Welcome to FasterSkier’s World Cup Preview, where we check in with the top-10 teams from last year’s FIS Cross Country World Cup tour before the season starts with the Ruka weekend in Kuusamo, Finland, on Nov. 24 with a classic sprint.
Overall in Nations Cup Last Year: 8th
Women’s Ranking 2017/2018:
Men’s Ranking 2017/2018:
Germans to look out for: If there’s one woman returning to Germany’s national ski team from last season who is hungry for a sprint podium and on the watch list, it’s 28-year-old, Sandra Ringwald. The Lahti, Finland freestyle sprint left her in fourth, just shy of her first World Cup podium. Prior to Lahti, she raced to a seventh and sixth, respectively, in the Davos and Lenzerheide freestyle sprints.
While freestyle sprinting may appear to be the magnum opus of Ringwald’s cross-country skiing, she also finished last season with top thirty performances in a series of other disciplines, most notably a 12th place finish in the Tour de Ski 10-kilometer freestyle pursuit in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She led the German women in last year’s Overall Cup Standings, finishing in 23rd behind Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and ahead of Sweden’s Anna Jönsson Haag.
Chasing down Ringwald on the Overall Cup Standings is her teammate, Stefanie Böhler who ended last season ranked 25th in the overall. The 37-year-old Böhler raced into the top ten three times during last year’s World Cup season, holding out for eighth in Oslo, Norway’s famed Holmenkollen 30 k.
Along with Böhler and Ringwald, Germans Victoria Carl, Nicole Fessel, and Katharina Hennig scored points in the 2017/2018 season and are back on the team, ready to hit the World Cup circuit in search of more top thirties. Not returning to German’s national cross-country ski team after announcing her retirement this spring is Hanna Kolb.
Leading the charge on the men’s side for Germany will be Thomas Bing. The 28-year-old Bing ended last season with five top fifteen World Cup performances, his strongest being a ninth place in the Tour de Ski 15 k freestyle mass start in Oberstdorf, Germany. Along with Bing, Lucas Bögl is another name to look for from Germany. Bögl bust into the top-25 five times last season, most notably the Final Climb in the Tour de Ski 9 k pursuit in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Pre-Season Racing: Many German National team members are lined up at the FIS races in Olos, Finland scheduled from Nov. 9-11. In Friday’s 1.4 k classic sprint, Ringwald and Laura Gimmler placed first and third respectively. Gimmler had limited World Cup exposure last season, but notched two top-20s.
For the men, Bing was the best placed German in the sprint placing third overall.
In Saturday’s 5 k classic, the German women stacked five athletes in the top-6. Carl placed first, Hennig second, and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk was third. Also for Germany, Julia Belger skied to fourth, Pia Fink fifth, and Böhler sixth.
The men raced a 10 k classic. Jonas Dobler raced to 6th as the best placed German.
Sunday featured a 10 k skate for the women. Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva won, while Carl was second, Ringwald third.
In the men’s 15 k skate, Dobler was the best placed German in fifth place.