Here are the basic rules for this week’s World Cup finals in Québec. It’s a three race series: a sprint, a classic mass start, and freestyle pursuit for the final stage.
We’ll get to the import of the World Cup points on offer in a moment and why they add some tension to the weekend. This much is clear: the final standings for the men’s and women’s overall World Cup remain close as does the women’s sprint cup.
But first, let’s start with understanding time bonuses at Québec’s World Cup finals.
The top-30 ranked skiers in Friday’s sprint earn time bonuses. The bonuses are subtracted from the athlete’s “race” time. (Time bonuses are listed below for the sprint.)
A single intermediate time bonus for the women’s 10 k mass start classic will be awarded on Saturday. The men’s 15 k mass start classic features two intermediate time bonuses. The FIS rules state, “Bonus seconds will be 15, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 seconds for the first ten athletes at a designated intermediate point.”
Again, those seconds, or time bonuses, are subtracted from an athlete’s race time and then the overall time is calculated. Sunday’s skate pursuit — for both men and women — is a straight up pursuit. Meaning, the athlete with the fastest overall time is the first racer off. No time bonuses are available.
World Cup points will be awarded for each race over the weekend. The points for the sprint and mass start are clear. Points go to the top-30 finishers. And the points earned go towards both the specific discipline category, sprint cup or distance cup, and towards the overall World Cup standings. For the final day’s pursuit, the points are allocated by elapsed race time — you might know this as fastest time of the day. The top-30 fastest racers, which again is determined by elapsed time on course, get the points. They go towards the distance cup and overall standings.
(Below are the points for 1st-30th place in the sprint, mass start, and fastest time of day in the pursuit.)
The World Cup final’s grand prize are the points earned for the overall standings determined after the last stage. It’s a pursuit, so the first skier across the line is the overall winner. The winner will be awarded 200 points, second place 180, and so on. (See overall points below.)
So what’s all the fuss? The final weekend, as Chad Salmela keenly tweeted, brings with it some crystal still up for grabs. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo leads Alexander Bolshunov of Russia by 14 points in the men’s overall standings.
For the women, Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg has gapped Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva by 97 points for the overall. And the women’s standings for the sprint cup are tight too. Stina Nilsson of Sweden leads Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla by 33 points.
Look for some spicy racing this weekend.