Valtellina is hosting the 2008 FIS World Cup Grand Finals, but this is nothing new for the region. Bormio is already a regular host for Alpine Skiing, and thanks to the 2008 event, highest level Cross-Country Skiing makes a welcome return to the area. For the last time in 2000, a series of World Cup races were carried out witnessing the successes by athletes of the caliber of Bente Skari Martinsen, Erling Jevne, Julija Tchepalova, Stefania Belmondo, and Jari Isometsae.
Three days of Cross-Country Skiing are in store in Santa Caterina Valfurva – the town that brought us the finest female Italian ski champion of all times, Deborah Compagnoni. The 2.5 and 3.3 km prologue races in the free technique are scheduled for Friday, 14th March, the 10 and 20 km classical technique mass start races will be held on Saturday, 15th March, and the 10 and 15 km handicap races in the free technique on Sunday – the very last races during this World Cup season.
The races will be held as a “mini Tour". The time scores registered in Friday’s races will be added to those from Saturday’s races to create the starting order (handicap) for Sunday’s race. So the first to cross the finish line on the last day will be the winner of the “mini Tour.” No World Cup points are awarded for Saturday’s competition, but Sunday’s points will be doubled, and the points for Friday’s prologue will only be awarded to the athletes that cross the finish line on Sunday. This new formula is certain to jazz up things for the season’s finale.
The competitions will use the same track as in 2000, but with an added variation – a mid-course climb. It’s a tough course with a height difference of 180 meters over 5 km and a pretty fast and curvy downhill. The course looks to be pretty selective and will definitely be challenging. And the races will bring Santa Caterina Valfurva back on the global Cross-Country map.
Infront and RAI, the host broadcasters for the FIS Grand Finals 2008, have revealed the details of their TV production plans for the events. The 5km trail to be used in different variations for the Cross-Country races will be completely covered with no black-outs. 22 cameras are planned by RAI including two super ‘slomo’ and a special photo finish camera, essential in the sprint and mass start races. A total staff of 55 professionals will be responsible for the production under the direction of Anna Cristina Giustiniani.