The FIS Continental Cup (COC) series all over the world are some of the most important international competitions, also in Cross-Country Skiing. They allow the younger athletes to prepare themselves for the World Cup level in several ways. Nine different COC series in Cross-Country are held in the different parts of the world where Cross-Country Skiing is a top level competitive sport. Some of those during the Northern hemisphere winter period include the OPA Cup (Central Europe), the Scandinavian Cup as well as the US Super Tour.
The OPA Cup was a great success this season. 21 events at 9 different venues in five countries took place. The winners of this Cup, and therefore holders of a fixed starting place during the first World Cup period next season, are Italians Silvia Rupil and Florian Kostner. Rupil won the OPA Cup ladies’ ranking 156 points ahead of Laura Orgue (SPA) and 181 points ahead of the Swiss skier Ursina Badilatti. Kostner defended his overall victory from the season before, 6 points ahead of his teammate Fulvio Scola whilst Benoit Chauvet (FRA) finished third, 271 points behind the winner.
In the Scandinavian Cup, 5 different venues with a total of 10 competitions formed the series. Norwegians dominated the top of the standings having seven skiers in the men’s top 10, and six athletes among the top 8 on the ladies’ side. Roger Aa Djupvik (NOR), the brother of the World Cup coach Morten Aa Djupvik, and Sara Svendsen (NOR) clearly won the overall rankings. The runner-up on the men’s side, 83 points behind Djupvik, was his teammate Geir Ludvig Aasen Ouren whilst Jesper Modin (SWE) ranked third, 178 points behind the winner. On the ladies side, Norwegians Kristin Mürer Stemland (2nd place) and Agnetha Asheim (3rd place) rounded out the podium.
The US SuperTour just concluded with the final competitions in Fairbanks (USA) last weekend. The winners of the series are Kristina Strandberg (SWE), who had her World Cup debut just a few weeks ago in Lahti, and Lars Flora from the USA.
The next Continental Cup series will kick off in July/August in the Southern hemisphere.
Overview of the Northern hemisphere Continental Cup series winners:
OPA: Silvia Rupil , Florian Kostner (both ITA)
Scandinavian Cup: Sara Svendsen, Roger Aa Djupvik (both NOR)
NorAm : Daria Gaiazova , David Nighbor (both CAN)
Slavic Cup: Mariusz Michalek (POL), Kamila Rajdlova (CZE)
Eastern European Cup: Olga Mikhailova, Stanislav Volzhentsev (both RUS)
Far East Cup: Chisa Obayashi,Tomio Kanamaru (both JPN)
Balkan Cup: Kelime Cetinkaya (TUR), Paul Pepene (ROU)
US Super Tour: Kristina Strandberg (SWE), Lars Flora (USA)