First this season the World Cup went to Canada for the first time in ten years, now the FIS World Cup Cross Country is also going to Asia. The final World Cup competitions will take place in Asia, in Changchun (CHN) and Sapporo (JPN).
Tobias Angerer from Germany has confirmed his overall World Cup victory on the men’s side but who will be the overall World Cup winner on the women’s side? That will be an exciting duel between Marit Bjoergen (overall World Cup winner in 2005; 886 points) and Beckie Scott (Canada, 840 points). Julija Tchepalova (Russia, 756 points), the confirmed winner of this year’s distance World Cup, also still has a chance with two individual races remaining on the schedule (Sprint race in Changchun and Pursuit race in Sapporo).
This will be the first time that a FIS Cross-Country World Cup competition will be held in China. Changchun, a town with 7,12 million inhabitants in the Jilin Province in northeast of China will organize the Sprint final of the World Cup season 2005-2006. The competition venue will be held at an outdoor sport stadium that is used for Track & Field in the summer.
China is an emerging Cross-Country skiing nation, with almost 120 million people living in winter regions, where skiing has been gaining popularity in the past years. The City of Changchun has become the heart and center of this development. Two invitational Sprint competitions have been organized there in the last two years, and the Chinese Vasaloppet over 50 km was organized for the fourth time this year.
The Cross-Country season will be closed this year with the Pre-World Championships in Sapporo (Japan). The capital of Hokkaido organized the Olympic Winter Games in 1972 and the last FIS World Cup Cross Country races there took place in 1995 with the winners Elena Vaelbe (RUS) and Bjoern Daehlie (NOR). The athletes will have the chance to test the courses at the Shirahatayama Cross-Country Stadium in the Team Sprint and the Pursuit race. The 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will be held there from 22nd of February to 4th of March 2007.
Program and starting times of the next World Cups (all times in CET):
Wednesday, March 15th Changchun Sprint F women & men 11:00 am
Saturday, March 18th Sapporo Team Sprint F women & men 06:00 am
Sunday, March 19th Sapporo Pursuit 7,5 km C + 7,5 km F women 04:00 am Sunday, March 19th Sapporo Pursuit 15 km C + 15 km F men 05.30 am
For further information about each competition:
Overall World Cup standings:
Women: 1. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 886 points, (World Cup winner 04/05)
2. Beckie Scott (CAN) 840 points
3. Julija Tchepalova (RUS 756 points
Men: 1. Tobias Angerer (GER) 805 points
2. Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) 558 points
3. Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR) 537 points
Overall World Cup winner 04/05: Axel Teichmann (GER)
Distance World Cup standing:
Women: 1. Julija Tchepalova (RUS) 726 points
2. Katerina Neumannova (CZE) 610 points
3. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 529 points, (Di. World Cup winner 04/05)
With one race remaining, Julija Tchepalova has confirmed victory
Men: 1. Tobias Angerer (GER) 769 points — confirmed winner
2. Vincent Vittoz (FRA) 482 points
3. Jens Arne Svartedal (NOR) 332 points
Distance World Cup winner 04/05: Axel Teichmann (GER)
Sprint World Cup standing:
Women: 1. Ella Gjoemle (NOR) 328 points
2. Beckie Scott (CAN) 296 points
3. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) 294 points, (Spr. World Cup winner 04/05)
Men: 1. Bjoern Lind (SWE) 536 points
2. Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) 399 points, (Spr. World Cup winner 04/05)
3. Peter Larsson (SWE) 354 points
With one race remaining, Bjoern Lind has confirmed victory
Current information about the World Cup standings (overall, distance, sprint and nations) can be found at: www.fis-ski.com