The countdown to the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf begins. From 24th February to 7th March, the world elite of Cross-Country skiing will meet in the south of Germany. After an intensive World Cup season, the focus is now on the World Champion titles to be awarded.
The competition schedule is set and will begin traditionally with the qualification race of 5km/10km F on Wednesday, 24th February.
Sharing the emotions, success and defeats of athletes with the crowd of spectators has always been an extraordinary experience at World Ski Championships and it will be dearly missed this year, as no spectators are allowed to attend the events given the current global health situation. However, we are looking forward to share stories from behind the scenes with you on TV and online on our Social Media channels, as the full line up of the world’s best Cross-Country skiers will meet again on the start line. Who will perform at their best to fulfill their goals and who will rise above all expectations?
Thursday, 25th February SPRINT C
Current Sprint World Champions: Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR)
Time for the Sprint stars to shine. Since last years World Cup test race on the new course set of Oberstdorf, it was clear that the Sprint will be a demanding competition. Natalia Nepryaeva (RSF), Anamarija Lampic (SLO) and Jessie Diggins (USA) conquered the podium last year.
All three athletes have indeed shown remarkable performances also throughout the current season and are definitely eyeing to repeat their success. However, especially Natalia Nepryaeva will decide on short notice, at which competitions she will take place, as she suffered a fraction on her hand after a fall in Falun, SWE only one month ago and had to undergo surgery.
With Linn Svahn, Maja Dahlqvist, Jonna Sundling and more contenders of the strong Swedish team lined up, the Sprint heats are promising to be spectacular ones.
On the mens side, it is the current Sprint World Cup leader Federico Pellegrino (ITA) who has set his main goal on the World Champion title in Sprint. But likewise the womens starter field, the mens competition will remain open for exciting heats as the list of possible contenders is long. On top is last years winner, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) and his team colleague Erik Valnes, who scored his first individual World Cup victory at the beginning of this season in Ruka – also in Sprint C. In the game will of course also be the strong squad from France, led by Lucas Chanavat and Richard Jouve, as well as the current second placed in the Sprint World Cup ranking, Gleb Retivyhk (RSF) and many more.
Saturday, 27th February SKIATHLON
Current Skiathlon World Champions: Therese Johaug (NOR) and Sjur Røthe (NOR)
A promising competition awaits on the re-designed Skiathlon course setting which also has been tested by the World Cup Cross-Country family during last years pre-test races. Current World Champion Therese Johaug celebrated a victory in 2020 but will face a strong field of contenders. Amongst others, Ebba Andersson (SWE), Jessie Diggins (USA), Teresa Stadlober (AUT), Natalia Nepryaeva (RSF) and athletes by the Norwegian team with Heidi Weng and Marie Helene Fossesholm.
A thrilling test race saw Alexander Bolshunov (RSF) take a victory in 2020 before Simen Hegstad Krüger and reigning World Champion Sjur Røthe from Norway. In the current World Cup seasons only Skiathlon in Lahti, it was also Norwegian athletes who took the lead, all up front, Emil Iversen and Sjur Røthe before Paal Golberg.
Sunday, 28th February TEAM SPRINT
Current Team Sprint World Champions: Stina Nilsson and Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) & Emil Iversen and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR)
Six rounds of exhausting 1.2km await the team sprint competitors in the hunt for the titles of World Champions. Impressive and well combined teamwork has been shown throughout the current season by many teams. Team Switzerland with Laurien van der Graaff and Nadine Fähndrich for example scored their first victory at Dresden World Cup and repeated their podium spot with a third place recently in Ulricehamn. Vice versa in terms of positions celebrated team Slovenia with Anamarija Lampic and Eva Urevc.
The mens most successful combination in the Team Sprint of the last World Ski Championships – Emil Iversen and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo will both attend the upcoming Championships and might be sent on the quest to repeat their victory. But with many talented Sprinters in line, the place will be hard to work for. Amongst others, the Italian combination of Federico Pellegrino and Francesco De Fabiani as well as the French team with Lucas Chanavat and Richard Jouve will be on the heels, in the fight for the titles.
The team Sprint combinations will only be official with the start lists after the respective Team Captains meeting will be published.
Tuesday, 2nd March Ind. 10km F
Current ind. 10km World Champion: Therese Johaug (NOR)
Will Therese Johaug be able to defend her title? Current World Cup leader, Distance World Cup leader AND Tour de Ski winner Jessie Diggins (USA) is up for the challenge and has repeatedly shown her incredible ability to pull all her energy until the last stretch on the finish line. In the latest 10km F in Falun, Diggins managed to beat Johaug with a tight margin of 2.1 seconds. Ebba Andersson (SWE), Yulia Stupak (RSF), Frida Karlsson (SWE) and Rosie Brennan (USA) who are no strangers to 10km F podiums this year, as well as many more athletes who know the drill on pacing their own, intelligent race, keep all cards open for exciting individual competitions.
Wednesday, 3rd March Ind. 15km F
Current ind. 15km World Champion: Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR)
This season World Cup Overall and Tour de Ski winner Alexander Bolshunov (RSF), who additionally holds the lead in the Distance World Cup has his eyes set on the distance competitions at the World Championships. Bolshunov, who won all the individual 15km F in the current season will however see a large competitor field raising up to fight for the top spots. From his own nation, Ivan Yakimushkin will eye with a podium spot as he showed a consistent performance throughout the Tour de Ski as well as Sergey Ustiugov, who joined the season just recently after recovering from a Covid-19 infection. As in the Skiathlon, the Norwegians Krüger, Røthe as well as Hans Christer Holund will go all in for the distance competitions.
Thursday, 4th Relay women
Current Relay World Champions: Sweden
Celebrating with - and dedicating the success to all who work behind the scenes. Packed with emotions, the success at Relay competitors depends on many factors where in the end, teamwork makes dream work and will bring the title of World Champions. Will team Sweden find the right composition to defend their title and who will be their biggest competitors?
Friday, 5th Relay men
Current Relay World Champions: Norway
With a strong team performance, the Norwegian Relay team took the victory at the World Championships in Seefeld with a grand margin of 38 seconds. Will this years decision be as set or will another team take the pace setting role and be rewarded with a gold medal?
Saturday, 6th March 30km C Mst
Current 30km Mst World Champion: Therese Johaug (NOR)
The crowning event for the distance competitors at the World Ski Championships. Setting off as a mass start, who will do the leading work and set the pace and who will take the chance to attack from the back? Frida Karlsson (SWE) will surely remember her glorious victory over Therese Johaug (NOR) in last seasons final World Cup event at the prestigious 30km C Holmenkollen race but will have to hold off many strong athletes to take in top spots. Ready to shine in her home country will also be Katharina Hennig (GER) who has shown great racing in Classic technique as well as persistent skiing in distance competitions.
Sunday, 7th March 50km C Mst
Current 50km Mst World Champion: Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
The mens 50km C Mst will mark the grand finals of the Nordic World Ski Championships Cross-Country competitions. Hans Christer Holund could not believe his success after claiming his World Champion title in Seefeld 2019. Will he be able to defend his title or have to give way to one of his competitors?
The #roadtooberstdorf2021 has been long and demanding. Especially with the current circumstances it has been an extraordinary journey for everyone involved. FIS Cross-Country wishes all athletes best of luck to fulfill their expectations and would like to thank each and everyone involved, from the organizers to the community of Oberstdorf, all officials behind the scenes and many more, for their dedication to make the Nordic World Championship happen in 2021.