summer powers are expected to send squads that will battle for medals in the super sprint, sprint and pursuit competitions. The action-packed weekend opens with the junior super sprint qualifying and finals on Thursday August 26, followed by the senior super sprints on Friday. Junior and senior sprints fill the Saturday program with Sunday pursuits closing the Championships.

Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival in Annecy

Six days after the IBU SBWCH close, the action shifts to Annecy, France for the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival. This second edition promises to be as spectacular as the first back in 2019 when Fourcade brought in Johannes Thingnes Boe for a mass start duel in the sun that Fourcade won with Benedikt Doll second. Lisa Vittozzi topped the elite women’s field with teammate Dorothea Wierer second in the event’s debut.

This year’s version expects to be just as thrilling with a sterling international field that includes Lisa Theresa Hauser up against French stars like Emilien Jacquelin in a field of eight men and eight women that is currently being released. The Fourcade Festival is the most unique of the summer, with the shooting range and tracks set on the shores of beautiful Lake Annecy, providing a spectacular backdrop. The three-day show event also features a Friday evening concert featuring legendary French singer and song writer Gaëtan Roussel, rollerski competitions and Sunday running biathlons for both children and adults.

Once rollerski biathlon season ends, it will almost be time for the snow to fly and the Olympic season to start.

Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Bjorn Reichert, Marika Godin, Axelar/ Hans Lie/ Hans Petter Støre

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