Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Apr 22, 2012
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Usťugov tragic skis really took final from him. On the other hand, Sudby had fenomenal skis, bud couldn't make it.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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...just got a chance to watch the classic sprints. it was a weird one in many aspects. the long, well over 3 min course at altitude is and was a punishing endeavor suiting the distance specialists as in sochi. then we had the weirdest final i have ever seen, when a runner-up went for a walk and the other norwegians claiming to intentionally have avoided the podium :rolleyes:

anyway, congrats to pelle and manificat and kudos to brandsdal for refusing to take part in a circus. how did the mains look ? i think ustiugov after dominating a qual showed a certain weakness in his semi. he was dropped on the 2nd hill and he did not look dandy. i think his massive muscles needed more oxygen than they received. northug looked better. sundby fought as usual hard but i got a feeling he laboured as if he lost the edge he had earlier in the season. iversen appears to me a spent force. sundby will overtake him in a gc. perhaps harvey too.

how will the skiathlon go today ? i suspect it will be an open, fast all-out from the getgo. sundby and the other norges will try to drop or exhaust ustiugov on those hills. and they may given that weakness i talked about earlier.

but then again, it was him who dropped them in both distance races so far. i expect harvey, manificat and bessmertnych to put up a stiff fight. and of course, vyleg can trick them all, including ustiugov and petter.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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frenchfry said:
First and second for the French ladies today. The favorites were all not from from the top, but Dorin-Habert and Bescond were relaxed and solid. Bravo!
First and second ski time, in case of Dorin perfectly ok, in case of Bescond it's little strange. Whole French team menaged to prepare excelently for WC, which can't be said for rest of the season with exception of Martin.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Soukalova would deserve medal for rest of the season, but anyway, overall win is more and more real. She's just unbelieveable in her consistency, hats of.
 
Great from the French ladies, and Dahlmeier contituing her good form. Looking further down, I expect Wierer would have wanted more, in her best discipline. If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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the skiathlon courses. they look harder on paper than what i saw on telle in the lady's race...
on a steeper stuff sundby could gain a minute today, but i doubt it will be even 30 seconds if any

 
Apr 22, 2012
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Brullnux said:
If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
Nope she won't. She wasn't even peaking for WC, main goal is overall victory this season, yet she had probably her best form in this season regarding to skiing times.

Dahlmeier was at her best in Ruhpolding, she's alternating races with pausus to be able to compete with others, nothing spectacular.
 
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Kokoso said:
Brullnux said:
If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
Nope she won't. She wasn't even peaking for WC, main goal is overall victory this season, yet she had probably her best form in this season regarding to skiing times.

Dahlmeier was at her best in Ruhpolding, she's alternating races with pausus to be able to compete with others, nothing spectacular.
Come on, the oustanding rider of the season doesn't want a medal at the WC? She has only ever won one individual medal at WC, a silver, so it isn't like she was won plenty of them and wants to fill out her palmares with the overall world cup, but not caring about the WC.
 
See, didn't Domracheva and Mäkäräinen leave with very little between them from Kontiolahti? I know Berger and Fourcade won, like, everything at Nové Mesto after dominating the whole season, but it seems that's more unusual. People who don't have aspirations at the overall are peaking here and are outperforming her in at least some races (those who've missed a number of events so have too big a deficit, like Dahlmeier, and those who've been inconsistent and are targeting these events, like Eckhoff), but her consistency is such that she's still picking up big points tallies for the overall globe. Before the season she said the big crystal globe wasn't a "specific" goal, but if she got the yellow bib she wouldn't give it up without a fight. Which is exactly what's happened. She'll almost certainly win it, but it might have come at the cost of a medal or two here in Holmenkollen. But there are more World Championships medals to win than there are big crystal globes to win, too, so if she does win the overall, missing out in Holmenkollen shouldn't bother her too much.
 
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Brullnux said:
Kokoso said:
Brullnux said:
If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
Nope she won't. She wasn't even peaking for WC, main goal is overall victory this season, yet she had probably her best form in this season regarding to skiing times.

Dahlmeier was at her best in Ruhpolding, she's alternating races with pausus to be able to compete with others, nothing spectacular.
Come on, the oustanding rider of the season doesn't want a medal at the WC? She has only ever won one individual medal at WC, a silver, so it isn't like she was won plenty of them and wants to fill out her palmares with the overall world cup, but not caring about the WC.
She's paying the price for consistency right now. Cannot be 100% all the time, obviously. Nevertheless I expect a medal from Czech Rep. in the relay with Vitkova performing well today and Charvatova shooting better than usually.
 
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Cance > TheRest said:
Brullnux said:
Kokoso said:
Brullnux said:
If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
Nope she won't. She wasn't even peaking for WC, main goal is overall victory this season, yet she had probably her best form in this season regarding to skiing times.

Dahlmeier was at her best in Ruhpolding, she's alternating races with pausus to be able to compete with others, nothing spectacular.
Come on, the oustanding rider of the season doesn't want a medal at the WC? She has only ever won one individual medal at WC, a silver, so it isn't like she was won plenty of them and wants to fill out her palmares with the overall world cup, but not caring about the WC.
She's paying the price for consistency right now. Cannot be 100% all the time, obviously. Nevertheless I expect a medal from Czech Rep. in the relay with Vitkova performing well today and Charvatova shooting better than usually.
Puskarčíková is sick and unlikely to race though, so a lot of pressure on Jislová not to let the team down on her leg.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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so, the skiathlon is over. sundby won as was expected. but he really lost the tour imo today...

in my last post i speculated sundby will NOT win the barn ('30 seconds if any', i said). indeed he won by less than 3 sec- not 30 ! he won over ustiugov in 2nd. yesterday he arrogantly told the norwegian media that ustiugov will collapse. did not happen. the 'beard' could not drop the burly russian weighing at least 10 kilos more than him on a hilly course that faved sundby.

some other observations...i haven't had the chance yet to look at the official gc standings, but the biggest loser appears to be northug. he lost a bunch of bonus seconds to ustiugov (and sundby) plus, if i recall it right, another 17-18 seconds to sundby at the finish. he should be lagging ustiugov now by almost a minute...

and lastly, b/c my nrk feed was sputtering today, i was occasionally switching to eurosport. what a horrible commentary the english-speaking audience had been exposed to ! the lady assistant certainly knew her stuff, but the man had been peppering his audience with a lot false or incorrect info... like 'what a remarkable lung capacity sundby possess'. this is just nonsense if one bothered to read the norwegian media in which mjs claimed to have a natural lung capacity equal 80% of a non athletic male his age. there were other jems. too many to bother the most obvious being the male commentator has not been very aware of a bigger racing picture. like he said sundby gained a minute in bonuses on ustiugov. says he does not follow the big picture the way a professional tuned to by the 10s of millions of europeans should !!!
 
Re:

python said:
so, the skiathlon is over. sundby won as was expected. but he really lost the tour imo today...

in my last post i speculated sundby will NOT win the barn ('30 seconds if any', i said). indeed he won by less than 3 sec- not 30 ! he won over ustiugov in 2nd. yesterday he arrogantly told the norwegian media that ustiugov will collapse. did not happen. the 'beard' could not drop the burly russian weighing at least 10 kilos more than him on a hilly course that faved sundby.

some other observations...i haven't had the chance yet to look at the official gc standings, but the biggest loser appears to be northug. he lost a bunch of bonus seconds to ustiugov (and sundby) plus, if i recall it right, another 17-18 seconds to sundby at the finish. he should be lagging ustiugov now by almost a minute...

and lastly, b/c my nrk feed was sputtering today, i was occasionally switching to eurosport. what a horrible commentary the english-speaking audience had been exposed to ! the lady assistant certainly knew her stuff, but the man had been peppering his audience with a lot false or incorrect info... like 'what a remarkable lung capacity sundby possess'. this is just nonsense if one bothered to read the norwegian media in which mjs claimed to have a natural lung capacity equal 80% of a non athletic male his age. there were other jems. too many to bother the most obvious being the male commentator has not been very aware of a bigger racing picture. like he said sundby gained a minute in bonuses on ustiugov. says he does not follow the big picture the way a professional tuned to by the 10s of millions of europeans should !!!
David Goldstrom, is the male commentator you are referring to. He's been around Eurosport for years. Perhaps from its inception in the late 80's. He knows very little about cross country skiing and racing in general. He repeats the same garbage every race. I wonder if he's ever put on cross country skis in his life. Having Posy Musgrave there is good. She's raced on the tour before, knows about the sport from the inside and is well read. Not that Goldstrom isn't well read, but as far as knowledge of the sport is concerned, it's waaaaay less than Musgrave. Patrick Winterton and Mike Dixon (who are the other two main commentators at Eurosport cross country/biathlon races) do a good job as well, mostly due to being former racers themselves. They need to rotate those three while adding perhaps another commentator and a lead to replace Goldstrom. It's painful to listen to him commentate. Luckily I don't have to too often.
 
Ustiugov held up very nicely today. Wasn't bothered too much by the bonus seconds that Sundby was accumulating, but got some bonus's himself and then made a big move on the last uphill and the finish to close the gap to Sundby, get 10 seconds for finishing 2nd and increased the lead by almost 30 seconds, to 47 seconds on Northug. I think he may have passed his biggest test of the tour, but Sundby is dangerous, even if's he's 1:05 back. Hopefully the gap to Northug and Sundby isn't cut down too much before the final stage. Ustiugov looked good, didn't stress himself too much and looked much more fresh than yesterday. Sundby looked gassed at the finish. I think this bodes well for Ustiugov. If he has a lead of at least 30 seconds or more before the final 15km classic pursuit, he should be safe. He's in good form and the Norwegians would really need to motor on that final stage to try and catch him and then beat him. Northug said prior to Canmore that ideally, he would like to have a final sprint to the line with Ustiugov for the overall Canada Tour title. Judging by the time gaps, I think Northug and Sundby will be starting fairly close to each other for the final stage. Even if Sundby gains the 17 (and/or more) seconds on Northug in the individual, you know that he would either wait for Sundy or start fast to catch Sundby, and then try to cut into Ustiugov's. Of course, anything can happen in the 15km individual skate race, but I expect Ustiugov will start first in the last race. Hopefully the snow conditions won't deteriorate the last couple days, but you ever know.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Cance > TheRest said:
Brullnux said:
Kokoso said:
Brullnux said:
If Soukalova finishes without a medal then she'll be very annoyed. She may have peaked for the season too early, the French and Laura just right.
Nope she won't. She wasn't even peaking for WC, main goal is overall victory this season, yet she had probably her best form in this season regarding to skiing times.

Dahlmeier was at her best in Ruhpolding, she's alternating races with pausus to be able to compete with others, nothing spectacular.
Come on, the oustanding rider of the season doesn't want a medal at the WC? She has only ever won one individual medal at WC, a silver, so it isn't like she was won plenty of them and wants to fill out her palmares with the overall world cup, but not caring about the WC.
She's paying the price for consistency right now. Cannot be 100% all the time, obviously. Nevertheless I expect a medal from Czech Rep. in the relay with Vitkova performing well today and Charvatova shooting better than usually.
Soukalova doesn't have worse form compared to rest of the season, actually one of her best if not the best, she still managed to peak little bit here I think. Anyway if overall victory is the price to pay, I'd take it.
Charvatova is shooting better, but skiing worst compared to rest of the season. She could do penalty loop and stil be very good before. Jislova I think will do ok.shooting.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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python said:
like 'what a remarkable lung capacity sundby possess'. this is just nonsense if one bothered to read the norwegian media in which mjs claimed to have a natural lung capacity equal 80% of a non athletic male his age.
One wonders what's hidden in Sundby's chest when not lungs, because it looks huge..."huge barrel chest" if I may borrow words of aforementioned commentator which was heard at least twice only yesterday.

Anyway, Usťugov was pretty happy with his result it the finish. And I'm happy for Lukas Bauer, at least something. The old star haven't deserved season like this, maybe his last one, who knows. Probably not I hope.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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BullsFan22 said:
Ustiugov held up very nicely today. Wasn't bothered too much by the bonus seconds that Sundby was accumulating, but got some bonus's himself and then made a big move on the last uphill and the finish to close the gap to Sundby, get 10 seconds for finishing 2nd and increased the lead by almost 30 seconds, to 47 seconds on Northug. I think he may have passed his biggest test of the tour, but Sundby is dangerous, even if's he's 1:05 back. Hopefully the gap to Northug and Sundby isn't cut down too much before the final stage. Ustiugov looked good, didn't stress himself too much and looked much more fresh than yesterday. Sundby looked gassed at the finish. I think this bodes well for Ustiugov. If he has a lead of at least 30 seconds or more before the final 15km classic pursuit, he should be safe. He's in good form and the Norwegians would really need to motor on that final stage to try and catch him and then beat him. Northug said prior to Canmore that ideally, he would like to have a final sprint to the line with Ustiugov for the overall Canada Tour title. Judging by the time gaps, I think Northug and Sundby will be starting fairly close to each other for the final stage. Even if Sundby gains the 17 (and/or more) seconds on Northug in the individual, you know that he would either wait for Sundy or start fast to catch Sundby, and then try to cut into Ustiugov's. Of course, anything can happen in the 15km individual skate race, but I expect Ustiugov will start first in the last race. Hopefully the snow conditions won't deteriorate the last couple days, but you ever know.
some additional observations from yesterday...

the tactics varied. while the norges obviously tried to control the classic phase from the front, the ustiugov game was to let them do just that. he even completely gave up a fight for the 1st bonuses at 5.9 km, letting both sundby and northug the valuable seconds. perhaps it was smart, b/c as the later race has showed, he had a truckload of umf left at 5.9 km. he might have been trying to bluff or simply saving himself. in such situations i always recall the tyler hamilton expression, 'you can burn only so many match sticks in a given race..' also, it was tactically interesting, though i failed to figure it out, why the canadian pair (harvey, babikov) went for pace injection at the beginning of the 3d lap. noticeable also was that later during the skating laps the only times when ustiugov would take the front were just before the feed and the tricky downhill turn just under the bridge.

clearly, sundby's tactic was to max the bonus seconds while trying to deny as many as possible to ustiugov with the help of his powerful team. it worked and perhaps explains why he did not breakaway alone as he usually did. but i tend to think if he could run away he would despite what he said post race. the proof was in the finishing hill pudding where he gained just 2 something seconds.

the ustiuogov tactic was safety, energy management and watchfulness. it also worked well. i don't think it suggests big gains for sundby in a skating time trial tomorrow. a dozen of seconds, perhaps, but i am starting to suspect martin of fearing a surprise from the russian.

a few words on their ski handling. the noregians are almost always looking good. but i feel that ustiugov improved too. note how before each 'under-bridge' he would straighten up, drop and relax his poles and shoulders and step-turned at a a bit wider radius than available.

now, after the interval race tomorrow sundby will likely swap places with petter on the gc. the decider will be the classic pursui on the last day. i am almost certain ustiugov will start the pursuit about 30-45 seconds in front of th norge pair. it will be exciting to see if sundby will cooperate with northug. they sure are a more formidable team than northug-iverson. i don't think they will cooperate b/c each second lost waiting will mix up their personal chances for a higher podium.

and lastly, i think the beatification system at this tour needs a lot of work. i already mentioned some place that 60 sec for sprints is too disadvantageous for non-sprinter types. i also don't feel that awarding 15 seconds for winning a race and being 1st at an intermediary check is wise.

waiting for tomorrow :)
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i am sure that most here already know that ustiugov caused a mini storm in the tour 2 d ago, when during the award ceremony after the stage 6, his 'silver' spot on the podium was empty. he simply decided to take a massage instead according to his physiotherapist.

the deed itself sure was controversial...the reactions ranged from 'disrespect for our small sport', 'insult to organizers', to 'no biggy'...

what makes the episode with ustiougov curious was how the norwegians reacted. mind you, according to the loud statements by the norges themselves they (note, en mass) tried to avoid the award ceremony after the classic sprint just a day before. so, the norwegians reactions to the ustiuogov deed ranged from (paraphrasing)sundby's 'a sign of weakness' to løfshus' 'we need every opportunity to promote our sport, therefore i dont encourage my skiers to miss such events'

the hypocrisy of such an attitude clearly irritated some locals. Jack Sasseville of skitrax wrote:
http://skitrax.com/the-sasseville-report-norwegian-attitude-more-on-ski-tour-canada/
Norwegian attitude: I woke up this morning pissed. Last night I read that the Norwegian men decided not to try their best in the final of the sprint on Tuesday (Mar. 9) in Canmore because they didn’t want to go to the awards ceremony that night. Are you kidding me? What a bunch of sucks! This was disrespectful to all of the organizers, sponsors and spectators who had to watch Petter Northug et al snail it in during the final. These guys should be disqualified from the Tour and sent home. One of the basic tenants in sport is that everyone tries as hard as they can to be their best. Quitting like this is shameful. At the very least they should be fined and have their prize money taken away. Would they have done this at a World Cup in Norway? Not likely in my books… so why is Canada or any other country different? This follows Martin Johnsrud Sundby’s rhetoric after his fall in Montreal. Instead of taking responsibility for crashing he blamed the organizers, the course and the snow. Of course the snow conditions weren’t perfect – it was blowing and snowing. I hear that Sundby does a lot of training on a treadmill inside. Perhaps guess he wants these kind of conditions when he races. Suck it up… this is cross-country skiing!
the bolded bit says a lot.
 
Nevermind the women's relay. I didn't even watch the race, but judging from the results, it must have been hilarious. Norwegian women winning a gold, after not doing anything for a coupe years, certainly not as entire team.

Now, to the less hilarious Tour of Canada. Well, it's not as hilarious, but still, didn't see Oestberg winning today, and by such a margin. Where did that come from? She looked dead tired in Quebec.

Johaug had the worst result of her season, by far. Weng is very steady. Now leads by 30 seconds. I think she goes into tomorrow as the favorite. I didn't see this coming, even with three sprints and no final climb. Johaug is gonna go all out from the start. I am interested to see what Weng will do. It seems like she has LOT'S of options. She is in good shape, she can hang with Johaug, as she's show in the 2nd half of the season and in years past, she is definitely a better sprinter, AND she has the 30 second gap and it's 'only' 10km, so Johaug doesn't have too much time to play with. Even if she catches Weng, it won't be right away and she'll likely expend more energy.

The men's race is probably going to be a little more exciting. No, Ustiugov didn't lose a ton of time today, in fact, I am sure the Norwegians and many others though he'd lose more than he did. Heck, they thought he'd lose it in the Montreal classic mass start, or maybe the Quebec skate pursuit, and if not there, DEFINITELY in the skiathlon in Canmore. Nothing much happened there. I also think he skied a sensible race today. He didn't look fresh as a daisy but he didn't look as depleted as Sundby and definitely not as tired as Northug. He skied steady and picked up places. He lost gradually, but not in big chunks. He leads Northug by 32 and Sundby by 39. That's on the edge of what I think is possible for the Norwegians to do. Of course, Ustiugov could blow up and lose it completely, or he holds it and the other guys are exhausted and they lose it completely. They are not in danger of losing their podium spots, so there is no worry of losing anything, apart from the overall, of course. Before the final stage, I though the gap might be brought down to 30-35 by either Norwegian. They are slightly off of that. 32, 39. Northug will definitely wait for Sundby and they'll try to work together, although with Northug you never know. If he is smart, he'll work with Sundby. Ustiugov has shown on numerous occasions he can ski a good, steady and smart individual race. He is in a similar situation to Weng, but he has two pursuers, while Johaug has nobody to work with to close the gap, and Northug and Sundby have an extra 5km.

It's going to be tight. I hope Ustiugov manages to hold them off and take this title. The Russians need this and it will be his biggest triumph so far. He's shown his talent, his class and his smarts. He's shown his patience and maturity, not rushing things or being phased. I hope Knauthe and Burgermeister have a nice talk with him and he is able to ski the race he wants to and executes the plan they come up with. He deserves this for sure. He's had a great year. Started out slow in November and December, but came up big in the Tour de Ski, won his first world cup distance race, then won the first stage in Tour of Canada, then really made a decisive break in the classic mass start in Montreal, then a 3rd in the Quebec Sprint, then he held off Northug in the pursuit, then held up through, arguably his biggest challenge in the 30km skiathlon, finishing second, didn't have a great sprint, but didn't lose that much, and today he lost time, but not a lot, and another important thing was that the neither Northug or Sundby got on the podium and thus missed out on bonus seconds. He's still the favorite, I think, but it's not going to be easy. The Canmore course is tough, comes at the end of a long tour, a long season, and the conditions will be sloppy, choppy and slow. This doesn't favor bigger, heavier guys like Ustiugov and Northug, but I think it will be hard for everyone.

I hope Ustiugov holds on and wins this. I know he's a Russian, and people talk about the Russians all the time, but working outside of the Russian system, working with foreigners, being such a talent and seemingly a good guy that can race any type of race, beating the entire Norwegian army that's 'suspiciously' raced fast from day one this season, and finally ending Sundby's run of tours won, which is like 7 or something, since Kuusamo December 2013.

Any thoughts from others?
 
BullsFan22 said:
Nevermind the women's relay. I didn't even watch the race, but judging from the results, it must have been hilarious. Norwegian women winning a gold, after not doing anything for a coupe years, certainly not as entire team.
It was a great relay. Probably the best race of the World Championships, so I feel sorry for you that you didn't watch the race. The best team won and what a deserving win it was. The cross country skiing I'm not gonna comment on, as I didn't watch it. Nevertheless I'm happy to see that Ustiugov lost some time yesterday so that the excitement is still there.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Kokoso said:
Jislova I think will do ok.shooting.
Who said that? :) But Charvatova **** that totally. Vitkova pleased me with Wierer photo finish.

Today men...I'll hope for Czech men to finally climb on the podium, after last year where medal was near but all hopes went out of the window after Svendsen kicked shooting Moravec. That was pretty annoying, I wonder if Norwegian media reported that or not. Anyway they aren't amogst favourites, that's clear.
 
Charvatová is, I'm afraid, Gössner-like in relays. She's almost a guaranteed penalty in standing, no matter how well she does in the individual races, put her in stand in a relay and she melts down. She shot 1 penalty loop in Hochfilzen, 2 in Ruhpolding and Antholz, 1 in Presque Isle and now 3 in Holmenkollen. It's the biggest problem for the Czech relay, because Landová's had a bad season and they don't really have anybody doing well enough to offer an appreciable advantage over Charvatová even despite that. Jislová might become that once Puskarčíková is healthy again, but the season will be over by then and there's no relay in Khanty.
 

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