Welcome to World Cup Windup, where we check in with the top-10 teams from last year’s FIS Cross Country World Cup tour before the season starts with the Ruka Triple in Kuusamo, Finland, on Nov. 24.
Overall in Nations Cup Last Year: Seventh
Women’s Ranking 2016/2017: Sixth
Men’s Ranking 2016/2017: Ninth
Nicole Fessel and Steffi Boehler, top-20 in the World Cup distance standings; sprint finalist Sandra Ringwald; Victoria Carl and Katharina Hennig, who joined Ringwald and Boehler to finish second in the World Cup relay in Ulricehamn; Florian Notz, Elizabeth Schicho, Laura Gimmler, and Thomas Bing, each of whom had a single World Cup top-10 last season, and Hanna Kolb, who had two.
Veteran sprinter Tim Tscharnke retired partway through the summer. The 2010 Olympic team sprint medalist has struggled with back problems and finally called it quits. “The last three years of my career were riddled with many mediocre months, punctuated by health problems and athletic setbacks,” he said.
Earlier this month in Davos, Switzerland, Thomas Bing won a sprint race and Laura Gimmler was the runner-up in the women’s race. Katharina Hennig and Steffi Boehler went 2-3 in a distance race.
After being sick in both August and September, Florian Notz is aiming for a World Cup debut in Davos in December, not earlier. “I did not have any real training for two to three months,” he told Südwest Press. “That’s why Kuusamo is too early for me… I have set myself as a goal, that I want to attack fully [in Davos]. I am still optimistic that I can be in shape by then. But of course, everything has to go right.” If not, Olympic qualifying will be tricky.
Lucas Bögl is among the athletes joining the new “Athleten für Deutschland” athlete union, which was recently founded as an independent alternative to the athletes’ council run by the German Olympic Committee. The head of the German Olympic Committee is not a fan, saying basically that athletes trying to make demands will only bring problems upon themselves. Bögl disagreed. “The club should help the athletes commission and support the athletes,” he told OBV-online. “That should be in the interest of everyone involved.” He also said: “Cross-country skiing is not something you do for the money, it’s more of a way of life. I have turned my sport into a profession. I feel privileged that I don’t have to sit in an office. I can do that for a long time after my career is over.”
Sandra Ringwald, who just missed making the 2014 Olympic team for Germany, and is particularly focused on 2018 Games this winter. “I want to fulfill my Olympic dream and be in PyeongChang,” she told the Südkurier newspaper in an interview. “However, I’m going easy on the whole thing. In the past few years I have often set my goals too high… I’m not working just for Olympic qualification. My aim is to play a good role in the World Cup as well. I want to show what I can do at the very first races.”
Best Social Media Presence:
Steffi Boehler is a consistent Instagram poster, and also includes some of her artwork along with training and daily-life pictures.
Sprinter Sebastian Eisenlauer also posts gorgeous training shots:
As does Jonas Dobler.