Final IBU Cup 8 in Martell with Mass Start 60 Premiere
The IBU Cup circuit has moved to Martell, Italy for the last stop of the season, where the final competitions and awarding of the Globes will take place. Additionally, there will be one more important happening; the introduction of a new discipline, the mass start 60.
Mass Start 60
The competition, just presented at the 2018 IBU Congress, is not just an exciting one, but can become a good option for lower level event series such as the IBU Cup and IBU Junior Cup that have big fields. The new format's test will be held on the final day, 17 March, for 60 athletes, where the top 10 of the IBU Cup Total Score will be qualified directly and the 50 remaining spots will be field in according to the results of the previous day's sprint competition . The cup scoring points go only to the IBU Cup Total Score.
As in the traditional mass start, the men will cover the distance of 15 km (6x2.5km), while a course length for the women will be 12 km (6x2km). IBU Sports Director Felix Bitterling explained how the competition will be conducted. “60 athletes will start simultaneously; after the first loop, bibs 31-60 go into the range for their first shooting, while bibs 1-30 go out on the track for another loop without shooting. After this, the procedure is vice versa: bibs 31-60 will proceed to the course without shooting, while bibs 1-30 will have their first prone. After these two groups conducted their first shooting, the competition will be organized as in a pursuit.”
Ingela Andersson of Sweden is very excited about the Mass Start 60. “I am really looking forward to it because I like this kind of competitions, with a lot of people on the track, head-to-head fights... We will see how it works for the first time but I think it will be exciting.” The Swedish leader of the IBU Cup Sprint Score, also commented about her battle for the small discipline Globe. “Yes, I am leading at the moment but we still have two sprints coming up here! I will try to focus on every race and for sure to do as good as I can.”
Personal Start Quota
With two sprint competitions to go, Andersson’s advantage over the second-place Victoria Slivko of Russia is just 15 points. Slivko, who has already secured the IBU Cup Pursuit Score this season, is also battling for the IBU cup Total Score. The gap to her closest rival, Germany’s Nadine Horchler is 78 points. The Russian will do her best to take this win, which, under the new rules, will provide her an additional personal start quota at the first World Cup the following year.
In the men’s field, another Russian athlete Anton Babikov, who has also already won the IBU Cup Pursuit Score, keeps the lead in the Sprint Score. For the moment, the gap to second-placed teammate Korastylev is 17 points. Besides that, Babikov also has a confident 104-point lead in the IBU CupTotal Score with Korastylev following him in second. Babikov commented on his battle for the overall title. “I don’t feel any extra pressure because of that and try not to think about it. I have a good gap from the second place, so I just want to perform good and to be in a good shape during this week and for the final WC stage in Oslo.”
The competition program will kick off with the first sprints on Thursday, followed by the second sprints on Saturday, and mass start 60, closing the IBU Cup season 2018/2019, on Sunday. All times in CET.
14 March, Thursday
10:00 Sprint Men
13:00 Sprint Women
16 March, Saturday
10:00 Sprint Men
13:00 Sprint Women
17 March, Sunday
10:00 Mass Start 60 Men
12:30 Mass Start 60 Women
Photos: IBU/Harald Deubert