Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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So guys, what's your thought on the new pole rule?
Personally, while i like the idea behind it, i don't think this will really stop people from double pulling all the time.
Why don't they just imply a zone in every race where double pulling is forbidden. Like one climb a lap? It would be so easy and it would be 100 percent successful
 
This will making double-poling much more difficult to carry out in an entire race. On some sprint courses I can still see it happening, but on distance races it will more or less be obsolete.

This won't be applicable in Worldloppet races though, so Marcialonga and Vasaloppet will still be double-poling only.

I don't like this. I'd much rather see a much stricter judging on skating in corners than meddling with equipment. If this is the way cross-country skiing goes, then so be it. I don't see setting rules on equipment height and length as the answer, rather more demanding courses. As the sport has been inflluenced by sports science and stronger upper bodies to accommodate more double poling, I'm not sure that just for the sake of nostalgia we should be hampering the development sport.
 
An interesting development in the Russian National Team. The Burgermeister/Knauthe training group which has had some great results with the likes of Legkov, Chernousov, Belov and last year Ustiugov, among others, has apparently been scrapped. Funding was taken away and apparently, according to one of RNT coaches, there were some 'internal problems' within that particular training group. Recall that after the 2014 season Legkov split from the group to train under Marcus Kramer's guidance (Kramer also helped write Legkov and I guess Chernousov's plans when they were with Burgermeister/Knauthe) and trained with some of the other Russians who joined. Last season his truing partner was predominantly Sergey Turyshev. Turyshev had a strong season, with a string of top 10 results, including a 5th at Holmenkollen. Legkov himself has been off the mark since Sochi, having to deal with some injuries and being occupied with a training center in the Moscow region he helped create and a ski shop. Last year he was better, doing more races and being in the thick of things in the distance events, finishing in the top ten in the distance world cup. Chernousov was in the meantime coached by Vegard Bitnes, a Norwegian who worked with the Swiss women's biathlon team and if we are to be honest, was a poor choice for coaching Chernousov. He has had two down seasons with hardly any notable result and predictably, he is off the national team and Bitnes's contract was not renewed. My opinion is that Bitnes really messed up Chernousov with the sort of the training they did. He apparently didn't even accompany Chernousov in many of the workouts. Belov and Ustuigov have excelled under Burgermeister and Knauthe. Both had podiums at the TDS and were able to stay consistent the entire season. After a slow start the first couple of weeks of last season, Ustiugov broke through at the TDS, where he was a contender on every stage and eventually finished 3rd overall. He skied even better the second half of the season, winning his first distance race in Falun (that was very exciting mass start race!), winning a couple of stages in the tour of Canada and eventually finishing 2nd overall in the tour and 4th overall in the world cup, the best Russian and really the only one doing anything against the Norwegians on a consistent basis for much of the season.

Long story short, that compact and seemingly well run and cohesive group is more or less done. Everyone has migrated over to the Kramer group, which has swelled as a result. I am not sure how they are managing so many skiers in that group. The bulk of the mens team is now there, with Legkov, Belov, Ustiugov, Gafarov, Volzhentsev, Sedov etc along with women's world cup regulars Matveeva, Kalsina, Tchekaleva, etc, etc.

Along with the alleged personal differences (though the coach that first talked of the differences said the training itself was not the issue) funding seemed to be an issue as well. Generally if you show results, you'll get more funding, so it's probably to do with the Russian economy.

The other training groups are the usual sprint team under Kaminskiy which has veteran sprinters Kriukov, Petukhov, Panzhinskiy, Parfenov and newcomer to the team, Retivykh (another capable sprinter that's under performed in the last few seasons after showing quite a lot as a junior and in the early stages of his WC career), the women's team which has young coach in his second or third year and the second half of the men's distance team which has the likes of Vylegzhanin, Japarov, Bessmertnykh, Larkov, etc.

It's a real pity that Burgermaister and Knauthe are seemingly no longer with the Russians. They played a massive role in re-invigorating the Russian men's team post Vancouver and people like Legkov, Chernousov, Belov and Ustiugov have had career years as a result of their partnership with the Swiss and German. In a way, if those athletes that trained under their leadership fail to have the success this year at the world cup and at the world's in Lahti, then it will be a bit of a wake up call and 'serve them right,' if personal differences and 'tough atmosphere' within the group was the reason for their moving in separate directions.

In reality, Legkov is 33 now, and while he can still remain fairly competitive in Lahti and the Olympics in 2 years, I am not sure he'll have the sort of success he had a few years ago. I think the combination of post-Olympic success hangover, the injuries, starting a shop/training center and the recent doping accusations (ones which are to me dubious at best, but that's a different topic) have probably not helped his energy levels and motivation.

Belov and Ustiugov, 26 and 24, are young enough to still be mentally fresh and looking for more. I don't expect them to fall off, in fact I expect them to improve. Kramer is a good coach and has worked with the Germans and Swiss (Cologna) prior to working with Legkov and the Russians, and obviously he worked some with Burgermeister/Knauthe so that shouldn't be a big problem.

I'd like to see their women do something more than simply fighting to stay relevant in races. Their last season when they had any decent success from November to March was 2012-2013. Since then they've hardly had any podiums, if memory serves me right.

It'll be interesting to see where Burgermeister/Knauthe go from here. My guess is they leave for continental Europe. The Swiss could use some of their expertise again, as could the Germans, who have been visibly absent.
 
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BullsFan22 said:
An interesting development in the Russian National Team. The Burgermeister/Knauthe training group which has had some great results with the likes of Legkov, Chernousov, Belov and last year Ustiugov, among others, has apparently been scrapped.
vialbe said it was not about the money...probably, the same as with the legkov split earlier - clash of personalities. and i can not imagine b/c of knaute - she's a sweetheart. reto is very cold and demanding but i'd be over my level of knowledge insisting that was IT...
 
Chernousov's last two years with Bitnes are almost certainly more to do with his other half than anything else. Selina missed the 2014-15 season due to pregnancy and motherhood, so Ilya probably needed to spend as much time as possible nearby, so probably based out of either Pontresina or Lenzerheide, both of which are prominent biathlon facilities. The other option would have been Davos I guess.
 
python said:
BullsFan22 said:
An interesting development in the Russian National Team. The Burgermeister/Knauthe training group which has had some great results with the likes of Legkov, Chernousov, Belov and last year Ustiugov, among others, has apparently been scrapped.
vialbe said it was not about the money...probably, the same as with the legkov split earlier - clash of personalities. and i can not imagine b/c of knaute - she's a sweetheart. reto is very cold and demanding but i'd be over my level of knowledge insisting that was IT...

Yes, based on some of the interviews I read it is indeed due to internal 'conflicts' and 'differences.' Knauthe does seem like a good person, though from an outsiders perspective, Reto doesn't seem bad either, obviously we don't have the inside information so we can't know for sure. Knauthe was basically the one giving out all the interviews and I've seen her more during the races than Reto. Not saying he wasn't there, but she was definitely one that I noticed more. Both of them seem like quiet people, but Reto seems VERY quiet and reserved. Perhaps you are right about him being 'cold.' It's not even a Swiss type of quiet. I know in the split, Legkov mentioned that he needed more time with his family, meaning that he needed to be in Russia more, meaning that Reto didn't see all the traveling from Russia to central Europe and back as a good thing. There may have been more issues, but that's none of my business.

I'd actually like to see Knauthe move to the Kramer group. She knows a lot of those athletes, has spent years with them now as a physical therapist and 'assistant' coach to Reto. She, like Kramer, is German so the communication will not be a problem. If Kramer did write a lot of the training plan, then that should also be an easy transition, as well as both of them having worked for the Swiss. It would also help the women on that team to have a non-male coach or somebody to assist.
 
Isabel Knauthe interview with skisport.ru. Very interesting. Worth a read. I think google translate does a good translation

http://www.skisport.ru/news/cross-country/83049/

And further explanations by Burgemeister/Knauthe

http://www.skisport.ru/news/cross-country/83050/


Sad to see this very successful group break up just a month before the ski season starts. I don't want to summarize the interviews, but it appears that the group was again making headway. Belov was getting equal results in testing as Legkov in the summer prior to the Sochi Olympics. Knauthe also says that Ustiugov is the most talented skier she's seen/worked with. That says a lot considering she's worked with Cologna, Legkov, Chernousov, among others. It appears, as one or two of you already mentioned (Python, Libertine) that a lot of this has to do with the strict management of Reto. However, it also seems like the athletes were 'slacking' a bit. Perhaps resting on their laurels instead of building on the success. Having said that, their summer/fall results wouldn't be that good, so it seems as if the break up was fairly recent, as in early October, as the interview appears to suggest. Knauthe also said that they were in talks with Kramer to keep working with the athletes and also help the women in that group but that 'some' athletes refused them. My hunch? Legkov. I think he's had a fallout with Burgermeister, like you pointed out Python. It's a surprise, considering that Burgemeister has a 'strict' regimen and expects athletes to focus and train hard and consistent (as mentioned), but also Legkov would fit the bill perfectly. It must have been Legkov's desire to open up the ski shop, and generally work on personal projects post-Sochi. That said, if it is him that suggested that Reto/Isabel not come to the Kramer group is stupid. He had career years with them (as did Chernousov) and who knows what would have happened had they not joined up. What's more, he probably influenced guys like Belov and Ustiugov to part ways and join the Kramer group, which is what they eventually did.

I am not too worried about Legkov, he's got another couple seasons to add to his solid resume, but if what I suspect is true (judging from the interview and that Legkov broke away from Knauthe/Burgermeister and not the other way around then it must be) it's a pity the other athletes had to be dragged into the mess and that neither Burgemeister or Knauthe were allowed by 'some' of the athletes to join Kramer. I very much doubt Kramer denied them the opportunity. It had to be Legkov. Legkov has worked with Kramer for a while and he probably suggested they move to train with him.

Anyway, some strange news coming from the Russian Ski Team. Not the sort of thing one would wish so close to a World Championship season and the Olympics not that far off either!!
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
Chernousov's last two years with Bitnes are almost certainly more to do with his other half than anything else. Selina missed the 2014-15 season due to pregnancy and motherhood, so Ilya probably needed to spend as much time as possible nearby, so probably based out of either Pontresina or Lenzerheide, both of which are prominent biathlon facilities. The other option would have been Davos I guess.

I think you are absolutely right on about Ilya. I wouldn't be shocked if he changed nationalities in the very near future, as in, he'll be Swiss by South Korea.
 
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kingjr said:
@Libertine, you referred to Simon Fourcade as a "mugging-for-the-cameras-buffoon" earlier this year, would you care to elaborate or provide an example?
Just my perception of him from his social media presence and various small French team training videos. I don't find him an obnoxious camera mug, more a Thomas Voeckler kind of character, and also that perception is exacerbated by on a personal experience from meeting him and a few of the other biathletes at a World Cup meet a couple of years ago, where he was hanging around with his friends nearby the venue but as soon as people recognized him, all kinds of silly faces and poses were being pulled. I use buffoon in the literal sense, i.e. that he's playing the fool, rather than as an insult to suggest he's stupid. Given his dominance and some of his finish line antics, however, if his brother was acting the same way I'd be much less sympathetic.
 
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....jeez, minutes ago the french destroyed everyone in the seasonstarter. if it's not this fourcade, then it's the other. hope, libertine stays away from the cardio meds :) best norge, if my eyes saw it right was, was berkeland in 7th or 8th. grandpa, i mean a new pa oeb, was shooting as if he was blind on one eye...well, the oldies often do :razz:
 
Well, on the plus side, I'm a firm believer in Justine Braisaz. But on the men's side of the sport, one has to hope the Russians are firing on all cylinders or Simon Schempp can stay healthy, otherwise it's going to be a really boring year at this rate. I know that the main races at Östersund don't start for another two and a half weeks so many aren't hitting form yet, but the French depth in those races was scary. I mean, they annihilated the mass start and Martin didn't even start.
 
Cue clinic talk about something systemic in the French squad.... Honestly though, I'm much more excited with the ladies side this year, despite Dasha having gone and had a baby she's planning on making a comeback which is for the best. I dislike OEB, but I've always admired Dasha because her V2 technique in particular is the most aesthetically pleasing of all time, so I'll still root for her.
 
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jsem94 said:
Cue clinic talk about something systemic in the French squad.... Honestly though, I'm much more excited with the ladies side this year, despite Dasha having gone and had a baby she's planning on making a comeback which is for the best. I dislike OEB, but I've always admired Dasha because her V2 technique in particular is the most aesthetically pleasing of all time, so I'll still root for her.
It's going to be a great battle for sure! Very open this year with Darya back, more so than the men's competition :(
 
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I didn't realize that Roland Clara has retired.
I always liked the guy, the 2015 Tour de Ski was probably the highlight of his career, he was such a beast on Alpe Cermis.
 
Re: pole length, I think the regulation is arbitrary and the argument that it hampers "development" in this sport is well founded. I think double poling definitely belongs to Classic technique skiing. Yet I am for some regulation like that because some races that have insane amount of double poling have been on the borderline of ridiculous. So I guess I welcome the ruling and catch myself being a conservative so as to defend the Classic Classic technique. The reason is that I am not particularly fond of the development of the sport towards a short climb / explosive effort type of endurance events instead of long climb and slightly less explosive events. So yes course design would definitely help more.

Also agree that skating kicks in Classic races is a problem too. I think a semi consistent regulation might be that if there is a groomed track, then skiers must stay on them, no skating kicks even in corners, full stop. This leaves finishing sprints and the lane changes involved (not too big a problem, IMHO) and perhaps some herringbone sections as greyzone, but I think this would be manageable.

Fwiw, I read an argument to abolish Classic technique altogether from northug's father that made some Sense. He made the point that xc skiing is expensive (even in the more wealthy countries) - and only having one technique would lessen the entry costs for especially juniors and their parents. The article was a translation. But Inequality sucks and I think the point is a good , although abolishing the technique is over the top. But cost reduction that is mandatory, hell yes. Also the more expensive waxes and Enormous amounts of pairs of skis could well be regulated for the juniors imo.

And thanks autocorrect for the oddly placed capitalised letters in this post...
 
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despite the new poll length rule, today, in the beitostölen 15k classic a double poller won. i watched briefly towards the end...it was funny to see the officials measuring each skier's height. was surprised they measured with the hat on. i know the ski boots MUST be on but the hat could add 1/2 cm at least :Question:

petter in 74th 4 min back...sundby 'sick'. the field was 95% norwegian with an occasional swede or a slovak.i don't consider musgrave a brit anymore ;)
 
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python said:
despite the new poll length rule, today, in the beitostölen 15k classic a double poller won. i watched briefly towards the end...it was funny to see the officials measuring each skier's height. was surprised they measured with the hat on. i know the ski boots MUST be on but the hat could add 1/2 cm at least :Question:

petter in 74th 4 min back...sundby 'sick'. the field was 95% norwegian with an occasional swede or a slovak.i don't consider musgrave a brit anymore ;)

I watched the race and I found it odd. We knew what to expect after they made that rule, but it was still funny to see it play out. Quite interesting that Toenseth won, his strength has always been the diagonal stride. He's one of the more smooth diagonal striding skiers on the WC. Plus he's not that big and not the strongest guy out there, though last year Roethe double poled the entire course and he was on the podium. All three podium skiers were on skate skis, double poling. Something that may have helped Toenseth, apart from his improved double poling and fast skis, is that the new, softer snow. Being light helped him. The guys that used kick wax looked like they were struggling. I don't know the exact number of kick wax vs no wax skiers in the race, but the guys that double poled looked pretty darn good. Ironic how it's been the top diagonal stride skiers that have won races where they've double poled-Poltoranin, Sundby, Toenseth...All three are excellent classic skiers with great technique, ones that you don't expect to necessarily use skate skis, but there they are.

Northug started well, sat behind Gjerdalen (who 2nd), the first third or so, but then completely backed off. He literally walked to the finish. He does this quite a bit, especially this early in this season. If he's not in contention early or at the latest by the halfway mark, he'll cruise in and not waste energy. I expect more in the skate race tomorrow and the sprint on Sunday. He'll play a big part in one of those races for sure.

I don't trust Sundby anymore. He may really be sick, but whatever. I've seen this from skiers like Olsson where they say they are sick and then the next race they do, they crush it.

Apparently Bjoergen will for real make her comeback tomorrow. I saw a photo of her on NRK during the press conference a couple days ago. My goodness she looks pale and...well...somewhat different.

Yes, I don't consider Musgrave a Brit anymore. He's lived, trained and raced in Norway for 8 years now and it wouldn't shock me if he decided to change nationalities at some point in the future, though I doubt it. He can just show up to race for GBR and make the team. It's really only him and Andrew Young. There are a couple other guys for the Brits, but they are nowhere near good as Musgrave and Young.

Not to be a stickler (though it is significant), you are mixing the Slovenians and Slovaks. No Slovaks in today's race in Beito. Slovenians? Yes.

Looks like the big hitters are ready to play in Finland and Sweden. Hellner crushed the 15km skate today by 50 seconds, and Vylegzhanin led a strong Russian team in the 10km classic in Saariselkae, Finland.

It appears that the tracks in Kuusamo are in good shape with winter conditions, so I hope there won't be problems like last year, where the classic race was marred by extremely tricky snow conditions where virtually nobody had decent kick.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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bjoergen just crushed everyone in her 1st showing after her maternity leave...it would look as ugly as ever if heidi wasn't 2nd...she even lead by a few seconds at a 6km control

i thank heavens for sparing me from the insane johaug yelling at the finish. hopefully i wont hear it for the next 2 seasons. other than those 2 bright moments, it was a boring stumping of bulk and muscles over a more feminine athleticism... :rolleyes:
 
Biathlete Mari laukkanen seems to have improved quite a bit. Within a week she beat mäkäräinen in a biathlon duel and today she beat Finnish xc A team athletes in a sprint race, which she also won. Ok, it is very early season still and it was a sprint, but nonetheless quite surprising.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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a very interesting 15k free in beito...

despite being a 95%+ norge internal event, it was nice to see a biathlete (shipulin) doing quite respectably in the 21st...i think just about all the norge cream except a 'sick' sundby was there.

to my eye, northug raced full throttle. even taking the fastest at a 2.2 km check. with all that shipulin lost to him only 10 or seconds. feel happy for mussy - 2 fine performances in a row. i thought krogh will do better, at least placing.

all in all we now have a good idea who is in what shape btwn beito, saariselkae and kuusamo...

@bullsfan
yep, i confused the slovak with a slovenian. but who doesn't :)
 
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meat puppet said:
Biathlete Mari laukkanen seems to have improved quite a bit. Within a week she beat mäkäräinen in a biathlon duel and today she beat Finnish xc A team athletes in a sprint race, which she also won. Ok, it is very early season still and it was a sprint, but nonetheless quite surprising.
Laukkanen's been a decent XC sprinter for a while though, as you can see from her FIS XC profile.

8th in Lahti sprint quali 2014
15th in Olympic Games sprint Sochi 2014
5th in Toblach sprint quali 2014 (21st in ensuing sprint)
1st in Sochi sprint quali 2013 (5th in ensuing sprint)
2nd in Finnish national championships sprint (quali & finals) 2011
1st U23 World Sprint Champion Hinterzarten 2010
2nd U23 World Sprint Championships Praz-de-Lys 2009

My thinking is that with it being early season and having a decent record in sprints anyway at least at reduced field World Cups she may have made a step forward in ski speed but it's not going to be astronomical. Her problem was always shooting, although she had a disappointing season last year.
 

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