Goodbye 2013, hello 2014 - Starters for Chaikovskiy
Nordic Combined will welcome the new year of 2014 from Chaikovskiy, Russia but it will be slightly different face of Nordic Combined that spectators and TV audiences will get to see at the first World Cup of the new year. As many teams use the time right after the New Year for a training camp with the focus on the Olympic Games in Sochi, it's the chance for the strong Continental Cup athletes to make an appearance on the World Cup and fight the remaining World Cup athletes for podiums, positions and Olympic qualifications.
For the "Team World Cup", well-known faces like veterans Björn Kircheisen and Willi Denifl as well as Top Ten athlete Lukas Klapfer, USA's Taylor Fletcher and Czech Republic's Miroslav Dvorak will be competing but strong competition is coming from "Team Continental Cup" with Italy's Lukas Runggaldier, Austria's Tomaz Druml and France's Hugo Buffard who claimed a majority of the podium positions of the first COC competitions.
In total, 55 athletes from 15 nations are set to go to Chaikovskiy, give or take a few last minute decisions. For some athletes like Norway's Espen Bjørnstad, Chaikovskiy will be the World Cup debut, for others the chance to get to know the feeling of or return to a podium result or Top Ten rank.
For the Russian home team, it's the first chance to start with a national group this winter. Head coach Dmitriy Dubrovskiy prepared his squad with a last training camp on location of the World Cup from December 25th-28th. So next to jumping sensation Evgeniy Klimov, Viacheslav Barkov, Denis Isaikin, Sergej Djatschuk, Niyaz Nabeev, Ivan Panin, Damir Hinsertdinov and Ernest Yahin are in Chaikovskiy and six of the eight athletes will take part in the World Cup.
Here are the preliminary entries for some of the 15 countries:
GER: Bösl, Kircheisen, Morweiser, Simon, Wasel
AUT: Klapfer, Denifl, Druml, Rehrl, Kammerlander T., Lemmerer, Greiderer
NOR: Storlien O.M., Bjørnstad, Johansen, Kjelbotn
USA: Fletcher T., Denney, Hendrickson, Ward, Loomis
FRA: Buffard, Hannon, Martin, Guy
SLO: Berlot, Oranic
CZE: Dvorak, Portyk, Slavik, Vodsedalek
ITA: Runggaldier L., Bauer, Costa, Michielli
RUS: Klimov, Barkov, Isaikin, Djatschuk, Nabeev, Panin, Hinsertdinov, Yahin