First Camps Up and Running, or…Rollerskiing

With a couple of weeks of home training under their belts, many teams gathered for first camps, starting to build the base for success in the upcoming 2024/25 BMW IBU World Cup season.

Sweden in Mallorca

Sweden was the first team out of the blocks, escaping cold, drizzly Scandinavia to sunny Mallorca for a week of rollerskiing and cycling. Taking advantage of the hilly terrain, the team started camp with an uphill rollerski session. By the time they headed home, digital training diaries showed 30 training hours and13,000 meters of climbing.

German Testing Days

The German team went a different direction from many of their rivals, starting the new season with several days of testing in Leipzig. Early season (or actually anytime), these tests fall into the no-fun category, with athletes stretched to the limits on unforgiving treadmills. Still, testing is vital to training, setting benchmarks with numbers that will be revisited, charting fitness improvements as summer and fall progress. The German men and women will get in the full swing with combined camps starting in late June.

Swiss Team in Lenzerheide

Swiss biathlon kicked off their drive to their home 2025 IBU World Championships on their Championships venue at Lenzerheide. The first camp was all about basics: working on shooting fundamentals, volume rollerskiing and the first gym sessions, awakening long-dormant muscle groups. Typical of spring, the weather gods bathed them in sunshine for several days but also drenched the athletes with cold rain for good measure.

French Teams Gather

The French men headed off to a new location on the Atlantic coast in southwestern France for their first get-together. Typical of first camps, the week was about setting the agenda for the coming months, shooting sessions and long cycling tours.

As the men ended their camp, the French ladies gathered for a quick 3-day camp in Ax-les-Bains to kickstart their summer training. Joining the veteran group of Julia Simon, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Lou Jeanmonnot for the first time were “rookies” IBU Cup Total Score winner Oceane Michelon and Jeanne Richard. The women hold their first full-scale camp in Premanon starting on June 10.

Simon Fourcade injured in Cycling Accident

On the final day of the men’s camp, Head Coach Simon Fourcade crashed on a downhill at 40 km/hour, ending up in hospital with three lumbar fractures. Fourcade admitted that “it could have been worse,” but still needs to spend the next couple months recovering at home monitoring training before rejoining the team later in the summer.

Lisa and Co. at Home in Forni Avoltri

World Cup Total Score winner Lisa Vittozzi and her Italian teammates opened their 2024/25 campaign at Vittozzi’s home stadium in Forni Avoltri last week. It probably does not get any better than having a camp basically in your own backyard, so close that you can sleep in your own bed and drive to the stadium in five minutes. Vittozzi and Co. spent their time on the shooting range, rollerskiing, and undergoing testing under the watchful eyes of Coaches Mirco Romanin and Jonne Kähkönen.

The Italian men including the “no-I-did-not-retire” Dorothea Wierer held their first camp at the same time in Chiusa di Pesio in Piedmont with veteran Lukas Hofer and rising star Tommy Giacomel on hand.

Biathlon Meets the Giro d’ Italia

As the Forni Avoltri camp wound down, the Italians got an up-close-and personal look at the Giro d’ Italia when the peloton in Stage 19 swooped into the Carnia Arena for a quick spin around the rollerski loop, before heading to the finish line just up the road in Sappada.

It seems like training started yesterday, but four weeks have passed; now, it’s full speed ahead with summer and a lot of hard work on the agenda!

Photos: IBU/Nordic Focus, Sara Andersson, Quentin Fillon Maillet

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