Doping in XC skiing

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Libertine Seguros said:
Dmitry Malyshko. He's relatively young, but very unassuming and a real surprise inclusion on the anchor leg of all places. He was 10th in the sprint though, so maybe he's the coming man for the Russians.
My theory was that with him as anchor, the team had the best reliable chance to be with the leaders into the final, and Malyshko as a bonus getting a taste of proper relay pressure. That's at least how it panned out, and he handled it really well. Making time on Boe in the last 2.5k, and disappearing into the distance for Martin Fourcade. Little room for complaints. Boe was on top of his game there it seemed, no misses, making silver pretty much best possible for Russia.

It's fascinating that after decades, the Norwegians are still known for shooting badly. It was mostly Braadsveen and Berger today, but we've seen it from Bjoerndalen and Boe as well at times. Is it beyond them to get a Russian shooting coach? Seems at times every single Russian is a better shot than the average Norwegian. And that's not very likely about PED's, but about mindset and training.
 
Cloxxki said:
Interstingly, today it worked out differently indeed. Russians shot well, Norwegians skied better.
Still that Russian ancor leg skier, whatshisname, managed to break M. Fourcade's mojo skiing away from him. Who ever gets to ski away from Martin in 2.5km? It's not like Martin has been slacking the past few days, just shooting less well. He was always up there with the fastest skiers.
The fastest pursuit biathlete, Bjoerdalen, was given a rest for today. Making the Norwegian's win more impressive.
I think Berger made up time on everyone, despite a penalty lap. Yet always staying in his calm efficient ski mode.
Not only today, Norwegians have dominated biathlon for the last couple of years. Tarjei Bø and Svendsen combined won almost everything last year.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Maybe as he's getting older (and balder) Bergman's unable to be competitive full-season so is going hell for leather for these early events, especially as his home event is one of them, and as a result is in peak form now, where many of the likely overall WC contenders are not. Weren't most of Bergman's best results last year in the early events too, or am I mis-remembering?

I hope that's all it is, but I'm not exactly going to hold my breath, shall we say.
Bergman has changed technology in the shooting and that it is only now begin too give results. He has had good times in the track the last few years but missed too many shots.

In Davos: Norway had very good skis for both ladies and men's races. Nordhug took in 20 seconds Hellner from the highest point down towards the goal. And it was the same in the woman race where Norwegian girls took much of their time against other nations. Norway has the best waxing team in the world and it makes a difference when it's difficult condition, as snow at high altitude.

And then, Norway has the most practitioners most sponsors = money. More can go for full-time and at a younger age. The coaches in the youth side is much better and have more knowledge one most on the continent where the tradition is not so great.

Doping in skiing have mainly been in the Russian and Finnish national teams. The same as the most dopers in cycling is from spain and italy in cycling.

And no I'm not Norwegian.
 
Norway just won both the men's and women's relays in Hochfilzen too.

In the men's this is not a surprise in the slightest - Brattsveen is good and solid, while Berger is super-quick which enabled them to get over his shooting errors, and Svendsen and Bø are the best there is. In the women's, it's a bit more of a surprise. Tora Berger, well, she's among the best and has ben for some time. But since Ann Kristin Flatland announced she was taking time out to have a baby, the rest of the squad is pretty young; last year the relay team was OK, but mostly reliant on Flatland and Berger, whilst hoping Horn and Solemdal wouldn't drop the ball. This year it seems Horn has either stagnated or made conventional progress, while Elise Ringen has turned into a star, and Synnøve Solemdal has turned into a superstar, skiing as fast as the best in Östersund, and now shooting fast and shooting accurately too. Admittedly, her ski time in Hochfilzen doesn't look that spectacular given that she only put about 20 seconds on Sophie Boilley over 3 laps, but her improvement has been sudden and marked. On the plus side, Solemdal and Ringen are 22 and Horn 23, so you could and perhaps should argue the conventional progress of young athletes is the reason, and the Worlds and the focus of the team on the success of Berger and Flatland has been the cause of the discrepance - knowing Flatland would be away, they've realised they would be reliant on these youngsters stepping up and have worked really hard on improving them.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Solemdal is pretty suspicious. Not just because her improvement is so huge and so sudden, but also because of the nature of her improvement. David Ekholm remarked; "You can tell she's really, really strong. She skis like a man technically. It requires a lot of strength." The norwegian coach had a similar explanation; "Synnøve used to be a weak little girl, now she's a woman." Solemdal herself said; "It takes a few years to build up your body".

Except it didn't. It took you a few months. You were a "weak little girl" at the end of last season and quite strong in Ruhpolding after the summer training.
 
Maybe in a few weeks we'll be used to the "new" Synnøve Solemdal and that will be that. I mean, I was a bit concerned by Mäkäräinen's improvement by this time last year, when she would just never drop a shot and still be just about the fastest on track, but eventually I decided it wasn't too bad on the basis that she'd always been that quick, she'd just changed her shooting training and got better at that. But Solemdal has never been this quick OR this accurate.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Maybe in a few weeks we'll be used to the "new" Synnøve Solemdal and that will be that. I mean, I was a bit concerned by Mäkäräinen's improvement by this time last year, when she would just never drop a shot and still be just about the fastest on track, but eventually I decided it wasn't too bad on the basis that she'd always been that quick, she'd just changed her shooting training and got better at that. But Solemdal has never been this quick OR this accurate.
Well at least she is very young, a lot less suspicious to have such a breakthrough at 22 y.o than to suddenly improve in such a manner at 26 or 30. Still a bit fishy though.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Norway just won both the men's and women's relays in Hochfilzen too.

In the men's this is not a surprise in the slightest - Brattsveen is good and solid, while Berger is super-quick which enabled them to get over his shooting errors, and Svendsen and Bø are the best there is. In the women's, it's a bit more of a surprise. Tora Berger, well, she's among the best and has ben for some time. But since Ann Kristin Flatland announced she was taking time out to have a baby, the rest of the squad is pretty young; last year the relay team was OK, but mostly reliant on Flatland and Berger, whilst hoping Horn and Solemdal wouldn't drop the ball. This year it seems Horn has either stagnated or made conventional progress, while Elise Ringen has turned into a star, and Synnøve Solemdal has turned into a superstar, skiing as fast as the best in Östersund, and now shooting fast and shooting accurately too. Admittedly, her ski time in Hochfilzen doesn't look that spectacular given that she only put about 20 seconds on Sophie Boilley over 3 laps, but her improvement has been sudden and marked. On the plus side, Solemdal and Ringen are 22 and Horn 23, so you could and perhaps should argue the conventional progress of young athletes is the reason, and the Worlds and the focus of the team on the success of Berger and Flatland has been the cause of the discrepance - knowing Flatland would be away, they've realised they would be reliant on these youngsters stepping up and have worked really hard on improving them.
Could well be...

However it seems the Norwegians are either THE best, in all of sports, in winning in competitive sports on a fairplay policy. Or we just don't know what type of cheating they're on. The LA principle: beaten all the known cheaters. Technology, determination, etc, we've heard it all before.
And, there have been selected super-human performances by Norwegians which are just hard to swallow. Johan Olav Koss being the prime suspect for me. Med student, getting 3 golds in home Olympics before retiring, among which a 10km world record. Near sea level. Never again beaten even at altitude without clap skates. Like the record has been "respected" or considered impossible by those in the sport?
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
Maybe in a few weeks we'll be used to the "new" Synnøve Solemdal and that will be that. I mean, I was a bit concerned by Mäkäräinen's improvement by this time last year, when she would just never drop a shot and still be just about the fastest on track, but eventually I decided it wasn't too bad on the basis that she'd always been that quick, she'd just changed her shooting training and got better at that. But Solemdal has never been this quick OR this accurate.
No, Kaisa definitely improved her skiing as well, although less than Solemdal (but she's also in her late twenties) and she always had strong peaks.

Some ski position stats for Kaisa:

08/09, 09/10, 10/11
Starts: 24, 21, 26
Top10: 9, 12, 24
Top5: 5, 5, 17
Podium: 1, 2, 12
Fastest: 0, 1, 3

I think she said she often had bad skis or ski prep.

Well at least she is very young, a lot less suspicious to have such a breakthrough at 22 y.o than to suddenly improve in such a manner at 26 or 30. Still a bit fishy though.
True.
 
Cloxxki said:
Johan Olav Koss being the prime suspect for me. Med student, getting 3 golds in home Olympics before retiring, among which a 10km world record. Near sea level. Never again beaten even at altitude without clap skates. Like the record has been "respected" or considered impossible by those in the sport?
Skating is a sport you should be suspicious to, you got guys like Hendrix (?) that is only good in the Olympic years and people like Kramer that, well is just too good to be true and almost no testing what so ever
 
Aug 27, 2010
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I watched a bit of the Mens XC two weeks ago, and the top 5 guys looked fresh when they finished, just calmly walking to the sides chatting not even looking windy, where almost everyone outside of top10 fell over when crossing the line looking really winded. I just shook my head and changed to something else. And now that Neuner is stopping after this year female biathlon will just be some surprise norwegian youngster that suddenly got good, vs Mäkarainen and Domrachova that just skis 30+ seconds faster than everybody else.
 
Ney the Viking said:
I watched a bit of the Mens XC two weeks ago, and the top 5 guys looked fresh when they finished, just calmly walking to the sides chatting not even looking windy, where almost everyone outside of top10 fell over when crossing the line looking really winded. I just shook my head and changed to something else. And now that Neuner is stopping after this year female biathlon will just be some surprise norwegian youngster that suddenly got good, vs Mäkarainen and Domrachova that just skis 30+ seconds faster than everybody else.
Noooooo Miri Gößner will learn to shoot one day!!!

(the French have a lot of good talent coming through too, and never count out the Russians. Besides, I'm sure we'll have a new surprise breakthrough next year too just as Mäkäräinen was last year and Solemdal looks like being this one)
 
Ney the Viking said:
I watched a bit of the Mens XC two weeks ago, and the top 5 guys looked fresh when they finished, just calmly walking to the sides chatting not even looking windy, where almost everyone outside of top10 fell over when crossing the line looking really winded. I just shook my head and changed to something else. And now that Neuner is stopping after this year female biathlon will just be some surprise norwegian youngster that suddenly got good, vs Mäkarainen and Domrachova that just skis 30+ seconds faster than everybody else.
It might be true, but it strikes me as odd that Olsen, a few weeks a league of his own, is now out due to bronchitus. I respect airway issues, as I have some in my past and present, but really?
I also don't understand why one skier is more tired than the other, by such a margin. It's supposed to be a hard race, one of the few that really count? Before I started skiing, I didn't know why they fell to the ground so dramatically. Now that I ski myself, I wonder why they don't just crash through their knees on the finish straight.

A note on Northug. Either he was today tired of the 30k, or could not be bothered. He did have his punch to the line, but no intermediate punches as needed on a tight course over 2 laps. Something mildly similar seems to be happening with Bjoergen. Both are aerobically out of this world right now, but with sprinting a bit less so.
Randall seems to be the only female skier with a kick right now, pulls the same trick twice, while being 3 minutes off Bjoergen in a 15km. But OK, Randall was born a sprinter. We'd be scratching our heads if she'd make it halfway the Norwegian pack on a long distance race.
 
Cloxxki said:
It might be true, but it strikes me as odd that Olsen, a few weeks a league of his own, is now out due to bronchitus. I respect airway issues, as I have some in my past and present, but really?
I also don't understand why one skier is more tired than the other, by such a margin. It's supposed to be a hard race, one of the few that really count? Before I started skiing, I didn't know why they fell to the ground so dramatically. Now that I ski myself, I wonder why they don't just crash through their knees on the finish straight.

A note on Northug. Either he was today tired of the 30k, or could not be bothered. He did have his punch to the line, but no intermediate punches as needed on a tight course over 2 laps. Something mildly similar seems to be happening with Bjoergen. Both are aerobically out of this world right now, but with sprinting a bit less so.
Randall seems to be the only female skier with a kick right now, pulls the same trick twice, while being 3 minutes off Bjoergen in a 15km. But OK, Randall was born a sprinter. We'd be scratching our heads if she'd make it halfway the Norwegian pack on a long distance race.
Did you see Northug's sprint in the semi's? That was monstrous. He came from a really long way back. His problem today was that he couldn't position himself at all, and for some reason his skis were much worse than for example the Canadians who were absolutely flying in the descents.

Hopefully Harvey and Kershaw are getting into shape again before TdS, then things could certainly get interesting. Harvey in top shape is the only skier who can beat Northug in a normal sprint after a long-distance race (in classic, anyway).
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Maybe in a few weeks we'll be used to the "new" Synnøve Solemdal and that will be that. I mean, I was a bit concerned by Mäkäräinen's improvement by this time last year, when she would just never drop a shot and still be just about the fastest on track, but eventually I decided it wasn't too bad on the basis that she'd always been that quick, she'd just changed her shooting training and got better at that. But Solemdal has never been this quick OR this accurate.
I think Mäkäräinen had eye surgery before last season. Could be wrong on the date but I am certain she did have one relatively recently.

http://www.femtolasik.fi/index.php?mid=1&pid=55&l=FI
 
maltiv said:
Did you see Northug's sprint in the semi's? That was monstrous. He came from a really long way back. His problem today was that he couldn't position himself at all, and for some reason his skis were much worse than for example the Canadians who were absolutely flying in the descents.

Hopefully Harvey and Kershaw are getting into shape again before TdS, then things could certainly get interesting. Harvey in top shape is the only skier who can beat Northug in a normal sprint after a long-distance race (in classic, anyway).
he said he had nothing left in the finals, and the sprints in the semis where pure adrenalin i think
 
maltiv said:
Did you see Northug's sprint in the semi's? That was monstrous. He came from a really long way back. His problem today was that he couldn't position himself at all, and for some reason his skis were much worse than for example the Canadians who were absolutely flying in the descents.

Hopefully Harvey and Kershaw are getting into shape again before TdS, then things could certainly get interesting. Harvey in top shape is the only skier who can beat Northug in a normal sprint after a long-distance race (in classic, anyway).
There is like 400m of wide stadium to position yourself. Did you see Kershaw do it? Ok, not the perfect example, but he looked to be skiing softly on the flat, start of second lap. Both semi and final as I remember. Yes, the kick to the line is there and it always was monstrous, unheard of. But that doesn't win you sprints if the sprint is short and starts tight like here. He needs 2 or 3 strides to get through the kitty door from 6th to 1st, can then cruise around the last corner in second and win on one leg. That's what it looked like to me. Perhaps he knew more than us. Like that if he would pass, he'd cut his legs for the final straight, and people would lose their (very useful) fear for his sprint.
 
Jun 3, 2010
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Northug normally struggles to be at the front in the sprint races, part of the reason being his quite slow first 100m. This makes it hard for him and he will always need to be on his best form have a chance at victory. He has really good form now obviously, but with less than excellent skis it was too hard. With canadas skis maybe... The top sprinters are of course really good, and I don't think Northug has an edge at all in these races against the best sprinters.

It was apparent that all the norwegians had superior skis on saturday, with the poor suisse having terrible skis(not nice on home turf :( ). The swedes weren't happy with their skis either and said Hellner lost a total of 1:30 to Northug from the high point to the low point of the course. If so actually a really good race from Hellner and it seems he is finding his form, which will be fun in TdS.

With Bauer getting better and probably charging for TdS, and hopefully the canadians finding form for TdS too like mentioned, it will be really interesting.

I think too, almost beyond doubt, that Koss doped. But it is not like anyone actually have been thinking about or tried to take his record without klapp skates. Pretty obvious Kramer would have crushed it in his best days. It is a worthless record.
 
Actually I thought Kershaw had relatively slow skis yesterday. He was sprinting further over the hill than anyone else, giving everything to get a good downhill speed going, and yet not gaining on the others very significantly, even with slipstreaming. I've seen Bjoergen zig-zag between competition there once I seem to remember.
 
Jul 8, 2010
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About the sprint of yesterday; in the top 12 only Northug and Cologna skied the 30 km, and don't forget, that in the final there were many of the best sprinters. Petukhov, Joensson... That was just impossible for Northug to beat them. Kershaw also very fast, so I think the 5th place was more than enough for Northug.
And we can say that he is one of the most fastest skier in the world (in long distance sure), but after he starts in all distance there is nothing surprising that the pure sprinters beat him, because where do they start? Only in sprints, and sometimes they do the mini Tours. Until he beat in sprints people like Cologna, Hellner, Legkov, Bauer he has nothing to worried about.

But really, I just can't wait for the Tour de Ski, I think it could be very exciting, especially if Cologna, Bauer, Magnificat, Clara, Legkov and Vylegzhanin will be in a good form too.
 
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