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City of Dresden to Host First World Cup on Manmade Loop

A view of the 1.2 k World Cup sprint course from the bridge that spans the Elbe River in Dresden, Germany. Racers will ski beneath its farthest left arch.

DRESDEN, Germany — With the conclusion of the Tour de Ski last Sunday, nearly 120 World Cup athletes gradually made their way to Dresden for the Period 2 of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross Country World Cup season.

On Saturday, those racers will tackle a brand-new 1.2-kilometer course (it was originally set to be 1.4 k, but shortened due lack of stored snow) in Dresden, which is hosting its first FIS Cross Country World Cup. The entire track is set along the city’s Elbe River, one of Central Europe’s major waterways. According to a course official, there is “no natural” snow on course; only manmade snow will be used for the weekend’s freestyle races (with individual sprints Saturday and team sprints on Sunday). This perhaps makes sense as the races are within walking distance of the city center’s major shopping plaza.

Conditions at the Dresden World Cup race venue on Friday.

Temperatures on Saturday afternoon were around 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit). On all sides of the surrounding course fence — and a diamond inside where the course splits for the athletes to turn back to the finish — green grass was a visible reminder that this venue is in Saxony’s second-largest city and capital (Saxony being an eastern German state).

Spectators may watch the races from atop the bridge that spans the Elbe, as competitors ski under the left-most arch (as shown in the photo at the top of this post) and between the final brick abutments.

The course is predominantly flat, with one climb about two-thirds of the way through followed by a brief flat and the course’s sole downhill, which then leads into a 100-meter finish.

The freestyle sprint weekend opens with the women’s qualifier at 9:50 a.m. CET.

Start lists: Women | Men

A groomer sets on out the Dresden 1.2-kilometer sprint course on Friday.

— Gabby Naranja

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