Sochi will host back-to-back Luge World Cup competitions ©Getty Images

Sochi is poised to host back-to-back International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup races, with the events taking place without spectators due to the local COVID-19 situation.

The Russian venue was not initially included on the World Cup schedule when it was released in March, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to changes to the programme.

The second World Cup was originally due to take place Whistler, but the Canadian venue was dropped in August due to concerns over Canada's COVID-19-related entry restrictions.

Competition at Lake Placid was also moved to Sochi, after competitors and officials from Russia and Georgia were unable to secure United States visas.

The FIL has confirmed no spectators will be present in Sochi due to the coronavirus situation locally.

FIL President Einars Fogelis will be one of few officials present, along with members of the Russian Ministry of Sport, the Mayor of Sochi and delegates from the Krasnodar Region.

Athletes arrived in Russian last Monday (November 22) following a charter flight from China after the opening World Cup of the season, which doubled as a Beijing 2022 test event.

Germany’s Johannes Ludwig topped the standings in the men’s event, followed by compatriots Felix Loch and Max Langenhan.

Ludwig will now target further success at the Sliding Center Sanki, built for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games held in the Russian resort. 

"That was a good start into the season at the World Cup opener in Beijing,” Ludwig said.

“My goal was to find my way around the new track first.

“Then I got better and better and during the World Cup week I really enjoyed the Olympic track.

“The result was a great debut and shows that the German team is on the right track.

“Nevertheless, many behind me had major driving errors, so the lead is deceptive.”

Austria’s Madeleine Egle secured victory in the women’s race in Beijing, followed by Germany’s world champion Julia Taubitz.

The two lugers will expect to be in contention for victory in Sochi.

Reigning world champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken will hope to open the World Cup season with back-to-back victories in the doubles competition.

The second World Cup of the season is due to begin tomorrow with doubles and women’s competition being contested.

The men’s event will take place on Sunday (November 28), as well as the second team relay competition.

Sochi is then scheduled to host the third World Cup event on December 4 and 5, where the first sprint races of the season are set to be contested.