IBU Announces Start Times for Winter 2019/2020

IBU Announces Start Times for Winter 2019/2020

The moment the whole biathlon family eagerly awaits each year has arrived. The provisional start times for the upcoming season have been announced.

The BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2019/2020 will open in Östersund (SWE) on the weekend 30 November/1 December 2019. Unlike in previous years, the opening weekend will start on Saturday with a Single Mixed Relay and Mixed Relay, followed by two Sprint races on Sunday.

The highlight of the season, the IBU World Championships Biathlon in Antholz (ITA), will take place on 12-23 February, with most competitions scheduled for the afternoon.

Just like in the previous winter, the season will come to a close in Oslo-Holmenkollen (NOR), with the final mass starts taking place on 22 March 2020.

The full schedule can be found here.

IBU Announces Start Times for Winter 2019/2020

IBU Race Director World Cup Borut Nunar explained the compilation of the calendar and the provisional start times: 

“Creating a calendar that comprises starting times which satisfy all interests is like a puzzle with lots of pieces. We are always talking to the coaches of the World Cup teams first to make sure we have a clear perspective from the sports side. Consequently, we enter into discussions with the European Broadcasting Union, the individual broadcasters and the organising committees in order to find the best setup for the fans.”

Speaking about the differences of this season from previous years, Nunar added:

“This year we have four races, including two sprints, on the first World Cup weekend. Further, we have three instead of four competition days in Hochfilzen and Oslo due to travel times. Generally, for future seasons IBU is working with its stakeholders to find a better solution on the format of our Season Opening."

In response to fans and biathlon family members’ questions about why there are no fixed start times running through the season, Nunar said:

“Our main goal is to have the highest possible visibility for our sport across all channels and in many territories. Thus, we are trying to avoid clashes with other winter sport prime events and need to stay flexible. This is why we have calendar meetings with broadcasters sponsors and other winter sports federations. You also have to take into account natural and logistical circumstances. Daylight hours vary widely between November and March and between Scandinavia and middle Europe. Some venues have lights on the course, others don’t. We also have to take into account travel times to other venues after competitions on Sunday. It is truly a puzzle which requires flexibility.”