The first weekend of the 2017/18 season is finally here and action will immediately go into full swing: The first edition of the so-called “Ruka Tour” is on schedule. Old and new favourites will fight for World Cup points, positions and 15.000 € of prize money for the mini tour winner on Sunday.
In contrast to the Nordic Combined TRIPLE, this is not a tour in which the athletes take their results with them from day to day. The tour standings will be calculated simply by the number of World Cup points achieved in each race. For every event, a separate qualification will be held and - like in a regular World Cup event - the best 50 athletes are qualified to start.
Who are the favourites for this first weekend? At the beginning of the season notoriously difficult to predict but it’s probably a safe bet to assume that the German team might not have lost all of their stellar skills of the last season. If the other teams managed to narrow or close the gap remains to be seen and will be one of the big questions to be answered this weekend.
Both big “comebackers”, Hannu Manninen (FIN) and Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) are in Ruka and will start their respective Olympic campaigns. Notably absent will be Falun 2015 World Champion Berni Gruber, who just had to undergo surgery due to an appendicitis and Germany’s Jakob Lange, who has to take a break due to health issues. Norwegian’s Magnus Krog and Jarl Magnus Riiber have both been sick last week and prioritise rest and recovery before competing at their first Norwegian home venue of Lillehammer next weekend.