The Red Group consists of the top 30 distance and sprint racers in the world. It is based on World Cup points from the previous four World Cup periods. The Red Group rankings are extremely important, in that the race organizer must pay the travel and living costs (accommodation, food, etc) for every athlete in the Red Group. Expenses must also be covered for a maximum of one coach per nation and sex, if there are three or more athletes per sex in the Red Group List for that nation. Obviously, this can amount to significant savings for National programs.
The Red Group is not used for seeding purposes. The current World Cup ranking list, updated after every World Cup event, is used to seed the top 30 competitors in every event. This is somewhat confusing as this group is often referred to as the “Red Group” during race commentary. Technically this group should be referred to as the “Seeded Group.”
This recently released list will be used for the first period of next year’s World Cup, and features some exciting North American additions. Torin Koos, with a storng finish to his seaon, climbed on to the men’s sprint list, and Alex Harvey joined the top 30 in men’s distance.
It is worth noting that Red Group lists include points from the World Championships in Liberec. The Liberec races do not count toward the World Cup standings however.
North American Athletes in the Red Group
13. Andy Newell USA
27. Torin Koos (USA)
Devon Kershaw (CAN) is the next closest North American in 39th. Kershaw is in the distance Red Group.
14. Kikkan Randall (USA)
This is the second consecutive Red Group for Kikkan after falling out of the top 30 for one period.
Sara Renner (CAN) is 45th but is in the distance Red Group.
Finland is top top team with 6 athletes in the Red Group. Sweden has 5 and Norway 4.
19. Devon Kershaw (CAN)
24. Alex Harvey (CAN)
26. Ivan Babikov (CAN)
Kris Freeman is the first US skier on the list in 40th place with 106 points, 54 points out of 30th. Had Freman not had his season cut short due to surgery, he would have had a shot to crack the top-30, especially given how he was skiing.
18. Sara Renner (CAN)
Liz Stephen is 44th with 37 points.