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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Re:

16 Mar 2019 17:44

zarnack wrote:Now that all the arguments have been put forward here, someone should convince Therese Johaug to join biathlon for fun. Wonder, how many misses can she afford to still win, or at least be on the podium or anywhere near the front.

She wins with 2 misses everytime. And 3 misses more often than not. And that's assuming other fast skiers shoot clean.
With the strength in the Norwegian team over recent years I do wonder why more haven't tried it.
Singer01
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Re: Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

16 Mar 2019 18:33

Libertine Seguros wrote:
BullsFan22 wrote:
Libertine Seguros wrote:
BullsFan22 wrote:The Slovenian women that did so well in World Juniors and Youth Olympics (roughly around 2010-2015) the likes of Einfalt (who you mention), Razinger, Eržen, Lampić have either retired or completely fallen off the radar. The only one still being a factor is Lampić. Eržen and Einfalt switched to biathlon in their early 20's. Eržen retired after last year. She had no success whatsoever in biathlon. Einfalt is hardly better. She made the switch after last season and hasn't had success. Razinger had top 30's, even top 20's in the sprints on the xc world cup, but she hasn't raced since last season. FIS site says she's still active, but I think she's probably retired. Razinger never made the switch. The other two simply couldn't improve their shooting.

Jessie diggins of 2013 cannot really be compared to the Jessie Diggins of today. For one, she's 27 now (turns 28 in August). She was 21 during the 2012-2013 season, so it's understandable she wasn't skiing as well (certainly as consistently as she is now). Herrmann's best season on the WC was in 2013/2014. Her next best was 2012/2013. She switched to biathlon after the 2015/2016 season after having little to speak about that season. She skied a couple WC's in 2017, sprints in Toblach.

It would be interesting if they had one WC where the top 10-15 biathletes showed up at a 10km individual race during the middle of the season, when there are no major championships. That would be a good barometer.

That was my point with the adjunct with Diggins - your argument regarding where people like Egan were in their field when they were XC skiers compared to where she is now is even less comparable than Diggins then to Diggins now. You wouldn't argue that her being 27th or what have you then and 5th now means that the XC field is worse than it was. So why argue that Egan being an uncompetitive XC skier means that biathletes are poor skiers because she is competitive now, when for 3/4 years on the biathlon World Cup she was just as uncompetitive as a biathlon skier, and only this year she's been any good?



Egan is competitive in biathlon because there just aren't a lot of fast skiers in biathlon. That's why. She's improved her shooting. It's not as erratic as it was. That's what's helped her get higher up in the rankings.

Look at Egan's head to head results against Diggins before making the switch. Remember also that Egan is 4 years older. Now, Diggins was consistently amongst the best juniors in the country in the US. She had top 10 results at World Juniors. Egan was never that good. Again, she never got on on any podium even in her mid 20's.

She only made it to one Junior Nationals, her last year as a junior (U20). She was 6 minutes behind in the distance skate race. I know that was a long time ago (2007), but that is quite significant.

Those Egan rankings I mentioned above were not her World Cup rank. They were her SKI TIME ranks.

83rd. 48th. 64th. 14th.

Her skiing has leapt up by a HUGE amount this season, and so her performances as a younger XC skier aren't comparable to her performances as a biathlete in 2018-19. Now, why she's made that jump at this age is a different question. But it's not a question of XC vs biathlon because it happened after 3 years of being uncompetitive as a skier in biathlon.


What's her stats on shooting this season compared to the first 4 years of her biathlon career? I know she's made improvements in her skiing, but she doesn't make the US world cup team in xc, granted the xc team is the best it's ever been on the women's side and the talent pool in the US is much greater in xc than biathlon, but still. The reason she switched to biathlon is obvious. Just the way Susan Dunklee did, and Max Durschi and Terra Gerathy Moats (now she's in nordic combined), etc.

I don't know the reasons on her improvements on her skiing this year. Training, more healthy, peaking right? Something else?
BullsFan22
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17 Mar 2019 00:43

There's been a change in the US coaching staff this season, plus also I think they may well have reallocated a lot of the resources towards the women with Bailey and Burke both retiring, seeing Dunklee as their most likely source of results going forward. Certainly a 31-year-old making that kind of leap in her skiing performance feels like it may be something that would be best served discussed in a different part of the forum, and she - like Kikkan Randall did in XC - has taken up a role as an athlete spokesperson so she puts her head above the anti-doping parapet too. Whether she would make the XC team was not what we were discussing though - it was whether comparing her performances while still an XC skier were a valid stick to beat biathletes with because she's competitive among biathletes now. I think it isn't, because this year's performance is so far out of line with her career to date, and we had several years' worth of performances as a biathlete before these improvements. If she'd gone straight from where she was in XC to the top 15 ski times in biathlon then your point would be valid, but she didn't. She moved to biathlon because she was uncompetitive as an XC skier, but she was then uncompetitive as a skier among biathletes too, for three years, and then made a huge step forward, whatever the reason for that may be. Otherwise it's like pointing at Chris Froome's performances at the Giro del Capo and saying that it proves Kenny de Ketele could be a GT champion, because Froome at some point after that made a huge leap in his performance capabilities that made his Giro del Capo performances no longer relevant as a comparison for his level.

No, Egan isn't a better XC skier than Diggins or Bjornsen or Caldwell or Brennan. But six years ago the 11th fastest biathlete in the world could finish 24th in a World Championships 10k as an XC skier, the level may be a bit lower now with a few retirements of long term fast athletes, and Brennan right now is 37th in the World Cup as the 4th US athlete. The other problem is that we're limited in which events can be reasonably used as a measuring stick, because there's neither an equivalent to the sprint nor an equivalent to the 30k in the biathlon programme. Theresa Stadlober and Nathalie von Siebenthal are 20th and 30th respectively on the World Cup but both can be counted on to be lower end top 10 of any race of long distance, whereas the similar distances of biathlon races means the variety of the names at the front is more caused by variation in shooting, and so you wouldn't expect the biathletes to compete at a level with the XC specialists in sprints, 30ks or any distance in classic technique, so we're really restricted to the 10/15 free as a comparison point.

The argument that biathletes come from failed XC skiers is only valid up to a point. In some countries it is definitely the case. But in other countries - Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, even to an extent Russia, although in Russia both have traditionally had similarly high regard - biathlon has bigger audiences, bigger funding, and more opportunities (after all, the best XC skiers from many nations will wind up hitting a funding deficit vs. Norway, Sweden and Russia at some point and will not be able to progress any further, whereas there's always the 'shooter's chance' in biathlon where you can win big if others miss the targets - Arnd Peiffer has won an Olympic and World Championship gold the last two seasons by making sure that if the favourites mess up, he's best placed to profit) and even the best XC talent hæmorrhages to biathlon. Because there's always more opportunity in the combination sport. In XC, if you can't beat the Johaugs of this world, you lose. In biathlon, if you're not the fastest skier on the day, you still have a chance if you shoot well and they don't. Vicky Carl has made noises about converting to biathlon, but has abandoned it for the time being. Even Stina Nilsson has been photographed at Östersund doing rifle training a couple of years ago.

My general rule of thumb is that the very best XC skiers wouldn't have any need to go to biathlon (and this is indeed why Stina never bothered taking it beyond a couple of training sessions, because she was that good). The fastest biathletes occasionally get asked to do XC relay legs, because the distances suit them - but not fast enough to justify doing XC full time, which would generally place them towards the 3rd-4th-5th area of a given nation's athletes XC-wise. This varies depending on each nation's relationship between the two sports. The best biathletes in Germany would be faster relative to their XC team (Herrmann and Dahlmeier are up there, I'd wager, with the Carls and Hennigs of this world) than the equivalents in Norway, where XC is preferred (Olsbu and Eckhoff are fast for biathletes and I'd wager they could produce competitive World Cup point-winning performances over the right distance, but anybody who thinks they'd be a match for Johaug or Østberg is crazy). Finland is an outlier because XC is prevalent much more than biathlon, but Kaisa is one of the quickest - however her development of her ski speed came only after she'd been a biathlete for a few years, similar to Egan albeit it happened when she was 27 or so rather than 31.
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17 Mar 2019 08:50

Good points. I also think Davidova is the best Czech XC skier, or, if she isn't that right now, would have potential to become one considering, how young she is. But rightfully she wouldn't be bothered about it, to finish in the points or on a good day in top 20 in XC, while you could get podiums in biathlon and be the star in your country.
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17 Mar 2019 09:18

I don't care how fast he skis, if he keeps shooting like this in the stand JTB is never winning the mass start. Which is fine with me, 4 gold and a silver is already too many for one person. I think Loginov wins, and Roiseland goes for the women's, or Dahlmeier.
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Re:

17 Mar 2019 09:52

Singer01 wrote:I don't care how fast he skis, if he keeps shooting like this in the stand JTB is never winning the mass start. Which is fine with me, 4 gold and a silver is already too many for one person. I think Loginov wins, and Roiseland goes for the women's, or Dahlmeier.


I think Fillon Maillet will win the mass-start ahead of Loginov, third place could go for Tarjei Boe, Doll or even for Johannes if he shoots well at least in one standing position.

In the women, always more difficult to predict, perhaps you are right and Olsbu wins her first individual gold, but I think Herrmann will be around a medal position and Kuzmina is always dangerous.
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17 Mar 2019 12:32

...unless she only hits 1 of her first 5 targets.
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17 Mar 2019 14:42

And Wierer wins! Same points as Vittozzi now in the WC.
Riposa in pace, Michele!
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17 Mar 2019 15:01

Big finale in Holmenkollen will result from that. The Mass Start being on the menu puts a lot of pressure on Lisa in the sprint/pursuit, because of their head to head in Mass Starts (3-1 to Wierer) and today's 8th place was her best Mass Start all season. Team Vittozzi unite!

Men's race now a basic one lap shoot and run, because the wind has completely changed and shaken the race to its core.
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17 Mar 2019 15:40

Omg what a race, what a race. That's biathlon for you.
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17 Mar 2019 16:00

Fun fact. Italy won their first biathlon world championship/olympic gold medal since 1997... And now they got 2 in one day!

Austria finally got a medal too, so among notable biathlon nations Czech Republic was left without a medal. I guess they have a bit of a generational change going on, Davidova's time would come in the future. Slovenia and Belarus too, but they have been relying on Fak and Domracheva a lot anyway.
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17 Mar 2019 16:59

Alexander Bolshunov is simply the biggest talent I have ever seen in cross country skiing (I follow it since 2007). Incredible how he gets podiums in almost every distance race he enters (and he raced almost every race this year) while also managing to be a good sprinter. He is now just 14 points behind Klaebo ahead of the Canadian mini-Tour and don't see Klaebo holding Bolshunov in the final 15k pursuit.
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Re:

17 Mar 2019 19:00

KZD wrote:Alexander Bolshunov is simply the biggest talent I have ever seen in cross country skiing (I follow it since 2007). Incredible how he gets podiums in almost every distance race he enters (and he raced almost every race this year) while also managing to be a good sprinter. He is now just 14 points behind Klaebo ahead of the Canadian mini-Tour and don't see Klaebo holding Bolshunov in the final 15k pursuit.

He's a jack of all trades, but he has plenty of time to develop into a huge outlier, should concentrate on distance as he is not going to pick up victories in many sprints. It could actually be very boring for next 4 or 5 years with him and Klaebo taking everything but never having a proper rivalry due to different specialisms.
Weird how JTB and Roiseland could be said to have had disappointing championships.
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Re:

17 Mar 2019 19:27

KZD wrote:Alexander Bolshunov is simply the biggest talent I have ever seen in cross country skiing (I follow it since 2007). Incredible how he gets podiums in almost every distance race he enters (and he raced almost every race this year) while also managing to be a good sprinter. He is now just 14 points behind Klaebo ahead of the Canadian mini-Tour and don't see Klaebo holding Bolshunov in the final 15k pursuit.

It seems to me the same was thought of Ustiugov, he wasn't a lot older than Bolshunov when he was ranked 1st in distance and 2nd in sprint. It looked like he was going to win every race. He is still good, but not dominating like a few years ago. Chervotkin, who actually finished well today, has done a bit of a disappearing act lately. Spitsov has cooled off as well, after going from nowhere to 3 olympic medals in a few months he is not performing at nearly the same level.
"This comment qualifies as a shining example of the "anyone who disagrees with my perspective is a dolt" leftist, intolerant mish-mash of shallow thinking." - Scott SoCal
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Re: Re:

17 Mar 2019 19:50

frenchfry wrote:
KZD wrote:Alexander Bolshunov is simply the biggest talent I have ever seen in cross country skiing (I follow it since 2007). Incredible how he gets podiums in almost every distance race he enters (and he raced almost every race this year) while also managing to be a good sprinter. He is now just 14 points behind Klaebo ahead of the Canadian mini-Tour and don't see Klaebo holding Bolshunov in the final 15k pursuit.

It seems to me the same was thought of Ustiugov, he wasn't a lot older than Bolshunov when he was ranked 1st in distance and 2nd in sprint. It looked like he was going to win every race. He is still good, but not dominating like a few years ago. Chervotkin, who actually finished well today, has done a bit of a disappearing act lately. Spitsov has cooled off as well, after going from nowhere to 3 olympic medals in a few months he is not performing at nearly the same level.


Ustiugov has had a bit of a rough go of it the last two seasons, even if he's won races on the world cup. Last year he suffered a back injury in the TDS stage in Oberstdorf and didn't start the final stage of the TDS for that reason. Then he didn't race until Seefeld WC. There he was in the top 10. Couldn't go to the Olympics because the IOC went all political. Didn't race any of the remaining WC's.

In late October he fractured his thumb in rollerski practice and had to have surgery and thus missing valuable training hours. Didn't race until Davos, mid december. Had a good TDS but the penultimate stage destroyed his chances of the overall, still, getting second was good. After that he battled sickness and while he laid down an excellent prologue in the Seefeld sprint, he didn't make the final. In the skiathlon he couldn't hang on in the classic portion and no medals. Gave up his spot in the team sprint to Retyvikh and had stomach problems during the relay. News is that he won't race in Canada for the WC final.

He is 4 years older than Bolshunov and Klaebo but he's had a whirlwind last two seasons. He hasn't had luck with injuries and not being in the Olympics was tough to swallow.

If he can stay healthy and can put the recent past behind him, he will challenge for wins. Next season is a good opportunity to do that as there are no major championships. He is definitely a better skate sprinter (and arguably a better skate distance skier) than Bolshunov.
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17 Mar 2019 20:18

I see that the Andorra guy was 9th today. Kind of odd that the closest rivals to Russians & Norwegians are coming from fairly exotic countries in skiing terms - UK (Musgrave) and now Andorra too.
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Re:

17 Mar 2019 22:16

zarnack wrote:I see that the Andorra guy was 9th today. Kind of odd that the closest rivals to Russians & Norwegians are coming from fairly exotic countries in skiing terms - UK (Musgrave) and now Andorra too.


Yes, Irineu is a talented skier, particularly in distance skating races and he is from the same year as Bolshunov and Klaebo, 1996, so he is likely get better and maybe able to fight for some wins. Still, its not as weird to see a skier from Andorra than from the UK because they actually have a few cross country skiing tracks there.
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Re: Re:

17 Mar 2019 23:12

Singer01 wrote:
KZD wrote:Alexander Bolshunov is simply the biggest talent I have ever seen in cross country skiing (I follow it since 2007). Incredible how he gets podiums in almost every distance race he enters (and he raced almost every race this year) while also managing to be a good sprinter. He is now just 14 points behind Klaebo ahead of the Canadian mini-Tour and don't see Klaebo holding Bolshunov in the final 15k pursuit.

He's a jack of all trades, but he has plenty of time to develop into a huge outlier, should concentrate on distance as he is not going to pick up victories in many sprints. It could actually be very boring for next 4 or 5 years with him and Klaebo taking everything but never having a proper rivalry due to different specialisms.
Weird how JTB and Roiseland could be said to have had disappointing championships.


Yes, I guess they will clash more in the Tours, although I think that Klaebo will improve his distance performances and Bolshunov can still give a good fight in some classic sprints.
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Re: Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

18 Mar 2019 01:05

Well, Musgrave has trained in Norway for more than 10 years now, he's almost an 'adopted' Norwegian. Seeing him so high up in the standings, particularly in skate races, shouldn't be shocking anymore. What's interesting about him was that he was focusing a lot more on sprints early in his career, then after Sochi something clicked and he stopped performing (or maybe focusing) on sprints and has had much more success in distance races.

As far as Altimiras Esteve from Andorra, he's obviously a talented skier. He's had notable results in U23's, almost making the podium last season and the one before, so if he can challenge for podiums against the best in the world in that age group, then it means he may be on the track and so he seems to be. The one thing about him, and really all the individuals/teams from minor countries is the manpower. He just doesn't have the support that the big teams have, so it'll be interesting to see how big of an impact that will be, particularly when conditions are tricky. Swedish television talked about that handicap, how little resources his team has. Not surprising. I wonder if he'll latch on to the French or try to get some assistance from them.
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18 Mar 2019 08:50

Finally got around to watching men's mass start. How often does someone miss 5? I don't remember ever seeing that!
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