With the first highlight of the young Viessmann FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season coming up in Lillehammer, fans and spectators better buckle up and get ready for what’s to come. The first mini tour of the season, held on two different jumping hills, with two different cross-country distances and three formats, will crown a first winner in an innovative manner - one that includes the first Mass Start held on the World Cup level in almost ten years.
The programme in Lillehammer features a short Individual Gundersen 5 km opening event, in which all athletes are allowed to start - no qualification is held on Thursday (just a PCR).
On Saturday morning all entered athletes will meet at the start line in Birkebeineren stadium to head out on an all-in, no holds barred chase for the fastest cross-country time. Only the 50 fastest athletes will be permitted to start in the following one round of ski jumping in the afternoon that will determine the winner of the day. Similar to the result transfers in the Nordic Combined TRIPLE in recent years, the winner of the cross-country race will start the ski jumping round with 0 points, while the rest of the athletes have to battle minus points.
The last Mass Start on World Cup level took place in Val di Fiemme (ITA) in January 2009 and with Björn Kircheisen (GER), Jan Schmid (NOR) and Bernhard Gruber (AUT), all three podium athletes from back then are still involved in the sport and two still be on location this weekend. Only Schmid and Gruber have chances for a repeat performance, for German B-team Kircheisen, his athletes have to jump into the fray in the future.
On Sunday, a qualification will determine the 50 best jumpers on Lillehammer’s HS 140 large hill and the athletes will battle for the final points of the Lillehammer tour in a normal Individual Gundersen event with 10 km of cross-country skiing. The tour winner is determined by World Cup points: the athlete with the highest amount of points from the three Lillehammer events is the winner of the mini-tour.
Only the Top 3 athletes of each day will receive prize money. The rest will go into an overall pool be distributed to the top 20 athletes of the Lillehammer Tour standings on Sunday, creating an 15.000 CHF boon for the tour winner and 10.000 and 7.500 CHF for ranks two and three.
With the organisers doing tremendous work to prepare both jumping hills and the cross-country track despite less than wintry conditions leading up to the event, the stage is set for a weekend full of new stories, excitement and the fight for the Lillehammer crown.
Lillehammer Tour & Mass Start Rules:
(local times = CET)
10:00 Official training cross-country
16:00 Official training HS 98, two rounds
18:00 HS 98 Provisional Competition Round
10:00 Trial Round HS 98
11:00 IND. GUNDERSEN Competition Round HS 98
14:30 IND. GUNDERSEN 5 km cross-country race
09:30 MASS START 10 km cross-country race
13:15 Trial Round HS 98
14:15 MASS START Competition Round HS 98
08:30 Official Training HS 140
09:30 SJ HS 140 Qualification
10:45 INDIVIDUAL GUNDERSEN Competition Round HS 140
14:05 INDIVIDUAL GUNDERSEN 10 km cross-country race
Timetable subject to change!
2.5 km loop
Total climb: 105 metres
Maximum climb: 29 metres
Height Difference: 43 metres
LAST YEAR’S PODIUM
TE: 1. NOR , 2. GER 3. FRA
IG: 1. Espen Andersen (NOR), 2. Jan Schmid (NOR), 3. Jørgen Graabak (NOR)