OBERSTDORF (VG) The start of the WC in sprint is set for 09.00 on Thursday morning due to the demanding snow conditions in the German WC city.
The prologues should actually have started at 12.15, but now Maiken Caspersen Falla, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and the other sprinters will be in action much earlier. This is due to the hot sun here in Oberstdorf which gives temperatures of up to 20 degrees and difficult skiing conditions.
Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig believes it creates a completely new dynamic in the competition.
– It will be another race. On the prologue it gets very sharp. Then it’s icy hard. So the prologues and finals will be two very different races, says Bjervig to VG.
The finals will start at 11.30, and then Bjervig expects much looser snow.
– Not a disadvantage
Bjervig thinks it was challenging as long as it was just a matter of changing the start times. Now that the decision has been made, Norway’s cross-country manager looks at the situation more clearly.
– It is certainly not a disadvantage for Norway. We have very fast sprinters who can set good prologue times. Now the decision has been made. Then we relate to it. We will handle it very well, says Bjervig.
Pierre Mignerey is the director of the International Ski Federation (FIS). He explains the decision as follows:
– Sportingly, I think it will be much better. Every minute in the sun affects the snow conditions very much. We can see that until 11.30 the trails stay pretty good. When we start earlier, it will provide good conditions for the competitions in the morning and also preserve the snow conditions in general, Mignerey says to VG.
Erik Valnes is one of the biggest favorites in the sprint. At today’s press conference, the 24-year-old stated that he believes it will be demanding conditions regardless of whether the runners start in the morning or in the afternoon.
– It will probably be relatively solved anyway, Valnes thinks.
– The conditions are as they are. There is nothing we can do about it. In any case, I think it will go well, says Klæbo.