With the start of the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup season, it’s time for JÃ¼rg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country to look forward to the new season.
FIS Newsflash: What do you expect from this season?
JÃ¼rg Capol: “First of all, I hope for snow which means that winter activities can be undertaken and that people enjoy the winter. At the same time, it means that our World Cup organizers are able to carry out their competitions and have back-up options. Of course, the season’s highlight is the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec (CZE). Since it will be the first time in the independent Czech Republic, the Championships in Liberec will attract a lot of people. On the World Cup level I believe that we will have an open fight for the titles until the end of the season. Especially with the World Cup final, which will include four competitions for the first time, there are still a large number of World Cup points that can be won during the last three World Cup weekends. Moreover, I expect a number of “youngsters” coming up, ready to fight to win, whilst the “oldies” try to remain successful. Last year, we had record of 19 nations on the podium; I don't think that we want to have fewer this season.”
FIS Newsflash: Is there something particular this season?
JÃ¼rg Capol: Many of our World Cup organizers now offer unique experiences and that feels so good that new partners would like to be more strongly involved. I think Cross-Country will take another step forward this season: just think how we are right in the middle of developments that emphasize themes such as the environment, hybrid cars, health, and fitness. All these elements fit optimally to the sport of Cross-Country, and offer us the chance to develop the discipline further. We have created highlights taking place throughout the season and this will help Cross-Country get a larger audience and more media attention.
FIS Newsflash: What is new for this season?
JÃ¼rg Capol: “At the World Cup level, the Tour de Ski will finally be carried out in three nations of the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany where Oberhof (GER) is a newcomer to the Tour and the entire region of supports the Tour opening 100 %. This cooperation is already set to until at least the 2012/13 season. We did some fine-tuning on the World Cup and Tour de Ski rules and the World Cup final rules are 100 % based on the Tour rules. What is new this season are the bonus World Cup points in Trondheim (NOR), during the mass start long distance races over 30 km (ladies) and 50 km (men). At approximately each 8 km, the top three athletes can win World Cup points (15 points -10 points — 5 points) which means that the one day maximum for the men could be 175 World Cup points for one person.”
FIS Newsflash: How does the future look for Cross-Country?
JÃ¼rg Capol: “We will continue with our long-term World Cup planning, which includes the integration of the Rocky Mountains starting by 2012 with a new highlight event dubbed the Rocky Mountain Challenge. This will entail all the teams travelling by train from Calgary to Vancouver and carrying out competitions along the way. The Cross-Country World Cup branding will get a new focus with new elements which will make it attractive. On the other hand, we have to draft an overall Cross-Country strategy to motivate people to ski. The time is right to start this by combining the influence of all related partners and key individuals.”