The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup will start into the 2021/22 season in a familiar way: With a Nordic weekend far up north.
Close to the polar circle, the Finnish ski resort welcomes the Nordic Combined Men for the 20th time.
Ruka has earned itself a reputation as one of the most exciting, but also difficult venues.
With a HS142, it’s the largest hill on our World Cup calendar, that is often very windy, while temperatures can drop to -20°C.
With volatile conditions, the venue had its fair share of surprise winners: Magnus Krog (NOR) set his maiden victory here in 2011, Espen Andersen (NOR) surprised onlookers with his first victory in 2017, Mario Seidl (AUT) in 2018 and Jens Luras Oftebro (NOR) in 2020.
All eyes on Riiber
This year, all eyes will be on Jarl Magnus Riiber again, who took his 2nd straight Ruka Tour title last season.
The greatest competition for the Norwegian can be expected from his own team. Jens Luras Oftebro showed his strength on Finlands large hill already last year, winning his first World Cup competition on day three, after placing third on the first Ruka Tour day in 2020.
The Austrian team will bring World champion Johannes Lamparter, who came in second behind Riiber in Ruka last season and beat him at the large hill competition during the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf. After a cruciate ligament rupture, the Austrians have to do without their former guarantor for success Franz-Josef Rehrl, who will return to the World Cup later in the season.
Germany will challenge Riiber with their top stars around Overall World Cup second Vinzenz Geiger and German national champion Johannes Rydzek. For the Finnish home team, Summer Grand Prix winner Ilkka Herola and Eero Hirvonen will lead the charge.
Ruka Tour as traditional season opener
As in the years before, the World Cup will start with the Ruka Tour again. The tour program contains three Individual Gundersen competitions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the Cross-Country distances of 5 km, 10 km and 10 km. On the first day, all athletes are allowed to start, two qualifications on Saturday and Sunday will reduce the respective start fields to 50 for the second and third competition. For each event, the normal amount of World Cup points is awarded and the athlete with the most World Cup points after these three events wins the tour.
On all three days, only the podium athletes of the day will receive prize money. The rest of the prize money goes into an overall pot, which will be divided among the Top 20 athletes of the overall tour standings. The tour winner receives 15,000 CHF.
All rules and the concrete distribution of the prize money can be found here (Article 4.4.4).