Nordic World Cup. No fans, two new competitions and ski jumper Marita Kramer as ÖSV trump card.
Oberstdorf. The World Cup weeks in winter sports will continue, after the alpine and biathletes, the Nordic will have their title fights in Oberstdorf from Wednesday. The Bavarian health resort has spruced up, after all, it took five attempts to host a Nordic World Ski Championships for the third time since 1987 and 2005. Given the circumstances, this year’s event will not come close to the lavish festival with up to 350,000 spectators on trails and jumps from 16 years ago.
The 700 or so World Cup athletes await empty ranks and a test marathon.
The combined athletes are celebrating their World Cup debut, and the ski jumpers are chasing medals from the large hill for the first time. A total of 28 athletes (twelve women, 16 men) are competing for Austria, the greatest hopes rest on ski jumper Marita Kramer, who was the only one to celebrate individual victories this winter.
Just before the World Cup highlight, however, 19-year-old Kramer had to digest a severe setback. A test chaos prevented the three-time winner of the season in Rasnov, at least the Salzburg woman did not have to be quarantined in Romania. In addition, Daniela Iraschko-Stolz and Eva Pinkelnig (comeback after a ruptured spleen) showed aspiring form at the World Cup dress rehearsal.
In the men’s camp, Daniel Huber and Stefan Kraft, who first had to find their shape after corona infection and back problems, hope for their chance in the shadow of the Norwegian high-flyer Halvor Egner Granerud (twelve wins of the season). With Gregor Schlierenzauer, a prominent name is missing in the ÖSV-Adlerhorst.
In the combination, Junior World Champion Johannes Lamparter was convincing. Only once did the 19-year-old not make it into the top ten, or at the season opener season dominator Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR) as second to within a second. Lukas Greiderer has also shown podium potential and gives hope for the team sprint. In the historic women’s competition, the youth Olympic champion Lisa Hirner, 17, could surprise.
In cross-country skiing, however, a podium place for Teresa Stadlober would be a sensation, even if the Salzburg woman has had weeks of World Cup training behind her. After all cross-country skiing titles went to Scandinavians in 2019, this year the World Cup leaders Alexander Bolschunow (RUS) and Jessica Diggins (USA) have positioned themselves.