Chat with the FIS Race Directors: Pierre Mignerey

27 November 2013 14:44
Pierre Mignerey
Pierre Mignerey -

On the eve of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup opening in Finland’s Kuusamo, FIS Cross-Country Race Director Pierre Mignerey shared his insights on the upcoming season.

This week, the 2013/14 World Cup season presented by Viessmann gets underway. What are you looking forward to? 

The 2013/14 season is going to be extraordinary. In February 2014, the Olympic Winter Games are taking place and all sights will be on Sochi. It is going to be a true season highlight!

During the FIS Cross-Country World Cup itself, I hope to see similarly exciting fights from the very beginning until the end of the season.

Kuusamo will open the season with the traditional three-day stage event “Ruka Triple”. What can we expect?

We are going to have great winter conditions in Kuusamo and from the host broadcaster we can expect great TV pictures.

For the first time, Kuusamo is hosting the FIS Cross-Country World Cup opener. Unlike previous seasons when we had distance and relay competitions on the first World Cup weekend, in Kuusamo the best sprinters and distance skiers will meet and compete. Last weekend, several national events  already took place across Scandinavia and it will be interesting to see where the athletes stand in their first competition of the season. There is always a lot of excitement before the World Cup start.

How does the first World Cup period look like?

Norway’s Lillehammer, the second stage of our World Cup is one of the most critical stops so far. Half of the competition courses are already covered with snow. The Organising Committee is working hard to be ready and snow production is running almost 24 hours a day. In central Europe, the first snow has arrived, and it is already possible to ski in Davos, for example, with good conditions.

Are there any important rules changes for the upcoming winter?

Since the last World Cup season only a few changes have been made. The most important one concerns the number of bonus seconds in sprint stages of short stage-events, such as the Ruka Triple or World Cup Final. The number of bonus seconds for the sprint victory has been reduced to 30, the runner up will receive 27 and the third place finisher 24.

In the International Competition Rules, the biggest update deals with the change of corridors. It basically says that in sections of the course with marked corridors, the competitors must choose and ski within the chosen corridor. He or she can change corridors as long as there is no obstruction to other competitors.

The Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are about to begin in a few months. What is the status there?

The course construction is to be finished in the next week and the courses will be homologated. Also the construction process of the stadium and other installations will soon be completed. We hope that the first snowfall arrives in early December. I believe Sochi will be ready to host the Games. 

Next to the Olympic Winter Games, the eighth edition of the FIS Tour de Ski will be another true season highlight. What is the biggest news? 

The last FIS Tour de Ski was one of the best Tours ever. The upcoming Tour is going to be very similar with two main differences. There will be two Tour stages in Lenzerheide (SUI), which makes its’ Tour debut. We can look forward to a very good track for the mass start competition. Secondly, the end of the Tour will include a full programme of three competition days in a row. It will make the final phase even more challenging and important for the overall results on the top of Alpe Cermis (ITA). Nevertheless, each year the Tour is different and interesting. That's probably one of the reasons why it has become so popular and successful.