The FIS Cross-Country News spoke briefly with Jürg Capol, FIS Race Director Cross-Country about his impressions of the Cross-Country season 2007/2008 and any future ideas. CCN:
On the upcoming weekend, we will have the last Cross-Country World Cup races in the season 2007/2008. What is your conclusion of the season so far?Jürg Capol:
It has been a very exciting season. We carried out all the FIS Cross-Country World Cup events. Especially in February we had some difficulties with the weather but thanks to the great effort of the Organizing Committees, all planned competitions took place.
From the sport perspective, we saw both old and new faces – with Charlotte Kalla (SWE) and Astrid Jacobsen (NOR), two young ladies established themselves in the overall World Cup elite in their first year in the senior category. 19 nations have so far been on the podium this season which shows us that Cross-Country Skiiing has a high value in a lot of countries where they work in a professional manner in this sport.
Our highlight this season was for sure the 2nd edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear. For the first time, we carried out 8 competitions in 10 days and reached an additional 25 % TV viewers during the entire Tour compared to the first edition. CCN:
In St. Caterina, the upcoming weekend the Cross-Country season will for the first time complete with the World Cup Final - a kind of "Mini-Tour". What was the intention behind this competition series?Jürg Capol:
With this World Cup Final we will create excitement until the last meters of the event and of the entire Cross-Country World Cup season. A lot of World Cup points, 300 in total, can be earned during this long weekend and also the prize money of 240’000 CHF is an additional incentive for the competitors.
But for that, all the racers have to work hard as all of them have to finish the entire World Cup Final to get the points and prize money. What is also a plus of this World Cup Final is that the sprinters as well as the distance racers have their final on the same weekend and can conclude the season together. CCN:
What can the spectators expect from the World Cup Final?
It will be a really exciting and attractive event – five titles are still open, the overall World Cup of the ladies, the sprint and distance World Cup of the ladies, the sprint World Cup of the men and also the team cup of the ladies. Only Lukas Bauer is already certain as both the overall World Cup winner and distance World Cup winner for the men.
All the world’s best athletes will be present and fight for the last time this season for World Cup points on the challenging tracks in St. Caterina. CCN:
When we look into the future - what would you as FIS Race Director change in the Cross-Country sport to make it more attractive?Jürg Capol:
On my “To do list” I have several task for the future. First of all, I will work in the development and improvement of the TV quality to ensure that all events have the same standard and viewers at home will always have the same TV “look and feel”. Second, I would like to create more highlights and create clear focus in the World Cup calendar. Compact events are an advantage for the athletes as well as for the fans, TV viewers and sponsors. The cooperation in the marketing issues between all the World Cup Organizers is also an important development project as well the improvements in the rights situation so that we can execute more effective cross-boarder projects.