What's happening this week in the world of biathlon, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing?

The week of 6 December sees World Cup events contested in three mainstays of the Winter Olympic programme - biathlon, Nordic combined and cross-country.

By Ockert de Villiers
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The 2021/22 World Cup season in Nordic combined, biathlon and cross-country skiing continue this week (6 December) as the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 nears (the Games officially open on 4 February 2022).

Here's a look ahead to the events this week, as well as a brief recap of the current season standings in all three sports.

Biathlon World Cup

Where: Hochfilzen, Austria
When: 9-12 December
Events: Sprint, pursuit, relay (men and women)

Will new contenders step to the fore, or will we see the early pace-setters in the men's competition of the Biathlon World Cup continue to spar for the top spot on the overall rankings?

Just three points separate Vetle Christiansen (Norway) and Sebastian Samuelsson (Sweden) after the first two legs in Oestersund, Sweden. 

Samuelsson lay down an early marker on home soil, winning back-to-back 10km sprint gold medals to occupy the second spot on the overall rankings. 

Christiansen will go into the third leg of the World Cup series wearing the yellow bib after beating Samuelsson in the 12.5km pursuit. The Norwegian finished second behind Samuelsson in the sprint event in the season's opener. 

Johannes Thingnes Boe, who won a third consecutive overall crystal globe last season, has made a relatively slow start to his campaign. Boe is nevertheless placed third on the overall rankings. 

Current World Cup standings:

Overall men (after 4 of 22 events)
1. Vetle Christiansen (NOR) – 178 points
2. Sebastian Samuelsson (SWE) – 175 points
3. Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) – 154 points

Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser made a stellar start to her season in the women's competition, claiming a first World Cup sprint victory in Oestersund. Hauser's effort earned her the yellow bib – the first in her career – holding a nine-point lead over Olympic silver medallist Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway in second place. 

Roeiseland produced a strong finish to win the 10km pursuit, with Anais Bescond and Anais Chevalier-Bouchet claiming a French one-two finish. Hauser had to be content with fourth place. 

The French duo added the 4X6km relay gold medal with teammates Julia Simon and Justine Braisaz-Bouchet. 

Current World Cup standings:

Overall women (after 4 of 22 events)
1. Lisa Hauser (AUT) – 177 points
2. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR) – 168 points
3. Dzinara Alimbekava (BLR) – 160 points

Nordic combined World Cup

Where: Otepaa, Estonia
When: 10-12 December
Events: Nordic combined (men and women)

Norway is leading the charge in the early stages of the Nordic combined World Cup, with Gyda Westvold Hansen and Jarl Magnus Riiber topping the table in the women's and men's series, respectively. 

The women’s event will be hosted in Otepaa for the first time after the first edition was cancelled last season due to the pandemic.

Westvold Hansen, the first-ever women's Nordic combined world champion, won consecutive Individual Gundersen titles Lillehammer last weekend. 

On both occasions, the 19-year-old dominance on the cross-country course held her in good stead, outskiing compatriot Mari Leinan Lund despite topping the standings after the ski jumping section.

Westvold Hansen tops the leader board on 40 points, with Leinan Lund trailing her by 40 points courtesy of their one-two finishes in the two opening events in Lillehammer. Austria's Lisa Hirner and Annika Sieff of Italy are placed third and fourth, taking turns for the third step on the podium. 

Current World Cup standings

Overall women (after 2 of 9 events)
1. Gyda Westvold Hansen (NOR) – 200 points
2. Mari Leinan Lund (NOR) – 160 points
3. Lisa Hirner (AUT) – 110 points

Riiber will be looking to consolidate his lead at the top of the Nordic combined World Cup standings in Otepaa, Estonia, over the weekend in the men's series. 

Riiber continued his winning ways on home soil in Lillehammer, where he landed a 143-metre jump and crossed the finish line with a 13.5-second lead in the 10km cross-country.

Austria's Johannes Lamparter finished second behind the Norwegian, with Germany's Eric Frenzel rounding off the podium in third place.

Lamparter follows Riiber's heels on the overall rankings tracking nearly 30 points behind him in second place. 

Current World Cup standings:

Overall men (after 5 of 24 events)
1. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR) – 300 points
2. Johannes Lamparter (AUT) – 272 points
3. Terence Weber (GER) – 196 points

Cross-Country World Cup

Where: Davos, Switzerland
When: 11-12 December
Events: Sprints (men and women), 15km (men), 10km (women)

Johannes Klaebo is firmly in the driving seat over the sprint distances after the first two World Cup events in Finland and Norway. 

The reigning world champion will be looking to build on the momentum he gained on home snow when he lines up in Davos. 

If the race in Lillehammer is anything to go on, Klaebo will have a fight on his hands to earn back-to-back victories. 

He won the race by a narrow 0.58s sharing the podium with compatriot Thomas Helland Larsen in second place, with France's Richard Jouve finishing third. 

Klaebo's performance in Lillehammer launched him into first place on the overall standings, 19 points ahead of the ROC's Alexander Bolshunov.

Norway did the same in the men's 15km event, with Simen Hegstad Krueger taking the spoils in the distance event with countryman Hans Christer Holund following shortly on his heels. 

Current World Cup standings

Overall men (after 6 of 32 events)
1. Johannes Hoesflot Kalebo (NOR) – 281 points
2. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) – 245 points
3. Erik Valnes (NOR) – 285

Distance men (after 3 of 18 events)
1. Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) – 190 points
2. Alexey Chervotkin (RUS) 174 points
3. Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) – 152 points

Sprint men (after 2 of 12 events)
1. Johannes Hoesflot Kalebo (NOR) – 205 points
2. Alexander Terentev (RUS) – 141 points
3. Richard Jouve (FRA) – 125 points

In the women's events, the battle for distance supremacy continues unabated between Sweden's Frida Karlsson and Norway's Therese Johaug. 

After beating her arch-rival by just 0.03s in the 10km classic in Lillehammer, Karlsson pulled ahead in both the overall and the distance rankings. 

She leads Karlsson by 25 points in the distance rankings and holds a 65-point advantage over the Norwegian in the overall standings. 

In the sprint event, Maja Dahlqvist will be looking to make it three of three after claiming the top step in Ruka and Lillehammer. 

Dahlqvist beat last season's overall winner, Jessie Diggins of the US, by 0.35s, with Norway's Tiril Udnes Weng earning her first World Cup podium finishing third. 

Current World Cup standings:

Overall women (after 6 of 32 events)
1. Frida Karlsson (SWE) – 340 points
2. Therese Johaug (NOR) – 275 points
3. Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) – 227 points

Distance (after 3 of 18 events)
1. Frida Karlsson (SWE) – 300 points
2. Therese Johaug (NOR) – 275 points
3. Rosie Brennan (US) – 157 points

Sprint (after 2 of 12 events)
1. Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) – 227 points
2. Johanna Hagstroem (SWE) – 118 points
3. Jessie Diggins (US) – 113 points


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