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  #271  
Old 02-07-13, 19:22
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Yiepee!!!!

In the early stages I was afraid the skiis were totally uncompetitive. But it looks like when Tarjei had his stage the techs had sorted out the worst of the problems. Great to see the Czecs getting a bronze in front of that great home crowd!

To me it looked like the Russians and the French had great skiis. The Germans were totally out of it. It was only during Mimis stage it was understandable how Henkel had lost so much time. Their skiis were horrible. Perhaps Mimi not getting a penalty lap might have given them a chance at a medal, but I have my doubts. Their skiis were so uncompetitive it was painfull to look at.

I did'nt see any of the Germans in the last two stages, so they might have improved. But this was on par with the Swedish classics skiis in Holmenkollen.
Certainly the skis cannot possibly have helped.

Course times per leg:
Henkel 4th (+14 from Berger)
Miri 10th (+35 from Domracheva)
Schempp no time shown (realbiathlon only shows top 12 per leg)
Birnbacher 11th (+31 from Fourcade)

However, Henkel's Laufleistung wasn't all that poor compared to later, and it's time for the inquisition at the DSV. Then again, Mkrinen also lost 32" to Domracheva. But Marie Dorin lost 5" and Kaisa probably doesn't give her all here unless they're up near the front since the medal hopes are pretty slim. Hard to judge the skis/conditions etc from Birnbacher too, since it was little more than a training run for him. Solemdal looked like she didn't have her best skiing day either. We'll see after the weekend, but I'm concerned there might be more to it than just bad skis.

Miri herself isn't quite so downbeat about it. She said she had problems reloading due to cold fingers, and "let's see if it's a bit better in the sprint" about her ski form. So I'd say mostly some terrible skis but partly something up with her herself. I'm sure the German media will crucify her for this, mind, if the crap they gave Arnd Peiffer for his errors in last year's Mixed Relay is anything to go by.
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  #272  
Old 02-09-13, 14:06
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Pretty tense sprint in Nov Město today.

Most people expected a Fourcade/Svendsen showdown, and that's what they got, but the means of getting there was quite interesting. The first major contender to go was Fredrik Lindstrm, but the Swede missed a shot in each position, and his time of 24'03 was considered to be probably a minute off where it would need to be to contest the win. However, he'd put in an absolutely blinding last lap, and just how blinding it was we didn't know until Andi Birnbacher, who led after prone but missed 2 at standing, emerged losing 20" to him on the final lap. This was further underlined when Anton Shipulin, with a better shooting record, could only best him by 5". Tarjei B briefly led after shooting 1, but like Birnbacher he missed 2 in stand and dropped down the order. The big battle came a few minutes later, with Martin Fourcade leading into the range with Svendsen 2 minutes behind, and no relevant competition between. Ustyugov, 3rd in the World Cup, went 1 minute later to pick up the pieces if they erred. In prone, they did not. Svendsen held a slim lead of 3 seconds. In stand, they did, each missing one target. Svendsen picked up another 3 seconds on the course and 4 more by shooting more quickly than his Catalan nemesis, and it was a final lap showdown with Fourcade needing 10". He managed to get 2 but no more. Ustyugov flubbed his lines with a miss himself, and shortly after him Alexis Buf emerged to show him how it's done, hitting 10/10, but unlike Ustyugov he doesn't have the pace to capitalise on it, and only finished 12" ahead of the Russian. There was some excitement as Lukas Hofer shot clear in prone to set a joint quickest time, but much more when Ole Einar Bjrndalen shot clear to set the fastest time of everyone in prone.

Then we had an exciting passage with contenders coming into stand. Malyshko went clear, 10/10 and emerged 5,8 seconds behind Svendsen! Two and a half minutes later, Jakov Fak emulated the man from Sosnovy Bor, setting an identical pace. Passing Svendsen may have been unlikely but could either man hold off Fourcade? They are two strong skiers who have beaten the Frenchman at times this season... and what of Bjrndalen? He shot targets 1, 2 and 3 in order. Then he shot target 5 for reasons beknownst to nobody, and missed when he went back to target 4! He emerged from the penalty loop level with Martin Fourcade however, so he was in the medal hunt as well! In the end though, it was not to be as Jakov Fak proved to be the strongest of the three contenders, and even then he was unable to stave off the challenge from Fourcade. Malyshko fared the worst of the three, hitting the wall on the final lap and losing out on both a medal to Fak and on 4th place to Bjrndalen.

Then it came down to which later starters could do something. Erik Lesser was looking good for a top 10 all the way until he missed shot number 10, and fell away to an eventual 12th; Simon Eder shot 10/10 and lay 7th with quite a time gap down to 10th after two shots but tumbled into that position with a slow lap 3. Simon Fourcade shot cleanly and set a fast time on lap 1, but his second and third laps were way back off the pace and so despite the 100% shooting record he couldn't make the top 30; Mesotitsch on the other hand is hardly known for ski speed, but could have been up there had he not missed his last 2 shots in standing. The last starters of any consequence were Arnd Peiffer, Henrik L'Abe-Lund and Zdeněk Vitek, however the latter was the only one to go clear in prone. L'Abe-Lund added another miss in stand, while Vitek joined him on the loop. The resulting differences of 20 places between Peiffer and L'Abe-Lund display how compact the field was - Peiffer didn't exactly show his form from Khanty-Mansiysk when he won this event with the same shooting record, over a minute down on Svendsen, but 16th is a reasonable score after the miserable year he's had so far. Some 42 competitors within 2 minutes, it's going to be a hectic pursuit. Some interesting names missing out though - Andrejs Rastorgujevs is of note, having set the fastest ski time and isolated pursuit time in Pokljuka en route to climbing into the top 10 from about 50th. Julian Eberhard as well, after 5 misses. Romania's Cornel Puchianu, who briefly held the fastest course time after 1 lap, before overcooking himself and flubbing his lines with the rifle. Plywaczyk and Szczurek, Poland's starters in the mixed relay, both failed to make the pursuit leaving Poland without a male representative tomorrow, something I'd think is highly unlikely to continue with the women.

With the exception of Desthieux, who was only really a 'bonus' entry for France since they had the defending champion, France put everyone in the top 35 (M Fourcade 2nd, Buf 6th, Beatrix 20th, S Fourcade 34th), while Germany clustered everybody in the region for those who aren't quite the elite talents but are still top guys who can compete for the podium occasionally but not regularly (Lesser 12th, Peiffer 16th, Birnbacher 23rd, Schempp 28th), which would seem more or less to be in line with what our expectations should be of this German team, which means that the wax dbacle may have been solved. We'll see from the women whether the skis really did account for the whole problem on Thursday or whether they've made a mess of their preparation. All eyes will be on Miriam Gner, which is bad in a way as she's shown a propensity to be very nervous when this is the case, and if it's not working for her on the skis, it could be disastrous. Ukraine have Andriy Deryzemlya in 17th, but then all their other athletes clustered together (39th, 41st and 42nd) but team of the day would be, as usual this season, Russia, who placed all 4 athletes in the top 20 (Malyshko 5th, Shipulin 7th, Ustyugov 9th, Garanichev 19th).

Athlete of the day, however, is Krasimir Anev of Bulgaria, who with clean shooting and a good start number (his number was 15, and he set a time of 8'26 coming out of lap 1. At 8'30 on Anev's clock, Emil Hegle Svendsen set off, giving the Bulgarian a target to follow), managed to ski his way up to 2nd place when he finished (he fell behind Lindstrm's time), a time that we felt would drop away but it was only with Eder, who set off half an hour later, that he was ousted from the top 10.
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  #273  
Old 02-09-13, 14:16
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Ah, so that's why Anev was so good after 2 laps.
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  #274  
Old 02-09-13, 17:03
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The women's race was a bit less predictable. It started out a bit stronger than the men's event, with a number of key participants in the early running. Teja Gregorin led off, Krystyna Pałka went at 4, immediately followed by Anastasiya Kuzmina, with Darya Domracheva, Olga Zaitseva and Miriam Gner in close pursuit. Zaitseva set off like a bat out of hell, putting pressure on those around her, and swiftly defeated the first time to beat after 1 shoot, which was Pałka's. This looked like not being a day for the turbos either, with Gner missing 2 and Domracheva 3 in prone, while Kuzmina only missed 1 but had a technical problem with her rifle that cost her time. At shooting 2, everybody in the early group decided to add a bit more penalty to their time, with Pałka, Kuzmina and Zaitseva adding 1, and Domracheva adding 2. The big shock? The name missing from that group. Yes, Miri shot clear in standing this enabled her to salvage her time and get within 10 seconds of Zaitseva's time, the early time to beat.

The next group contained a couple of clean shooters who were able to get right up in the mix, most notably Vita Semerenko and Olga Vilukhina, with the former passing Zaitseva to take the lead. It's strange how a couple of years ago Valj was seemingly the more talented and successful of the twins, but Vita's fortunes turned with that Individual medal at Khanty-Mansiysk; since then Valj has had illness and injury troubles and though she has had a couple of podiums (such as at Oberhof), Vita has been the one that comes through in the big pressure events like these. Andrea Henkel, on the other hand, in the same group, tumbled down the order with the usually reliable Thuringian missing 3. It then fell to a group of three consecutive starters to fight things out, with Olena Pidhrushna setting off between Mkrinen and World Cup leader Tora Berger. While the Finn copied Miriam Gssner exactly (same shooting patterns, almost identical times), Berger hit for home. She was clearly leading when she came into standing, but one miss - even despite her incredibly fast shooting times - could have been fatal... she had 11 seconds to make up, for Pidhrushna, rested (like the Semerenko twins) from the Mixed Relay in a tactical Ukrainian decision that paid off big style, had shot all 10. Tora put everything into it - she had the fastest ski time of the day apparently - but fell just short, and Pidhrushna has her first World Cup victory on the biggest stage of all. Her compatriot Semerenko took the bronze, but 22 seconds down.

A couple of late runs at the medals from Franziska Hildebrand and Ann Kristin Flatland were found wanting, but both posted good times, while clean shooting helped Vtkov continue the host nation's good form with 10th place (as opposed to the more celebrated Soukalov who was 14th after missing one in standing).

The French women take the German men's consistency-without-electrifying prize (Boilley 16th, Dorin 18th, Bescond 20th, Brunet 26th), while the pursuit will be without a few notable names; Andreja Mali is better than 64th place with only 2 misses, Olympic medallist Elena Khrust'aleva was down in the 70s, and Nadine Horchler, who finished in the top 5 of every race at Antholz, had a shocker of a day, finishing down in 84th.
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  #275  
Old 02-09-13, 19:26
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Miri didn't ski THAT fast today, and I found that the Germans overall didn't really perform. Were there problems with their skis again perhaps? I certainly want to see Miri better than this at the XC championships.

Will be two thrilling pursuits tomorrow too.
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  #276  
Old 02-10-13, 10:34
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Miri didn't ski THAT fast today, and I found that the Germans overall didn't really perform. Were there problems with their skis again perhaps? I certainly want to see Miri better than this at the XC championships.

Will be two thrilling pursuits tomorrow too.
I think the German skies are much better now, but perhaps not good enough yet. But there is also the question of the individual skiing style fitting to the course and snow conditions.

Then you have the question of confidence in your skis which might effect how you plan the race. And you also have the issue of the individual adaptability to adapt to different conditions.

So many variables.

One interesting piece of information nrk served us yesterday was that the Russian womens waxers had begun to share more resources etc with the Russian mens waxers. Meaning they didn't cooperate well before.

Anyway the Russian skies were insane on thursday when it was easier to see the differences between the countries. I remember on the third stage seeing a Russian struggling to not go past Bff and B on the downhill.

My impression on that day, was that the Russians had super skis and the French almost as good.

Here is a link in norwegian about the tough courses:
http://www.nrk.no/sport/_-vm-loypene...bra-1.10903806

Here is one were they talk about difficult snow conditions, and polluted snow making ski prep difficult:
http://www.nrk.no/sport/vanskelige-s...kia-1.10900724
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  #277  
Old 02-10-13, 13:11
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Well, Svendsen had enough (just) to win the sprint there, but otherwise that could have been the tactical balls-up of the year. Having 10" over Fourcade with a lap to go, then easing up and letting him and Shipulin come back to the group, then sitting at the back of it and getting his skis run over when Fourcade attacked... not smart racing from Emil there. I'm getting pretty sick of seeing those two on the top two steps now. Here's hoping the individual can spring some surprises.
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  #278  
Old 02-10-13, 14:28
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Well, Svendsen had enough (just) to win the sprint there, but otherwise that could have been the tactical balls-up of the year. Having 10" over Fourcade with a lap to go, then easing up and letting him and Shipulin come back to the group, then sitting at the back of it and getting his skis run over when Fourcade attacked... not smart racing from Emil there. I'm getting pretty sick of seeing those two on the top two steps now. Here's hoping the individual can spring some surprises.
He said in the interview that he thought the others were far behind, so he was surprised when they came up. Probably the coaches making a mistake in communicating to him.

He was lucky to get the win. Getting locked behind almost cost him. He managed the sprint exceptionally well using Fourcade as a wind breaker.

On the sprint, it appears Fourcade was too focused on were Emil was and lost the timing in his technique.

As for who was first. I'm not 100% sure from the video I've seen. All the camera angels seem a little bit off. But it certainly looked like Emil had a higher final speed, and that might be an indication that he was first, even though they looked to be over the line at exactly the same time.

As for who wins, well it's only been two individual races so far which are linked to each other. The next two races should open up for others. I'm hoping for Bjrndalen.

Edit: NRK chased up a photo with measurement lines. They say it shows the difference was 2.4 cm.

Last edited by ToreBear; 02-10-13 at 14:54. Reason: new info
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  #279  
Old 02-10-13, 15:47
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Absolutely thrilling races today. So horrible that Flatland had to fall - seemed like Zaitseva was stopped behind a bit too because of that, neither Pidrushna nor Palka should have had a medal there really.

And Svendsen, that was ballsy. He was blocked and couldn't follow Martin in the climb which could have led to a loss, but Martin messed up that sprint. That was sick.
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  #280  
Old 02-10-13, 15:52
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Gssner obviously got her condition timing totally wrong. She was peaked far too early in the season.
In this condition she has no business going to the Nordic ski championchis
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