A series of medallists from the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships will line-up in Asahikawa, Japan, from Saturday (14 February), for the penultimate World Cup of 2014-15.
Around 50 athletes from nine countries will compete in classic and freestyle cross-country races before the World Cup Finals take place in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.
In the men’s sitting events the USA’s Andrew Soule will be keen to follow-up on his 2015 Worlds performance, where he shot to national fame after winning a record three silver and two bronze medals in cross-country and biathlon men’s sitting.
Russia’s Alexey Bychenok bettered Soule in the classic sprint but not the middle distance event at the World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin, USA.
The women’s equivalent will see Norway’s sprint Paralympic champion Mariann Marthinsen go up against Soule’s teammate and double Worlds medallist Oksana Masters.
New Russian men’s long distance freestyle standing world champion Rushan Minnegulov will go head-to-head with middle and sprint distance classic Worlds gold medallist teammate Iaroslav Lekomtcev. France’s double cross-country silver medallist Benjamin Daviet will also be in the mix.
The women’s event will feature Cable 2015 long distance freestyle bronze medallist Ekaterina Rumyantseva. Home athlete Momoko Dekijima and Canada’s Brittany Hudak both put in top 10 finishes just weeks ago and will be hoping to round-off their last races with a flourish.
The men’s long distance classic visually impaired race will feature an appearance from Paralympic champion Canadian Brian McKeever, who picked up his latest freestyle world title in Cable. McKeever will be guided by Graham Nishikawa.
Norway’s 19-year-old skier Eirik Bye has been making his way up the overall World Cup rankings with guide Kristian Myhre Hellerud and will be another face to look out for in Japan.
Races start in Asahikawa with the short and middle distance classic races.
Results will be available daily at the IPC Nordic Skiing website.
The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals will feature both cross-country and biathlon events, to complete a season which has seen the most successful World championships take place at Cable 2015.