Biathlon in 2017-2018: World Cup
The schedule of the biathlon season 2017-2018 will delight all lovers of this spectacular sport. Starting from November 27, 2017, several stages of the World Cup will be held every month. In addition, we are waiting for the European Championships, the world championship among juniors, as well as the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will necessarily include biathlon competition disciplines.
World Cup: season regulations
The 2017-2018 World Cup Biathlon consists of 9 stages held in various countries. At each stage, a number of competitive disciplines, such as:
- sprint (race with 2 firing lines);
- mixed relay (2 stages for men, 2 - for women);
- mass start (race with a general start and 4 firing lines);
- pursuit race (starting grid is formed on the basis of the sprint);
- the same type relay race (in each team, 4 biathletes run their stage);
- individual race (4 firing lines, 1 minute is added to the time of an athlete for a miss).
According to the results of the sprint, mass start, individual race and the pursuit race for biathlon, a certain number of points are awarded. For example, 60 points are provided for the first place in the sprint, and 1 point for the last (40).In the individual race, only the first 30 places are scored: 1–60 points, 2–54, 3–48, etc. After the end of the season, the biathlete with the most points receives a cash prize and the main trophy of the tournament, the Crystal Globe.
World Cup schedule
In chronological order, the stages of the 2017-2018 Biathlon World Cup are arranged as follows:
- Ostersund (27. 11. 2017 - 03. 12. 2017);
- Hochfilzen (04. 12. 2017 - 10. 12. 2017);
- Annecy (11. 12. 2017 - 17. 12. 2017);
- Oberhof (02. 01. 2018 - 07. 01. 2018);
- Ruhpolding (08. 01. 2018 - 14. 01. 2018);
- Antholz (15. 01. 2018 - 21. 01. 2018);
- Kontiolahti (05. 03. 2018 - 11. 03. 2018);
- Oslo (12. 03. 2018 - 18. 03. 2018);
- Tyumen (19. 03. 2018 - 25. 03. 2018).
A more than two-month break in the World Cup is provided for the European Championship (from 22. 01. 2018 to 28. 01. 2018), as well as the Olympics in the South Korean city of Phenchkhan (from 09. 02. 2018 to 25. 02. 2018). In these tournaments, medals will be played in sprint, mass start, individual race, pursuit race, mixed relay and the same type.
Description of the biathlon stages
The start of the Biathlon World Cup takes in Ostersund, Sweden - a small town with a population of only 60 thousand people. The main advantage of the local route is its proximity to the Arctic Circle (less than 100 km). In November, it is always moderately cold (-5 - -10 ºС), and the height of snow cover reaches 10-15 cm.The configuration of the biathlon track has a lot of "loops", so from the stands you can watch almost the entire race.
The track in the Austrian town of Hochfilzen has a relatively small height difference (only 40 meters), with the result that shooting becomes of key importance in the race. The local stadium seats 5 thousand spectators, and during the World Cup stage it is literally packed to capacity. Often in bad weather the road is covered with thick fog, which makes shooting even more unpredictable.
The track in the French Annecy - one of the fastest and most dynamic. Steep ascents are replaced by sharp descents, so shooting is far from decisive. Play here a few dozen seconds lost in the penalty loop, for experienced athletes is not difficult.
The track in German Oberhof is famous for height differences. In some areas, biathletes have to overcome protracted rises with a length of 200-400 meters. The new stadium at the shooting range accommodates 12 thousand spectators who so zealously support their athletes that their cries sometimes muffle the sounds of gunfire.
The race in Ruhpolding - another German stage - is always unpredictable. In addition to significant elevation changes, the local weather presents many surprises.Because of the positive temperature, the snow often turns into an impassable mess and sticks to the skis, and this makes the race a real hell for athletes. The stadium seats 12 thousand spectators, and its main chip was the proximity to the shooting range (less than 10 meters).
In Italian Antholz, the sloping track, but several artificially created “bumps” (steep climbs) force athletes to give all the best. The local stadium holds less than 5 thousand spectators, however, it boasts a huge screen, where the results of the race are displayed.
Finnish stage in Kontiolahti is famous for its unique track. It is located at an altitude of 90-120 meters above sea level, and the thin air of the mountain causes biathletes to experience oxygen starvation during the race. The body of an athlete works literally for wear, therefore, to win here it is necessary to make incredible efforts. The stadium in Kontiolahti has a capacity of 10 thousand spectators, it is equipped with an electronic scoreboard and information screens.
The relatively modest size of the Norwegian road in Oslo is compensated by the stunning cheerleader atmosphere.Also, the local mountain slopes are known for their steep descents, as a result of which falls often occur during the race. In Oslo, no one will gloat over the failure of the opponent, and even the biathlete, who came to the finish line in last place, will receive a standing ovation.
The final stage of the 2017-2018 Biathlon World Cup is still Tyumen. The main challenge for biathlon will be the famous Siberian frosts, reaching the mark of -25 ºС. The actual question for millions of domestic fans is the inclusion of the track in the tournament. The fact is that according to the recommendations of the IOC in connection with the doping scandal in Russian sport, the International Biathlon Union last year moved the stage from Tyumen to Czech Novo Mesto. In the upcoming season, quite likely a similar castling.
Challengers for the Crystal Globe
The 2017 biathlon news only fueled spectator interest in the competition. In the men's competition, the clear contender for the title will be Martin Fourcade. Last season, he was not equal, and the Crystal Globe jet French won with a margin of 453 points. The second place went to the best of Russians, Anton Shipulin, with whom Fourcade had a conflict.Obviously, Martin was bored by the lack of serious competition, and made a number of unflattering statements about Russian athletes suspected of doping. In response, Anton advised his opponent to do his own thing, and leave the doping investigations to more competent specialists. The verbal skirmish reached a refusal to handshake at the awards ceremony. The conflict was managed to hush up, but the sediment remained.
In addition to Fourcade and Shipulina, a number of talented athletes claim to the Crystal Globe, and any of them can “shoot”. This list includes:
- Emil Hegle Svendsen;
- Arndt Peiffer;
- Johannes Be;
- Tarja Be.
In women, the fight for the trophy will unfold serious. The title claims a few dozen athletes, but the main contenders were:
- Laura Dahlmeier (winner of last season);
- Gabriela Koukalova;
- Kaisa Myakyaryinen
- Marie Doren-Aubert.
Separately, it is necessary to single out the three-time Olympic champion Daria Domracheva, whose last season was crumpled due to the birth of a child. Dasha didn’t manage to get the optimal form, but in the upcoming competition she has every chance to take the usual place at the top of the table.Will Belarusian sportswoman be able to compete with a whole galaxy of new stars, we will know very soon.
Thus, the biathlon season of 2017-2018 will start in November. It will be eventful, exciting and unpredictable. Do not miss the exciting races of the World Cup, European Championships and the 2018 Olympic Games.