Doping in XC skiing

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Kokoso said:
Gracey said:
Kokoso said:
I'd like to ask someone (anyone) with some insight on number of registered xc skiers in Norway and other countries, cause that is definitely something influencing performance of their athletes. I've heard that 4 out of 5 milion Norwegians are registered (that is huge relative number) and kids entering 4th class at primary school are mostly registered in not one, but two ski clubs. I wonder about about comparison with other nations. Thank you for your opinions!
I'm an Australian living in Norway and in my son's class, from 2nd grade on, only 2 boys aren't skiing for the local club and one is Polish the other from Sudan.
Thank you for answer!

Yesterday Johaug had 20 seconds on 2,2 km, 1:20 in finish. Isn't that a lot? With what margin did Mühlegg won once upon a time?
Yeah, but let's not forget, the Norwegians don't dope! They are morally the best professional athletes out there!! Squeaky clean. Think of all the great, clean legends of the past: Daehlie, Alsgaard, Jevne, Sivertsen, Ulvang, Mikkelsplass, Langli, Estil, Hjelmeset, Skari...
 
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Cloxxki said:
meat puppet said:
But Johaug is definitely not that good technically, especially while skating. By her own standards she might have improved, but explaining her dominance even partly by technical skills would be pushing it. Compare to Domracheva and Kalla and you'll get the picture. To her it's mainly about maintaining that insane cadence. And gravity.
The way I see it, skis by (current) design simply favor lightweight skiers. All skis are 4cm wide. Whether you're 46kg like her, or 92kg like me. Ski length is limited by sponsors. 192-195cm is all you get. I think Johaug often uses 187. But even 177 would be hugely long compared to the longest I can get. Not only in a pure length sense, he skate skis being way longer than she is tall and somehow having to manage those (high tempo might be necesary to not stumble), but especially kg/cm³. In soft snow she doesn't have challengers who are not in another sport (Domracheva). Johaug can hacksaw through soft snow and have way less resistance to content with than if Domracheva skis with a 35kg backpack on my 192 skis, keeping it silky smooth. You just poke the snow like it's a walking stick. Wider than 4cm is not for sale, wider that 192 also not. And most pros are in the 182-192 bracket. 5% length range! So the longest you can get seem to have preference. Advantage to short and light people.
In classic I suspect the low body weigh also helps. Less purchase required over the length of the grip zone to get sufficient push. And still a halla long ski to make for low drag.
The drag factor doesn't overcome air resistance in a fast downhill, Bjoergen types are visibly quicker there, mass/frontal area, but when just racing along, it's great to be light. And ski and policy makers act like one ski fits all, and no choice should be allowed. Or "there is no demand".

Still, I don't think the technical advantage Johaug IMO absolutely holds, makes her clean. It's liek other nations don't care about skiing, and have no culture. A ski nut nation is expected to be good, but not with such supremacy. Other nations are well committed, have good talents, and their technique is great.
I'm also not going to vouch for Kalla, BTW.
Thanks for your reply, cloxxki, it was thoughtful as ever and you make an interesting point.
 
I'm slow on the uptake. But found it a curious coincidence that both Randall and Bjoergen are on a baby break. Both ski girls with sprint speed turned bodybuilders, andd just by virtue of grit and effort good distance skiers.

Johaug showed why skiing needs ears. Her coaches should have convinced here to stay closer to the rest of the field. The field is denser than ever, and to take so much time, I have to reconsider my fandom of her. Pure mockery. And if other nations don't complain, they are probably just figuring out how to get the same results without dying of blood clots.
 
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Cloxxki said:
I'm slow on the uptake. But found it a curious coincidence that both Randall and Bjoergen are on a baby break. Both ski girls with sprint speed turned bodybuilders, andd just by virtue of grit and effort good distance skiers.

Johaug showed why skiing needs ears. Her coaches should have convinced here to stay closer to the rest of the field. The field is denser than ever, and to take so much time, I have to reconsider my fandom of her. Pure mockery. And if other nations don't complain, they are probably just figuring out how to get the same results without dying of blood clots.
I think the field being so weak these days really pumps Johaug's victories even more. Had she raced a decade earlier, and still crushing the field, well...she probably wouldn't be winning by this much, if at all. No doubt there was doping back then as well, and my belief was that the competition was deeper then. It all sort of died down in the women's field after Vancouver 2010 and then even more after Oslo 2011. Not gonna backpedal and say she isn't on something(s) but the time gaps seem even more ridiculous due to the field. Just look at the numbers from Davos. There were only 46 women that raced the 15km!!! That's a really small field. And a weak one to boot. Having said that, Johaug is just taking these races on as if they were sprint qualifiers.
 
Feb 4, 2012
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BullsFan22 said:
I hope Bjoergen skis until 2018 and even beyond and still dominates. A little bit like Bjoerndalen. Winning races at almost 42, against people that could almost be his kids. It would be extremely hilarious to see her still skiing at 41 or 42 and still winning world cups.
I think think she will. If we've learned anything about Bjoergen it's that her awesomeness has no limits. Age? That's just a number.
 
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BullsFan22 said:
I hope Bjoergen skis until 2018 and even beyond and still dominates. A little bit like Bjoerndalen. Winning races at almost 42, against people that could almost be his kids. It would be extremely hilarious to see her still skiing at 41 or 42 and still winning world cups.
She could ski with her kids on her back and still win world cups.
 
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Samson said:
Didn't he and Musgrave both study and train in Norway?

Yes, Musgrave in 2008 and Young a little later. Young's dad, Roy, is the head coach/manager for the British team. In all honesty though, Young had everything pan out for him yesterday. Great skis, great form, good tactical savvy, and just about perfect conditions. Hard packed snow, fast course with two hills that aren't, usually, that significant. This is why a guy like Simi Hamilton did so well. Remember Lenzerheide two years ago, when Hamilton won the TDS sprint? Virtually identical conditions and course.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Kowalczyk started shaking her head in disbelief when she saw how much faster Johaug was, that was very telling.
 
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Mayomaniac said:
Kowalczyk started shaking her head in disbelief when she saw how much faster Johaug was, that was very telling.
TJ and MJS are like aliens. The Swedes, The Finns, Cologna and quite a few more tried to step up training hours and intensity this season but can't manage to stay healthy. MJS can compete on top every race, doesn't even need recovery time. Crushing the field on every distance by eons of time. Comforting to see that WADA and FIS-Anti doping are focused in keeping the Russians clean. Otherwise, nothing strange - nothing to see.
 
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Discgear said:
Mayomaniac said:
Kowalczyk started shaking her head in disbelief when she saw how much faster Johaug was, that was very telling.
TJ and MJS are like aliens. The Swedes, The Finns, Cologna and quite a few more tried to step up training hours and intensity this season but can't manage to stay healthy. MJS can compete on top every race, doesn't even need recovery time. Crushing the field on every distance by eons of time. Comforting to see that WADA and FIS-Anti doping are focused in keeping the Russians clean. Otherwise, nothing strange - nothing to see.
"Comforting to see that WADA and FIS-Anti doping are focused in keeping the Russians clean." Sarcasm? The Russians, believe it or not, are probably the cleanest they've been in some time. A good number of them train outside the national team, with foreign coaches, and they had a pretty good day. All six of their men were in the top 13, with Bessmertnykh crushing the race with the only one beating him was the Cyborg. Perhaps the guys that chose to double pole made big mistakes, whereas the Russians focused on good kick wax. Like I mentioned in the Young and Hamilton results of yesterday, the good, hard, fast conditions favor some more than others, and it certainly favors the Russians, who usually better at classic than skate. Add to the fact that they had good skis (or so it seemed on tv) and you get good results. The Norwegians maybe slowly dropping their form and everyone else is starting to pick up theirs. The Tour de Ski is gonna be interesting. I still think the Cyborg will win. Also interesting to see what happens with Cologna, Northug and the Swedish men, who have done absolutely nothing so far this season, except for one or two races from Martin Johansson.
 
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BullsFan22 said:
"Comforting to see that WADA and FIS-Anti doping are focused in keeping the Russians clean." Sarcasm?
Absolutely. Antidoping within FIS is a joke, always leaving the Scandinavians out, focusing on the East. Remember the late Saltin and how he struggled to keep a straight face when he was confronted with the excuses and white washing from Norwegian Ski Federation concerning the SVT documentary. The Hippocatic Oath stopped him, but there was no doubt what he really thought.
BullsFan22 said:
The Russians, believe it or not, are probably the cleanest they've been in some time.
Agree, they have to. All anti-doping is focusing on them, not on the out of Earth performances by Cyborgs.
BullsFan22 said:
I still think the Cyborg will win.
Totally agree
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i generally agree that the russians, both men and the girls, must have cleaned up their act. i am also on record here to point to a fact that many of them being trained by foreign coaches and largely spending most of the season abroad makes them easy targets for sudden doping controls, which, of course does not guarantee anything, but makes doping in central/north europe much more difficult than say flying vampires to khanty-mansiysk...

that said, i was a tad surprised by bessmertnykh yesterday...it was his 2nd wc podium ever. in fact, after watching the race again, i am convinced he would win over sundby had he started AFTER him. it was a huge factor for sundby's pacing. the difference at the finish (13seconds) and at all checkpoints (never more than few seconds) shows how close it was. alexander's finish was so vigorous that it shows he had some left, whereas sundby was totally wasted dug in the snow senseless (as he himself admitted) for the 1st time this season.

anyway, alex is a terrific classic specialist with good-looking style. yet it was the same good style that landed him in only the 2nd russian team in lillehammer few days back with the worst classic performance of the 4 russian legs. also, he did not show anything special this season in ruka in november.

in one word, it was a clear outlier performance for alex. granted it could be a special day or something and i hope nothing worst, b/c i like his low key friendly personality.
 
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python said:
i generally agree that the russians, both men and the girls, must have cleaned up their act. i am also on record here to point to a fact that many of them being trained by foreign coaches and largely spending most of the season abroad makes them easy targets for sudden doping controls, which, of course does not guarantee anything, but makes doping in central/north europe much more difficult than say flying vampires to khanty-mansiysk...

that said, i was a tad surprised by bessmertnykh yesterday...it was his 2nd wc podium ever. in fact, after watching the race again, i am convinced he would win over sundby had he started AFTER him. it was a huge factor for sundby's pacing. the difference at the finish (13seconds) and at all checkpoints (never more than few seconds) shows how close it was. alexander's finish was so vigorous that it shows he had some left, whereas sundby was totally wasted dug in the snow senseless (as he himself admitted) for the 1st time this season.

anyway, alex is a terrific classic specialist with good-looking style. yet it was the same good style that landed him in only the 2nd russian team in lillehammer few days back with the worst classic performance of the 4 russian legs. also, he did not show anything special this season in ruka in november.

in one word, it was a clear outlier performance for alex. granted it could be a special day or something and i hope nothing worst, b/c i like his low key friendly personality.
I agree. He crushed the OPA cup (level just below the WC) last weekend in similar fashion. He is one of those hit or miss type of skiers. Remember he was 7th in the Sochi 15km and that was with suspect skis. Late starters do get benefits of splits, but I almost think that Bessmertnykh starting so early actually helped him. Not necessarily due to the conditions, but just going out there and skiing his own race and not worrying about the splits. Almost like nothing to lose, if you get my drift. Sometimes having all the splits can be a negative, especially if you are thinking about that as you race. He did mention in the FIS interview that he had great skis, which confirms my earlier comment. He may not have collapsed in the snow like Sundby did, but he was breathing heavily for a while. Even the Eurosport commentators mentioned that as he sat on the leader's chair. We'll see what happens in the Tour de Ski. There isn't much of a break until the start of the tour, but the holiday season and what people do during that time can play a big role in the outcome. The Norwegians already made their selections. No surprises really. Has Northug been playing a game so far of not showing his form? Or this being a non-championship season withdrawn his interest to some races, or perhaps most them?
 
Sep 25, 2009
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BullsFan22 said:
python said:
i generally agree that the russians, both men and the girls, must have cleaned up their act. i am also on record here to point to a fact that many of them being trained by foreign coaches and largely spending most of the season abroad makes them easy targets for sudden doping controls, which, of course does not guarantee anything, but makes doping in central/north europe much more difficult than say flying vampires to khanty-mansiysk...

that said, i was a tad surprised by bessmertnykh yesterday...it was his 2nd wc podium ever. in fact, after watching the race again, i am convinced he would win over sundby had he started AFTER him. it was a huge factor for sundby's pacing. the difference at the finish (13seconds) and at all checkpoints (never more than few seconds) shows how close it was. alexander's finish was so vigorous that it shows he had some left, whereas sundby was totally wasted dug in the snow senseless (as he himself admitted) for the 1st time this season.

anyway, alex is a terrific classic specialist with good-looking style. yet it was the same good style that landed him in only the 2nd russian team in lillehammer few days back with the worst classic performance of the 4 russian legs. also, he did not show anything special this season in ruka in november.

in one word, it was a clear outlier performance for alex. granted it could be a special day or something and i hope nothing worst, b/c i like his low key friendly personality.
I agree. He crushed the OPA cup (level just below the WC) last weekend in similar fashion. He is one of those hit or miss type of skiers. Remember he was 7th in the Sochi 15km and that was with suspect skis. Late starters do get benefits of splits, but I almost think that Bessmertnykh starting so early actually helped him. Not necessarily due to the conditions, but just going out there and skiing his own race and not worrying about the splits. Almost like nothing to lose, if you get my drift. Sometimes having all the splits can be a negative, especially if you are thinking about that as you race. He did mention in the FIS interview that he had great skis, which confirms my earlier comment. He may not have collapsed in the snow like Sundby did, but he was breathing heavily for a while. Even the Eurosport commentators mentioned that as he sat on the leader's chair. We'll see what happens in the Tour de Ski. There isn't much of a break until the start of the tour, but the holiday season and what people do during that time can play a big role in the outcome. The Norwegians already made their selections. No surprises really. Has Northug been playing a game so far of not showing his form? Or this being a non-championship season withdrawn his interest to some races, or perhaps most them?
of course i was only theorizing if bessmertnykh would have beaten sundby had he started AFTER him or within few minutes to use the feedback for pacing. he lost several seconds and it is a recorded fact.

yet, besides my observations above, i had in mind some other data i decided not to invest time typing (no one reads it anyway)... alex was on the course concurrently with sundby for some considerable time and almost certainly had been receiving a feedback of sundby's pace. more specifically, i am speaking from memory so, the exactness isn't guaranteed, sundby started about 15 to 20 minutes after the eventual runner-up. thus, while martin was aware of alex's ALL splits, bessmertnykh was aware of sundby's early and mid-race splits (7-8 km). and he paced very well and took good advantage of his grip wax uphills. here's their individual splits


iow, he'd surge ahead by few seconds on uphill time stations for as long as he had the feedback - up to km 7.1...and then it started to 'grow'. alex's own words to the team-2014 portal: ..if i had his times it would be a different race'. also, excellent waxing explains only one part. ALL 6 russians, unlike in other teams that were 50/50, raced on the excellent grip wax. yet alex beat the 2nd fastes russian by almost a full minutes. he was an aerobic beast yesterday he hardly ever showed...!!

anyways, it's water under the bridge.

yea, northug is an actor. i just listened to him yapping in front of the nrk mics, 'everything is just fine for the tds". yes, the norges had announced their tds team real early this year, and so did the finns. i am worried for the swedes...expect surprises from vyleg.
 
So Sundby won this race despite picking the wrong race style. Double poling wass't the right way to go, but his margin of win was sufficient to absorb the difference and have some left at the finish line.
Kowalczyk look like she has gone clean as asked, and Johaug hasn't. At all. I'm OK with being clearly the best in the world, but to be so to 2nd place with the same margin as between second and 10th? It may get worse than that as the season progresses.

While reference is made to a weak women's field in XC, in Biathlon it's considered strong. Many women with ski speed to be in the fight for top-10 spots and podiums. My memory regarding Dorin Habert is letting me down. When exactly did she become a sort of yard stick for ski speed? I thought she was of the French school of sharp shooters that lose a lot of time on the snow?
Svendsen is getting comments from fans as should he not be fully motivated. His sprint against Beatrix, did he even want to win that? I know all about the discomfort in the body during XC racing, but really, did he even try? The tin foil hatter in me wonders whether he's been given a silent sanction. But I felt that way with Neuner a bit sometimes also (also vocal about testing), and now with Bjoergen and Randall.
Not long ago, there was talk that Svendsen might be being targeted, getting lots of doping tests. Not being the best Norwegian for a moment isn't exactly shameful in this era, but it does come across as a bit odd to see Svendsen race this way.
 
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Cloxxki said:
So Sundby won this race despite picking the wrong race style. Double poling wass't the right way to go, but his margin of win was sufficient to absorb the difference and have some left at the finish line.
Kowalczyk look like she has gone clean as asked, and Johaug hasn't. At all. I'm OK with being clearly the best in the world, but to be so to 2nd place with the same margin as between second and 10th? It may get worse than that as the season progresses.

While reference is made to a weak women's field in XC, in Biathlon it's considered strong. Many women with ski speed to be in the fight for top-10 spots and podiums. My memory regarding Dorin Habert is letting me down. When exactly did she become a sort of yard stick for ski speed? I thought she was of the French school of sharp shooters that lose a lot of time on the snow?
Svendsen is getting comments from fans as should he not be fully motivated. His sprint against Beatrix, did he even want to win that? I know all about the discomfort in the body during XC racing, but really, did he even try? The tin foil hatter in me wonders whether he's been given a silent sanction. But I felt that way with Neuner a bit sometimes also (also vocal about testing), and now with Bjoergen and Randall.
Not long ago, there was talk that Svendsen might be being targeted, getting lots of doping tests. Not being the best Norwegian for a moment isn't exactly shameful in this era, but it does come across as a bit odd to see Svendsen race this way.
Sorry, but no way is the women's Biathlon field considered strong. There is more parity, as ski speed and generally speaking, shooting, is closer than it has ever been in women's biathlon, but the field has taken the same type of hits as far as retirements are concerned. There are only a few skiers, for example, that could fight for top 20-30 placings in xc events. Those would be people like Makarainen, Goessner, Soukalova, Eckhoff, Wierer and perhaps Dorin-Habert. Goessner was 4th, less than a second off of the medals in Val Di Fiemme 2013 and Makarainen wasn't too far behind. I watched the women's mass start from Pokljuka and, not to sound rude or to belittle any of the women, but it's just not at the level it was even a few years ago. No Domracheva, Berger retired, Neuner retired, no Vilukhina, Ekholm retired, Sleptsova (who really knows what's up with her).

As far as Svendsen is concerned, I too, am wondering what's going on with him. It was very strange to see him literally give up in the sprint vs Beatrix, a guy he would normally own in a sprint to the line. Sure, we are all very tired as we near the finish, but he seemed to put absolutely no fight. Similar thing happened in the pursuit against Garannaichev. He was complaining about having slow skis in the Hochfilzen relay, where he lost another sprint, that time to Shipulin (although that isn't too much of a shocker as Shipulin is the top finisher in biathlon right now). He doesn't seem to have that explosiveness. Perhaps it's by design, being coy like Northug and wanting to play mind games before Oslo, perhaps it's form, and as you say, it might be more than that. It could very well be it's due to him being targeted and being tested more.
 
How does an unmotivated biathlete get into the sprint of a mass start win? Sure, the shooting is easy if you don't care.
I was actually expecting Beatrix to do well. He's quick on his feet. A downhill finish such as here just prohibits raising your head, forget about placing a pole. If Svendsen threw that sprint, he was not convicing in doing so.
If targeting, getting too many podiums were the issue, he'd not even head into that sprint. It's totally tin foil head crazy, but I can't find a better guess than that he's been told to not win, not outshine anyone.

Have there ever been many biathletes able to stay with XC skiers? Sure, Bjoerndalen has won a bunch of racs, as has Lars Berger, but that may say more about Norwegian sports in general, and the skating technique of their XC skiers in that era.
We know damn well how huge the performance boost of a sophisticated program is in a sport such as XC skiing. In biathlon, it would also greatly affect shooting performance due to quicker recovery. Yet, Norwegians never had issues staying close to and in front of the most shamed dopers of all time. In a fairly evenly matched clean field, and it really doesn't stretch many percents of ski time in XC, the very backmarkers in XC could be turned into absolute stars at the front over a winter.
In women's XC, I can't help but feel the other nations have gone pan e aqua. The Swedes the exception.
Sundby and Johaug seem to have drawn (earned) the Armstrong/Bolt card.

Bjoerndalen may be the best skier Biathlon ever had, but at his age, with his racing volume to still equal the Boe brothers for ski speed, that's just not right. I hear a lot of talk about marginal gains and sleeping away from the team in his own camper. Why let Michele Ferrari pull up in his camper when you can hide him in your own? :) While I absolutely do not trust Norwegians, I appreciate that they're performances are so smooth and predictable. No all too erratic fluctuations. Is someone crafting results more than squeezing every inch of performance out?

On Andrew Young, we'll see. If all at once he can set fastest pursuit times like Musgrave, and keeps on making it look easy in sprints, I am afraid we'll know enough. Your dad as team manager as your star team mate suddenly loses form, I just don't like to hear that sorrt of stuff. Sports dads have a very bad reputation. Based on the tiny share that got caught. More than regular coaches they see their offspring as extention of themselves, OK to shoot up.
 
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Cloxxki said:
How does an unmotivated biathlete get into the sprint of a mass start win? Sure, the shooting is easy if you don't care.
I was actually expecting Beatrix to do well. He's quick on his feet. A downhill finish such as here just prohibits raising your head, forget about placing a pole. If Svendsen threw that sprint, he was not convicing in doing so.
If targeting, getting too many podiums were the issue, he'd not even head into that sprint. It's totally tin foil head crazy, but I can't find a better guess than that he's been told to not win, not outshine anyone.

Have there ever been many biathletes able to stay with XC skiers? Sure, Bjoerndalen has won a bunch of racs, as has Lars Berger, but that may say more about Norwegian sports in general, and the skating technique of their XC skiers in that era.
We know damn well how huge the performance boost of a sophisticated program is in a sport such as XC skiing. In biathlon, it would also greatly affect shooting performance due to quicker recovery. Yet, Norwegians never had issues staying close to and in front of the most shamed dopers of all time. In a fairly evenly matched clean field, and it really doesn't stretch many percents of ski time in XC, the very backmarkers in XC could be turned into absolute stars at the front over a winter.
In women's XC, I can't help but feel the other nations have gone pan e aqua. The Swedes the exception.
Sundby and Johaug seem to have drawn (earned) the Armstrong/Bolt card.

Bjoerndalen may be the best skier Biathlon ever had, but at his age, with his racing volume to still equal the Boe brothers for ski speed, that's just not right. I hear a lot of talk about marginal gains and sleeping away from the team in his own camper. Why let Michele Ferrari pull up in his camper when you can hide him in your own? :) While I absolutely do not trust Norwegians, I appreciate that they're performances are so smooth and predictable. No all too erratic fluctuations. Is someone crafting results more than squeezing every inch of performance out?

On Andrew Young, we'll see. If all at once he can set fastest pursuit times like Musgrave, and keeps on making it look easy in sprints, I am afraid we'll know enough. Your dad as team manager as your star team mate suddenly loses form, I just don't like to hear that sorrt of stuff. Sports dads have a very bad reputation. Based on the tiny share that got caught. More than regular coaches they see their offspring as extention of themselves, OK to shoot up.
Bjoerndalen won only one xc world cup race. That's his only xc win, world cup or otherwise. Berger only won one as well, but it was a big one, the 2007 Sapporo 15km. That race though was heavily influenced by a snow storm that began as the top seeded skiers were starting. Berger didn't have to deal with it for the first half of the race. Sure, he was one of the guys that people looked at could podium, but I think the weather played its part. The other guy that won a xc world cup race was Ronny André Hafsås, who won the very first wc race of the 09-10 season. He was also a member of the team that won the 4x10 relay the next day. He went on to race in Vancouver that year but only managed 42 in the 15km skate. He had some injury problems after that and retired rather quietly after 2013, I think.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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BullsFan22 said:
Bjoerndalen won only one xc world cup race. That's his only xc win, world cup or otherwise. Berger only won one as well, but it was a big one, the 2007 Sapporo 15km. That race though was heavily influenced by a snow storm that began as the top seeded skiers were starting. Berger didn't have to deal with it for the first half of the race. Sure, he was one of the guys that people looked at could podium, but I think the weather played its part. The other guy that won a xc world cup race was Ronny André Hafsås, who won the very first wc race of the 09-10 season. He was also a member of the team that won the 4x10 relay the next day. He went on to race in Vancouver that year but only managed 42 in the 15km skate. He had some injury problems after that and retired rather quietly after 2013, I think.
Neither Bjoerndalen won bunch of races nor only one race. He won like three races, one of them world cup. Plus he had some other podium results too.
 
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Regarding Svendsen – I don't believe he threw that sprint. He clearly felt strong heading out from the last shooting and tried time after time to secure the win by attacking, but couldn't ditch Beatrix. Coming into the sprint, he was always in the wrong place. Downhill with Beatrix on his skis, he was doomed to loose. It's a strange and short finish with very high speed, but the camera angle made it seem closer than it really was. He knew he f-ed up tactically and quickly gave up when the Frenchman blew past.

Bjørndalen is dirty and we all know it, but he's untouchable. Berger is pure class :)
 
Apr 22, 2012
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BullsFan22 said:
Sorry, but no way is the women's Biathlon field considered strong. There is more parity, as ski speed and generally speaking, shooting, is closer than it has ever been in women's biathlon, but the field has taken the same type of hits as far as retirements are concerned. There are only a few skiers, for example, that could fight for top 20-30 placings in xc events. Those would be people like Makarainen, Goessner, Soukalova, Eckhoff, Wierer and perhaps Dorin-Habert. Goessner was 4th, less than a second off of the medals in Val Di Fiemme 2013 and Makarainen wasn't too far behind. I watched the women's mass start from Pokljuka and, not to sound rude or to belittle any of the women, but it's just not at the level it was even a few years ago. No Domracheva, Berger retired, Neuner retired, no Vilukhina, Ekholm retired, Sleptsova (who really knows what's up with her).
Anyway, I don't think retired strong biathlete equates weaker field. There are new names, some of the older are getting better and, first and foremost, you don't have comparison. Who know, how would Berger or Neuner fare these days. And, regarding those you name, Berger wasn't head and shoulders above others, there are more with ski speed. Vilukhina, Sleptsova - they weren't very fast, were they? Neuner could be exception, but then you have Mäkkarainen who is even faster...she truly stands out this year so far.
 
Indeed it is a unique finish approach. On classic skis the fastest way would be to just sit low and wait for th finish line to be reached. Freeskating in a semi tuck, the better skaters can increase the speed a bit. Poling equals braking. And everyone by now knows it, freeskating is not some urban myth, and Svendsen certainly masters it.
Remember the Düsseldorf sprint Randall took? The rest were V2'ing, she was freeskating. I think it's even worked on the old finish approach in Ruhpolding some years.
 
Re: Re:

Kokoso said:
BullsFan22 said:
Bjoerndalen won only one xc world cup race. That's his only xc win, world cup or otherwise. Berger only won one as well, but it was a big one, the 2007 Sapporo 15km. That race though was heavily influenced by a snow storm that began as the top seeded skiers were starting. Berger didn't have to deal with it for the first half of the race. Sure, he was one of the guys that people looked at could podium, but I think the weather played its part. The other guy that won a xc world cup race was Ronny André Hafsås, who won the very first wc race of the 09-10 season. He was also a member of the team that won the 4x10 relay the next day. He went on to race in Vancouver that year but only managed 42 in the 15km skate. He had some injury problems after that and retired rather quietly after 2013, I think.
Neither Bjoerndalen won bunch of races nor only one race. He won like three races, one of them world cup. Plus he had some other podium results too.
Don't forget Soldier Hollow!
When Elofsson's body exploded in trying to keep up with Mühlegg - eventually ending his career - OEB was the one who managed to stay in touch longer than anyone else. The "clean" podium ended up like this after JM was thrown out of the Olympics:
GOLD Christian Hoffmann Austria
SILVER Mikhail Botvinov Austria
BRONZE Kristen Skjeldal Norway
4 Pietro Piller Cottrer Italy
5 Ole Einar Bjørndalen Norway
 
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