FALUN (VG) Pierre Mignerey, race director of the International Ski Federation (FIS), is considering changes to the course for Sunday’s sprint after the chaotic joint start among the boys on Saturday.
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– We will discuss tonight. Maybe we can change on one hill. Injuries are not good, and safety is always the most important thing. Tomorrow there is a sprint where there is usually a lot of contact. We must consider changes, says Mignerey to VG and other media in Falun.
British Andrew Young was taken by ambulance to hospital after an ugly fall during the men’s 15-kilometer joint start. The British team feared that the femur was broken and stated that the season was over.
X-rays show that it was not a break, and that it is still a dream to reach the World Cup.
Erik Valnes also fell badly in the same place, a descent down towards the stadium at Lugnet.
A number of other runners also fell along the way, including the winner Aleksandr Bolshunov.
The reactions have been many in retrospect. Runner Sjur Røthe called it dangerous and risky sport. Norway’s cross-country manager Espen Bjervig thought the trails were not suitable for cross-country skiing.
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– I hear the criticism. I understand there are many reactions, but I need to talk more closely with coaches and athletes to find out what they really mean. But I and FIS take responsibility, says Pierre Mignerey.
Jostein Vinjerui, the Norwegian who is the national team coach for Great Britain, thought Saturday’s race was dangerous and that the safety of the runners was too poor.
– It was the World Cup here in 2015, and it is the World Cup here every year. I have to understand what is different this year, and what we can do to make it better, says Mignerey.
The season over for the British after a chaotic race – Bolshunov won by a fall
Charlotte Kalla and Ebba Andersson fell during the women’s joint start. Ebba Andersson tells VG that it was only her fault, and answers “make sure” if she agrees with the criticism of the trails.
On Friday, Russian Natalya Neprjajeva fell and broke her hand. Now the World Cup is in danger.
– That case was different as it was an individual start. There are always some cases, but it is the consequences of them that we must look at. It is not good that practitioners end up in hospital, says Mignerey.
– We will analyze this and assess changes, he adds.
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Heidi Weng believes the trails were laid out better in the past.
– I do not exactly think that there are trails that are suitable for joint start. I do not think so. I think the trail was insanely much better in the old days. It is a trail that does not differ much. If they want excitement, bang and fall, then they get it today, Weng says after Saturday’s 8th place.
– It will be a little strange that you should have such a trail.