After hosting only two thirds of the planned IBU Cups during the previous season, the IBU, following strict safety measures, is ready to bring the IBU Cup back with a full season: eight IBU Cup events plus the cherry on top, the IBU Open European Championships. What is even more exciting, the IBU Cup is the opening act of the 2021-22 IBU biathlon season.
Back in Scandinavia
Due to the cancellation of the first trimester of the previous IBU Cup season, the athletes said goodbye to the beloved Scandinavian venues making this year even more special to go and visit the places where the snow is expected to cover the tracks the earliest. Kristjan Oja, the IBU Cup Race Director confirms that snow has always been the number one reason for starting the season amongst the Vikings. “Snow conditions in Scandinavia are usually good already in the beginning of the season making us confident that the competitions will be held on great tracks. Also speaking in favour of Idre and Sjusjoen is the fact that both venues are hosting international biathlon competitions just two weeks prior to the IBU Cup kick-off. This means they are fully prepared by the time the IBU Cup arrives at their venues,” Oja explained. Interesting fact: since the IBU Cup kicks off before the BMW World Cup, some World Cup athletes will possibly make their season opening starts at the Idre IBU Cup.
Right after Idre and Sjusoen, the time will come for Obertilliach to host yet another IBU Cup. Having hosted an IBU Cup and the IBU Youth and Junior World Championships during the previous season, the organizing committee is ready for the last IBU Cup of the first trimester.
Second trimester schedule change
After the Christmas break, the series travels to Slovakia, where Brezno-Osrblie will host the fourth and fifth IBU Cups. After the IBU was informed that Duzsniki-Zdroj would be unable to host an event this season, Brezno-Osrblie replaced the Polish venue, resulting in the two weeks in Slovakia. “We were looking for a solution that would make the life of the teams easier regarding the logistics and the ongoing Covid-19 situation. Staying in one place for two weeks instead of travelling for additional thousands of kilometers was the main argument for granting Brezno-Osrblie the additional competition and we appreciate the efforts of the OC Brezno-Osrblie to host two IBU Cup events in January” said Oja.
The highlight of the IBU Cup season, the IBU Open European Championships, will be the final competition of the second trimester. After hosting two consecutive IBU Cup competitions last season, Arber is ready to hand out the medals to this year’s European Champions. With an expanded stadium and spectator area, the OECH is ready to invite the fans back to the stadium to cheer on the champions-to-be.
A high-quality final note
This season's final three weeks will wrap up in well-established biathlon venues. Nove Mesto, who organized the 2021 IBU Summer World Championships, Lenzerheide - the host of the 2020 Youth and Junior World Championships and Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, an anchor for the IBU Cup competitions throughout the years, will show biathlon in its best and most exciting form.
The IBU Cup 2021-22 season:
23.11 – 28.11 – IBU Cup Idre, Sweden
29.11 – 4.12 – IBU Cup Sjusjoen, Norway
14.12 – 19.12 – IBU Cup Obertilliach, Austria
5.01 – 9.01 – IBU Cup Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia
11.01 – 15.01 – IBU Cup Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia
24.01-30.01 – IBU Open European Championships, Arber, Germany
01.02- 5.02 – IBU Cup Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
28.02 – 6.03 – IBU Cup Lenzerheide, Switzerland
8.03 – 13.03 – IBU Cup Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy
Photos: Osolodkina, Deubert / IBU