Doping in XC skiing

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markene2 said:
The one in Norways camp i would be worried about is Johaug. It's inhuman how fast she is now days!
Sundby and Toenseth. What were they on today? Although the Norwegians had rocket skis again. I thought Cologna, with skate skis was gonna take advantage of the last 2km being downhill, but no, the Norwegians with their classic skis were clearly better. Obviously not all of it due to skis, but whatever they are on, it's working.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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markene2 said:
The one in Norways camp i would be worried about is Johaug. It's inhuman how fast she is now days!
i am starting to worry too...her gaps to a runner up like the muscle woman are becoming ridiculous - today 42 seconds equaled full 2.5% !

perhaps part of this difference is due to her lightness advantage in the soft, sagging snow. still, she's decisively different this year.

as i said in the 'regular' thread, by my count only 3 skiers today experimented with the skating skis...the differences were too small to attribute it to the pharmacology downright...in fact, cologna would probably win if he was on a gripper.
 
Kokoso said:
Eckhoff made a big jump since last season. Little bit suspect.
She was 7th in the World Cup last year though and the 10th fastest skier season-long, after being one of the most consistent athletes in the final batch of events in 2012-13. She has no doubt improved noticeably, but it's not a jump as suspicious as Solemdal's emergence in 2011 or Soukalová's in 2012, both of which had their reasons but their improvement season on season was WAY more than Tiril's. Tiril was getting a large number of top 10s last year, but not many podiums. Worth remembering that of the 9 skiers who were faster than her season-long last year, Kuzmina's not there, Berger and Sachenbacher-Stehle both retired, Solemdal is on woeful form and Soukalová's not at her best either. An improvement of only a couple of % for Eckhoff puts her way up the ski charts.

Not saying she can't be suspected, and there are plenty of reasons to have concerns about the Norwegian teams in the Nordic disciplines and biathlon, but to say she's had a big jump in level isn't really accurate.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
She was 7th in the World Cup last year though and the 10th fastest skier season-long, after being one of the most consistent athletes in the final batch of events in 2012-13. She has no doubt improved noticeably, but it's not a jump as suspicious as Solemdal's emergence in 2011 or Soukalová's in 2012, both of which had their reasons but their improvement season on season was WAY more than Tiril's. Tiril was getting a large number of top 10s last year, but not many podiums. Worth remembering that of the 9 skiers who were faster than her season-long last year, Kuzmina's not there, Berger and Sachenbacher-Stehle both retired, Solemdal is on woeful form and Soukalová's not at her best either. An improvement of only a couple of % for Eckhoff puts her way up the ski charts.

Not saying she can't be suspected, and there are plenty of reasons to have concerns about the Norwegian teams in the Nordic disciplines and biathlon, but to say she's had a big jump in level isn't really accurate.
Is sure is worth to note who was faster last year, but you can see it other way - she's faster than Darja, who's and was the fastest. That puts it in different light I suppose. Anyway I don't say she's doping, but given her figure and style I wouldn't expect her to be the fastest skier.
 
Kokoso said:
Is sure is worth to note who was faster last year, but you can see it other way - she's faster than Darja, who's and was the fastest. That puts it in different light I suppose. Anyway I don't say she's doping, but given her figure and style I wouldn't expect her to be the fastest skier.
Ski times:

Östersund Individual:
Darya Domracheva (rank 1) 41'12,4
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 4) +1'37,6

Östersund Sprint:
Kaisa Mäkäräinen (rank 1) 18'45,7
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 2) +30,9
Darya Domracheva (rank 3) +37,1

Östersund Pursuit:
Darya Domracheva (rank 1) 29'05,0
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 3) +25,4

Hochfilzen Sprint:
Kaisa Mäkäräinen (rank 1) 18'21,0
Darya Domracheva (rank 2) +23,0
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 3) +26,9

Hochfilzen Relay (leg 4):
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 1) 14'45,6
Darya Domracheva (rank 2) +6,4

So actually, Tiril has been relatively close to Darya or beaten her in the shortest events, and in longer ones Darya has been significantly quicker than her. Looking at the time gaps to Mäkäräinen, you could consider that Darya is not at her best in the sprint races, as she's come into her own in the longer ones. Darya has also massively improved her range time, which suggests this has been targeted in the offseason. In the relay, Darya was racing tactically against Vitková on the last lap as Preuß was uncatchable, whereas Tiril was racing from deep in the field and went hard throughout, and despite how much time gain Tiril made on the last lap, she only bested Domracheva by six seconds on ski time.

She's improved, definitely, but really I think you're seeing a Solemdal-like transformation that absolutely isn't there.
 
roundabout said:
I'd be more concerned about a certain other country in biathlon.
Which one? There are quite a few that could raise some concerns if you look into it, but a lot of mitigating factors too.

Norway:
OEB is 40+ and still skiing with the best. Solemdal's transformed to a star and then back again. Mitigating factor, she's prone to illness and clearly isn't over whatever her last issue was. He trains by himself and because of who he is, that's accepted by the team.

Finland:
Their one star is absolutely slaughtering the field. Mitigating factor, she's been one of the fastest skiers for the last five years, but she's shooting well now, like in 2010-11.

Russia:
They've had three relatively high profile drugs busts recently, along with a 28yo Olympic medal winner retiring suddenly and a 26yo Olympic medal winner taking a year's break with no pregnancy, illness or injury. Mitigating factor: Ustyugov was never going to beat the Svendsens and Fourcades of the world and with the strength in depth in the squad, his motivation was waning. Their women are slow skiers and have been for years.

Germany:
They have a sudden emergence of a number of young talented women and that paper-thin squad now looks relatively strong, while the men are clustering up there. Mitigating factor: the men appear to be performing at their level. Among the women, Dahlmeier and Preuss were seen as guaranteed stars from a young age because of their performances as Juniors, same as JT Bø. The other young women shoot well but ski poorly. In the longer skiing races, they've been nowhere.

Austria:
They rise and fall as a nation; ski times collapsed a few years ago, then came back up together in unison. Mitigating factor: changing of the guards in coaching staff, have convinced athletes who were expected to retire to stay on.

Ukraine:
Their women rose very fast when trained by Korol'kevich, but now the team is gutted; Vita Semerenko and Pidhrushna are both out, and the stream of Russian nation-changers seems to have ceased. Burdyga is a known doper of course. Mitigating factor: Vita's out because of a spinal injury. Valj hasn't really had any change in fortunes.

Czech Republic:
They had a very clear improvement year on year into 2012-13; Moravec has become a late blooming star (Slesingr was already a podium athlete, if inconsistent, before that). Soukup seems to pop up out of nowhere at major events, like Maksimov used to. Mitigating factor: prize money begets attention begets funding begets improved performance. Once Soukalová started getting wins (additional mitigating factor for her, 2011-12 she missed much of the season with mono) the rest of the team's results seemed to improve.

Italy:
Gottlieb Taschler stories at present notwithstanding, they have seen a significant step up from their women in the last two years. Mitigating factor: Wierer was a hugely successful junior, and so was Vittozzi.

France:
Sudden retirements of athletes whose results have fallen off a cliff (Jay, Bœuf), unbridled dominance of Martin Fourcade, emergence of talented young women with loss of Brunet and Dorin-Habert. Mitigating factor: Latuillière wasn't a can't miss talent, admittedly, but Braisaz might be.

Poland:
Sudden emergence of women's team as a unit late in 2012-13 despite most having been around the World Cup for years beforehand. Disappearance back to nowhere again soon after. Mitigating factor: that came after a massive reallocation of funding following Sikora's retirement. As other teams' funding stepped up in the Olympic cycle, they were left behind.

Belarus:
Darya's crazy speed, large scale improvements in Skardino over the last couple of years. Mitigating factor: their relay has always been one thing short of the podium, usually Dubarezava's standing shoot. Attention brought to the sport by Domracheva's success will massively increase exposure and funding.

There are a lot of different things to suspect, and a lot of different factors to be taken into account.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Ski times:

Östersund Individual:
Darya Domracheva (rank 1) 41'12,4
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 4) +1'37,6

Östersund Sprint:
Kaisa Mäkäräinen (rank 1) 18'45,7
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 2) +30,9
Darya Domracheva (rank 3) +37,1

Östersund Pursuit:
Darya Domracheva (rank 1) 29'05,0
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 3) +25,4

Hochfilzen Sprint:
Kaisa Mäkäräinen (rank 1) 18'21,0
Darya Domracheva (rank 2) +23,0
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 3) +26,9

Hochfilzen Relay (leg 4):
Tiril Eckhoff (rank 1) 14'45,6
Darya Domracheva (rank 2) +6,4

So actually, Tiril has been relatively close to Darya or beaten her in the shortest events, and in longer ones Darya has been significantly quicker than her. Looking at the time gaps to Mäkäräinen, you could consider that Darya is not at her best in the sprint races, as she's come into her own in the longer ones. Darya has also massively improved her range time, which suggests this has been targeted in the offseason. In the relay, Darya was racing tactically against Vitková on the last lap as Preuß was uncatchable, whereas Tiril was racing from deep in the field and went hard throughout, and despite how much time gain Tiril made on the last lap, she only bested Domracheva by six seconds on ski time.

She's improved, definitely, but really I think you're seeing a Solemdal-like transformation that absolutely isn't there.
Actually I see it as really big improvement to able to defeat Darja in skiing. Consider Tiril's figure and style. Darja maybe wasn't racing tactically against Vitkova, why do you think so. Vitkova is very good skier this year.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Which one? There are quite a few that could raise some concerns if you look into it, but a lot of mitigating factors too.

Norway:
OEB is 40+ and still skiing with the best. Solemdal's transformed to a star and then back again. Mitigating factor, she's prone to illness and clearly isn't over whatever her last issue was. He trains by himself and because of who he is, that's accepted by the team.

Finland:
Their one star is absolutely slaughtering the field. Mitigating factor, she's been one of the fastest skiers for the last five years, but she's shooting well now, like in 2010-11.

Russia:
They've had three relatively high profile drugs busts recently, along with a 28yo Olympic medal winner retiring suddenly and a 26yo Olympic medal winner taking a year's break with no pregnancy, illness or injury. Mitigating factor: Ustyugov was never going to beat the Svendsens and Fourcades of the world and with the strength in depth in the squad, his motivation was waning. Their women are slow skiers and have been for years.

Germany:
They have a sudden emergence of a number of young talented women and that paper-thin squad now looks relatively strong, while the men are clustering up there. Mitigating factor: the men appear to be performing at their level. Among the women, Dahlmeier and Preuss were seen as guaranteed stars from a young age because of their performances as Juniors, same as JT Bø. The other young women shoot well but ski poorly. In the longer skiing races, they've been nowhere.

Austria:
They rise and fall as a nation; ski times collapsed a few years ago, then came back up together in unison. Mitigating factor: changing of the guards in coaching staff, have convinced athletes who were expected to retire to stay on.

Ukraine:
Their women rose very fast when trained by Korol'kevich, but now the team is gutted; Vita Semerenko and Pidhrushna are both out, and the stream of Russian nation-changers seems to have ceased. Burdyga is a known doper of course. Mitigating factor: Vita's out because of a spinal injury. Valj hasn't really had any change in fortunes.

Czech Republic:
They had a very clear improvement year on year into 2012-13; Moravec has become a late blooming star (Slesingr was already a podium athlete, if inconsistent, before that). Soukup seems to pop up out of nowhere at major events, like Maksimov used to. Mitigating factor: prize money begets attention begets funding begets improved performance. Once Soukalová started getting wins (additional mitigating factor for her, 2011-12 she missed much of the season with mono) the rest of the team's results seemed to improve.

Italy:
Gottlieb Taschler stories at present notwithstanding, they have seen a significant step up from their women in the last two years. Mitigating factor: Wierer was a hugely successful junior, and so was Vittozzi.

France:
Sudden retirements of athletes whose results have fallen off a cliff (Jay, Bœuf), unbridled dominance of Martin Fourcade, emergence of talented young women with loss of Brunet and Dorin-Habert. Mitigating factor: Latuillière wasn't a can't miss talent, admittedly, but Braisaz might be.

Poland:
Sudden emergence of women's team as a unit late in 2012-13 despite most having been around the World Cup for years beforehand. Disappearance back to nowhere again soon after. Mitigating factor: that came after a massive reallocation of funding following Sikora's retirement. As other teams' funding stepped up in the Olympic cycle, they were left behind.

Belarus:
Darya's crazy speed, large scale improvements in Skardino over the last couple of years. Mitigating factor: their relay has always been one thing short of the podium, usually Dubarezava's standing shoot. Attention brought to the sport by Domracheva's success will massively increase exposure and funding.

There are a lot of different things to suspect, and a lot of different factors to be taken into account.
I think Moravec is improving gradually since 2010/2011 and even before that he had some good results - when he could put shooiting and running together. The talent was always there probably. And he was great as a junior (compared to Tirol for instance). Soukup is strange, but he had some major injuries.
 
Kokoso said:
Actually I see it as really big improvement to able to defeat Darja in skiing. Consider Tiril's figure and style. Darja maybe wasn't racing tactically against Vitkova, why do you think so. Vitkova is very good skier this year.
Because Tiril was losing ski time to Darya until the final lap, where she took a huge chunk out of everybody. 23" out of Preuss on that lap alone.

Maybe Darya's had a couple of bad days, after all, in the Individual she still blasted Tiril's ski time by a minute and a half. What's so bizarre about somebody of Tiril's figure and style being a good skier? She's small and compact, slender, skis quite low to the ground. It's quite a driving style. She's maybe not 100% fluid, but she's less messy than Tora Berger was.

I really don't see any major transformation in Eckhoff. You point out Vitkova is a very good skier this year, but she's improved her skiing much more than Eckhoff has. Tiril was 10th fastest skier last year, and 3rd fastest at Östersund. Vitková was 32nd fastest skier last year, and 5th fastest at Östersund. Vitková's also 18 months older than Eckhoff. Surely that's more of a noteworthy transformation than Tiril's.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Because Tiril was losing ski time to Darya until the final lap, where she took a huge chunk out of everybody. 23" out of Preuss on that lap alone.

Maybe Darya's had a couple of bad days, after all, in the Individual she still blasted Tiril's ski time by a minute and a half. What's so bizarre about somebody of Tiril's figure and style being a good skier? She's small and compact, slender, skis quite low to the ground. It's quite a driving style. She's maybe not 100% fluid, but she's less messy than Tora Berger was.

I really don't see any major transformation in Eckhoff. You point out Vitkova is a very good skier this year, but she's improved her skiing much more than Eckhoff has. Tiril was 10th fastest skier last year, and 3rd fastest at Östersund. Vitková was 32nd fastest skier last year, and 5th fastest at Östersund. Vitková's also 18 months older than Eckhoff. Surely that's more of a noteworthy transformation than Tiril's.
Anyway thank you for great analysis. Isn't it little bit strange, that after third place in sprint and yesterday's best performance Tiril didn't enter pursuit?

You are forgetting somethnig. I think Eckhoff had no meningoencefalitis, or had she? Vitkova, on the other hand, had meningoencefalitis. Vitkova was star as a junior, compared to Eckhoff. When you want to judge Vitkova's trasformation, you should consider this and you should consider how she was before that. I don't think Vitkova looks stranger than Eckhoff than.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Because Tiril was losing ski time to Darya until the final lap, where she took a huge chunk out of everybody. 23" out of Preuss on that lap alone.
Nope. According to official timing Eckhoff was faster on the first and third lap than Darja, Darja was only faster on the second lap and not by much.
Tiril is small, but doesn't look very slender to me. Semerenko body type I's say, rather stocky.
 
Kokoso said:
Anyway thank you for great analysis. Isn't it little bit strange, that after third place in sprint and yesterday's best performance Tiril didn't enter pursuit?

You are forgetting somethnig. I think Eckhoff had no meningoencefalitis, or had she? Vitkova, on the other hand, had meningoencefalitis. Vitkova was star as a junior, compared to Eckhoff. When you want to judge Vitkova's trasformation, you should consider this and you should consider how she was before that. I don't think Vitkova looks stranger than Eckhoff than.
Eckhoff has also climbed the ski rankings gradually, rather than going from 32nd to 5th. I don't really see her as being "stocky" either. She's not rail thin like a Gössner or a Mäkäräinen, but she's not built like an Andrea Henkel either (who was even more petite than Eckhoff).

It is a bit strange that she didn't enter the pursuit. Apparently she got sick overnight, which could be another reason to be suspicious, from a different direction.

roundabout said:
It's one of the countries on your list and I disagree with the mitigating factor you listed.

But let's leave it at that and see how things develop.
Well, I did more or less list all of the major players in the sport at present!

Probably because of this weekend's results, I had it in mind you meant the Germans, who have had something of a renaissance. But timeframe does affect this as well, because over the course of the last few years the one that's really stood out to me has been the Austrians. I presume you don't mean the Russians as they've been doing the majority of the getting busted in recent years. And it can't be Norway as you said "another nation" across our conversation about Eckhoff. I presume it's a major player nation from the fact you've been cryptic.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
I don't really see her as being "stocky" either. She's not rail thin like a Gössner or a Mäkäräinen, but she's not built like an Andrea Henkel either (who was even more petite than Eckhoff).
Ok I think you should definitely look at some pictures of Eckhoff before you begin to write about her figure - I don't think you do that. Stocky is relavtive term of course, I mean stocky in the world of biathlon of course. If you consider her similar to Henkel, you suggest to reconsider that once or twice. Maybe it's the same as with Domraceva/Eckhoff runing times. Actually, let's look at some pictures of Eckhoff, that would be the best. This is Tiril nex to Tarjei I think - look at her legs. http://gfx.dagbladet.no/labrador/336/336450/33645005/jpg/active/1956x818.jpg Or this one http://cs316219.vk.me/v316219019/3046/Z5Pis13Dcpg.jpg
She definitely is stocky.
 
Kokoso said:
Ok I think you should definitely look at some pictures of Eckhoff before you begin to write about her figure - I don't think you do that. Stocky is relavtive term of course, I mean stocky in the world of biathlon of course. If you consider her similar to Henkel, you suggest to reconsider that once or twice. Maybe it's the same as with Domraceva/Eckhoff runing times. Actually, let's look at some pictures of Eckhoff, that would be the best. This is Tiril nex to Tarjei I think - look at her legs. http://gfx.dagbladet.no/labrador/336/336450/33645005/jpg/active/1956x818.jpg Or this one http://cs316219.vk.me/v316219019/3046/Z5Pis13Dcpg.jpg
She definitely is stocky.
I said, quite specifically, that she's not like an Andrea Henkel either.

Henkel is an example of somebody with a figure that I would consider "stocky" within biathlon terms. Eckhoff is not, but then it comes down to interpretations of what is meant by the term "stocky". Neuner I thought could have been argued to be such although I mightn't have said it; she had a powerful frame. Eckhoff doesn't. She's just small, but with a fairly normal athletic frame. Maybe her hunched ski position does her no favours on that front, but I would definitely not describe her as stocky. She's no Johaug, but she's sure as hell no Skofterud either, and I'd actually argue she's closer to the former than the latter.

Regardless: back to the original point; Tiril Eckhoff being the 3rd fastest skier is less surprising than Veronika Vitková being the 5th fastest skier to me. Sorry.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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roundabout said:
I'd be more concerned about a certain other country in biathlon.
one of the coaches that preceded pichler (sorry, i cant recall the name) said that the sport of biathlon is still quite dirty across the board. he did not spare their own...will try to google the interview later.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
I said, quite specifically, that she's not like an Andrea Henkel either.

Henkel is an example of somebody with a figure that I would consider "stocky" within biathlon terms. Eckhoff is not, but then it comes down to interpretations of what is meant by the term "stocky". Neuner I thought could have been argued to be such although I mightn't have said it; she had a powerful frame. Eckhoff doesn't. She's just small, but with a fairly normal athletic frame. Maybe her hunched ski position does her no favours on that front, but I would definitely not describe her as stocky. She's no Johaug, but she's sure as hell no Skofterud either, and I'd actually argue she's closer to the former than the latter.

Regardless: back to the original point; Tiril Eckhoff being the 3rd fastest skier is less surprising than Veronika Vitková being the 5th fastest skier to me. Sorry.
Ok, lets forget stocky. Lets use another word, thickset. Tiril is thickset, Andrea Henkel was shorter, but slender compared to Eckhoff.
 
BullsFan22 said:
So how long will this Norwegian monopoly continue? The whole season? I sure as heck hope not. 1-5 in the Women's sprint, 1-3 in the Men's sprint. This is so blatant that it's funny and sad at the same time.
It will continue for years... Norway is seen as the country where we are born with skis on our feet, therfore we are better than everyone, and got the largest founding in the world. It just wont stop. And sure as heck we got protection from higher up, can you recall the last time a norwegian skiier tested positive? Neither can i...

It's just easier to throw a russian under the bus. So ask yourself, with all the training from a young age in the east-bloc countries, how come they cant beat them?
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
I still don't see it, I'm afraid. She has quite powerful legs, I guess, but her overall figure is just small and athletic to my eyes :s
Hurrah, you can see it too. Yes, she has quite powerful legs. She's quite powerfuly built compared to other athletes. And that's what I mean. Of course she doesn't look like this http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Gucci1987/media/MissThickSet01_31.jpg.html
and she's quite athletic, we are talking about top athletes. All of that girls have athletic figures.
Now take a look at henkel. Henkel is definitely more slender.
 

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