Sjusjøen is ready for the biathlon season opener and this weekend features a start list worthy of a World Cup. Photo: NSSF

Sjusjøen is ready for the biathlon season opener and this weekend features a start list worthy of a World Cup. Photo: NSSF

The biathletes are getting their show on the road with season opener competitions in Sjusjøen (NOR) this weekend and a start list worthy of a World Cup.

Although the IBU World Cup doesn’t get underway until Dec 1, when the first round takes place in Östersund (SWE), the start lists for the upcoming weekend races in Sjusjøen (NOR) are packed with World-Cup athletes itching to see where they stack up after a long dryland season. There are racers from the German, French, Italian and several other national teams on the rosters, along with all of Norway’s national teams and elite athletes.

However, Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) is planning to skip Saturday’s sprint after recently returning from altitude. His main focus is the World Championships on home turf in Holmenkollen, March 3-13, and everything prior to that is practice for the main goal. Being sidelined by injury and illness for much of the dryland season, Bjørndalen plays it safe with the first race weekend of the season, and sits out the first event on Saturday.

“I have bad experiences with burning too much fuel right after an altitude camp. So I try to cool my jets now in order to race fast at the World Cup opener in Östersund,” Bjørndalen said to NRK.

Bjørndalen is planning to race the Sunday mass start at Sjusjøen.

Saturday, November 21, features sprint competitions for both men and women, followed by mass start races on Sunday, November 22. The events will be televised by Norwegian broadcaster NRK, and there is also free access to the stadium for all spectators.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) will compete in the mass start on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) will compete in the mass start on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus