Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Sep 25, 2009
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kingjr said:
Anyway, Klaebo is quite the genius. He makes it look so easy and he's only 20.
not arguing or disagreeing but still would like to bring the light to a less visible genius today, b/c unlike klaebo he was not opening huge gaps today...he was closing them and therefore to be appreciated properly the approach should that of your dad - with pen and pencil.

thankfully, to save some paper, we have the official race results from the fis in a pdf form ...so, what do that subtle lap times tell us ?

before i go there, we need to stress that ustiougov, unlike klaebo, was engaged in the exhausting 30 km race he had to expand himself fully in just 23 h prior. also, unlike klaebo who had no one in front thus producing an all-out effort on every lap, ustiougov was to some degree, though insignificantly, involved in tactical situations. that is, he was not ALWAYS 'pedal to the metal' like klaebo b/c he had to match the speed of those he caught for a while.

to the meat and details...

1. ustiougov in his 1st lap started in 9th (of ten) full 5+ seconds behind norway. he fought his way to the absolute lead, closing the gap and sending his teammate out ahead of everyone. while doing this he produced his 1st lap almost 7 seconds faster than the klaebo's 1st (2:50.84 vs 2:57.10)
2. in his 2nd lap ustiougov again was sent off almost 6 second after norway. he again fought his way to the front and exchanged 2nd 1.5 behind norway norway. not only he again posted the fastest time in his heat, he basically again ate the crap left by his inadequate partner.

on the last lap ustiougov was visibly tiring...when the finn caught iversen and they had a collision, he was 4th about 2 second behind iversen and gaining speed on pelle down hill. then he opened his afterburners and beat pelle by over 2 seconds. meaning, even w/o the collision a the bronze was his and probably a silver too. a gold would be a taller speculation, but the finn is no sprinter and iverson was just dead.

that's who was a less visible jenius today.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Singer01 said:
Odds on Norway winning 6 of 6 for the women and 0 of 6 for the men? I assume MJS is still favourite for the interval start. And they have a very good chance at the relay.
I wonder who'll be selected for the Norwegian relay team, will Krogh be the last man or will they use Klaebo and am I crazy to think that they could even use Klaebo as the 2nd classic guy with Sundby?
Those 2 going all out in the classic would put a lot of pressure on the other teams.
The Italian relay squad could be pretty good, not for a podium, but top 5 could be realistic. Salvadori said that yesterday he felt super strong in the classic part of the skiathlon, keeping up with the top guys was not a problem for him.
He could get a top10 finish in the 15km, when it comes to the Italians the big question mark is e Fabiani, durning the 2n half of the TdS he suddenly had great for and his preparation was going pretty well, but theen he had to deal with a Viral gastroenteritis that forced him to skip the Estonian races, so he has pretty low expectations.
 
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
But is that because the German women feel the Team Sprint more prestigious, or simply because they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell at present of winning a medal in the skiathlon. I don't see that was a case of the German team valuing the format higher than the skiathlon, but rather them valuing an outside chance of a medal over no chance of a medal.
They're not valuing it lower either. A medal is a medal. The team sprint does not have a long tradition compared to the relay and the Femmila, so in that sense it is less prestigious, but the format itself, not necessarily.
Don't forget that they are athletes who actually enjoy this type of race. I know I would, even though I'm physically not a sprinter type.

Libertine Seguros said:
I'd argue that with the case of the biathlon sprint (I assume you're referring to the men's one) then yes, that was a change of conditions race, but Vincent Jay specifically gambled on the change of conditions and chose to go in that pot for that very reason. I take your point that in some cases change of conditions luck (take Caitlin Gregg's bronze in Falun for example!) plays a part in distance races and start numbers do also play a role (compare Calle Halfvarsson's lonely, lonely race in Davos to Andrew Musgrave hitching a ride on first Gløersen, then Sundby, then Heikkinen) and this imbalances them in much the same way as the crashes do in the sprint events, but I think back to an event like the sprint in the Canadian mini-Tour last year where everybody was falling all over the place, or the Lahti sprint last year when Strandvall nearly instigated a brawl, and think, do we need that? At least nobody gets injured by a start number gamble.
Yes, the crashes are a shame, but I like the format too much and as a cycling fan, I'm used to crashes interfering with the race. I leave it to the athletes themselves to say whether the risk of injury is too high.

Libertine Seguros said:
In general I feel the sprint events to be a dumbing-down of the sport, as the FIS seems to be afraid of people being scared off by the complexity of individual start formats (which really aren't that complex) and the conservative racing style proliferating especially in men's distance races a few years ago. It's not just XC though, the IBU is going the same way, marginalizing the 15/20 Individual in favour of ever shorter races, culminating in their equivalent of the Team Sprint, the Single Mixed Relay, which is nothing more than a shooting competition and that none of the teams bar maybe the French seem to care about.
I think your feeling is accurate but I would add that the FIS has every right to be afraid. I'm sure that the individual start format does discourage casual viewers from getting into the sport. I'd like to make clear at this point that I pretty much like every format, as long as it's cross-country skiing. I would maybe do away with the Skiathlon in its current form and go turn it into a variation of the old format, make it a 15k (or maybe 10, or 20) pursuit race based on the results of the 15k individual start.
With regards to your gripe with the conservative racing style in the 30 and 50k mass starts, I feel that it has actually improved a bit over the last few years compared with 10, 12 years ago. Ironically, we might have to thank Northug for that.
Libertine Seguros said:
The chaos in the exchange, the crashes and the short ski loops with little chance of producing anything significant makes it feel to me like it's a crazy idea for a stadium show event that somehow managed to get greenlit for the World Cup. It's designed to produce action, but all of the action it produces just feels meaningless and artificial to me.
I don't mind if a format started out as a crazy idea for a stadium show event, if the event turns out to be enjoyable and exciting to watch. Despite the crash, both races today were nailbiters.

A number of sport events that we know today started out as completely batshit crazy ideas (Tour de France, Ironman, Downhill skiing, Ski Jumping), it's just a question of what type of crazy you prefer.
I don't understand what makes action meaningless or meaningful, or artificial. Athletes on skis are racing towards a line, trying to be the first one across, in that sense the sprint is no different from longer formats. Crashes happen, but even in the sprints, the strongest win more often than not, and you said 'all type of action' anyway, which is where I don't follow you.
And not every crash is down to misfortune, sometimes an athlete makes a genuine technical mistake
 
Re: Re:

python said:
kingjr said:
Anyway, Klaebo is quite the genius. He makes it look so easy and he's only 20.
not arguing or disagreeing but still would like to bring the light to a less visible genius today, b/c unlike klaebo he was not opening huge gaps today...he was closing them and therefore to be appreciated properly the approach should that of your dad - with pen and pencil.

thankfully, to save some paper, we have the official race results from the fis in a pdf form ...so, what do that subtle lap times tell us ?

before i go there, we need to stress that ustiougov, unlike klaebo, was engaged in the exhausting 30 km race he had to expand himself fully in just 23 h prior. also, unlike klaebo who had no one in front thus producing an all-out effort on every lap, ustiougov was to some degree, though insignificantly, involved in tactical situations. that is, he was not ALWAYS 'pedal to the metal' like klaebo b/c he had to match the speed of those he caught for a while.

to the meat and details...

1. ustiougov in his 1st lap started in 9th (of ten) full 5+ seconds behind norway. he fought his way to the absolute lead, closing the gap and sending his teammate out ahead of everyone. while doing this he produced his 1st lap almost 7 seconds faster than the klaebo's 1st (2:50.84 vs 2:57.10)
2. in his 2nd lap ustiougov again was sent off almost 6 second after norway. he again fought his way to the front and exchanged 2nd 1.5 behind norway norway. not only he again posted the fastest time in his heat, he basically again ate the crap left by his inadequate partner.

on the last lap ustiougov was visibly tiring...when the finn caught iversen and they had a collision, he was 4th about 2 second behind iversen and gaining speed on pelle down hill. then he opened his afterburners and beat pelle by over 2 seconds. meaning, even w/o the collision a the bronze was his and probably a silver too. a gold would be a taller speculation, but the finn is no sprinter and iverson was just dead.

that's who was a less visible jenius today.
It was closer to 3 seconds between the two. I find it really unlikely that Ustiugov would have caught up with Niskanen without the collision. Maybe he could have caught Iversen, who looked quite dead and also didn't seem to have the best skis, but who knows.. In any case we cannot really compare the counterfactual scenario to what happened, since it also likely that Ustiugov's motivation to sprint was boosted upon witnessing the crash. Maybe he would not have fought so hard for a bronze/silver medal, if there had been no collision.
 
It's because the short loops and bursts of effort means you have by nature these short, small ski loops that then don't really include much, if anything at all, of the "cross country" aspect of cross country skiing, because most of it is around the stadium, and because the athletes regularly get breaks, it doesn't really feel like there's any holding true to the endurance nature of the sport (even if, as you point out, the regular short bursts of intensity followed by rest periods makes for a different kind of endurance), so it doesn't feel like it's a genuine cross country skiing event. A lot of those small show event competitions like the München Olympiapark slalom head to head, or the Gelsenkirchen stadium biathlon, are set up specifically because that's what the facility has the capability for, but as a result the races feel like a novelty rather than a genuine competition. You don't need to do that somewhere like Lahti, but I've never shaken that impression with the Team Sprint that it's a novelty format that somehow fluked its way to the Worlds and Olympics. And because I think of it as a novelty, the action it produces (which all too often isn't much) doesn't feel meaningful to me, and so I don't value it as a competition and find it a lot more difficult to get engaged with than the other formats, and with - especially among the women - the proliferation of ever shorter distance races that marginalise the specialists, and like the biathlon Single Mixed, which has yet to provide any real entertainment in any of its outings as a World Cup event owing to the inability to produce any real skiing challenges in the short courses required, would be happier if it was relegated back to sideshow attraction status.

Still, better than the OIympic BMX or any of the X-Games hangover events they've filled the Winter Olympics with now, and by some way.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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libertine, i dont think anyone in this thread is confused that you dont like the xc ski sprints. that's fine.

a personal opinion is just that. and as you can read, many nordics, including myself, dont feel the way you do...some may feel the way you do, but they haven't posted much. again, that would be fine if they agreed with you.

what i dont get is why do you keep re-iterating the SAME point for so many years on this thread in stead of just stopping the xc sprint irritant entering your heart and mind by seizing the following.

for instance, i dont quite get the golf sport...i dont go around putting it down...i just dont read, watch, or follow it. my choice. a very easy choice given how many other sports excite me.

why such a natural choice keeps alluding you is my question.

unless, contrary to my aproach, you are trying to convince others that your personal choice of sports is better.

perhaps. but i dont quite appreciate the clutter thus produced during a world championship when it forces me to to sift through the numerous messages well expressed before.
 
Sundby should be the huge favorite in the 15km and the 50km.
He seems to be in top shape and temperatures will be above Zero. He usually excells in those Kind of conditions. Maybe waxing condition could get really difficult. That could mix up things a Little bit. Otherwise three Gold medals for Sundy in the final races seem to be inevitable.

I don't get the Team sprint criticism. Of course, on easy flat City tracks they are useless. However, on tough courses they usually produce great ad exciting races. Nothing wrong there.

The programme should be like this.

Sprint
Team Sprint
15km individual
Skiathlon: 15km mass start + 15 km pursuit ( break of about 30-60 minutes between the runs)
Relay
50km individual

I think this would be the perfect mix between traditional forms and modern formats that are appealing to the casual fans.

6 races, 4 of them are mass basically start races. This should really be enough and allows us to Keep two traditional races, especially the 50km.
Plus, the skiatlon would be so much more excited if it was two races. The classic guys would go all out in the first 15km .

It really wouldn't be that difficult. FIS is sadly run by a bunch of morons, though.
 

Singer01

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Nov 18, 2013
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Bavarianrider said:
Sundby should be the huge favorite in the 15km and the 50km.
He seems to be in top shape and temperatures will be above Zero. He usually excells in those Kind of conditions. Maybe waxing condition could get really difficult. That could mix up things a Little bit. Otherwise three Gold medals for Sundy in the final races seem to be inevitable.

I don't get the Team sprint criticism. Of course, on easy flat City tracks they are useless. However, on tough courses they usually produce great ad exciting races. Nothing wrong there.

The programme should be like this.

Sprint
Team Sprint
15km individual
Skiathlon: 15km mass start + 15 km pursuit ( break of about 30-60 minutes between the runs)
Relay
50km individual

I think this would be the perfect mix between traditional forms and modern formats that are appealing to the casual fans.

6 races, 4 of them are mass basically start races. This should really be enough and allows us to Keep two traditional races, especially the 50km.
Plus, the skiatlon would be so much more excited if it was two races. The classic guys would go all out in the first 15km .

It really wouldn't be that difficult. FIS is sadly run by a bunch of morons, though.
i think the skiathlon should vary which leg goes first, no reason why classic couldn't go second.
 
Singer01 said:
Bavarianrider said:
Sundby should be the huge favorite in the 15km and the 50km.
He seems to be in top shape and temperatures will be above Zero. He usually excells in those Kind of conditions. Maybe waxing condition could get really difficult. That could mix up things a Little bit. Otherwise three Gold medals for Sundy in the final races seem to be inevitable.

I don't get the Team sprint criticism. Of course, on easy flat City tracks they are useless. However, on tough courses they usually produce great ad exciting races. Nothing wrong there.

The programme should be like this.

Sprint
Team Sprint
15km individual
Skiathlon: 15km mass start + 15 km pursuit ( break of about 30-60 minutes between the runs)
Relay
50km individual

I think this would be the perfect mix between traditional forms and modern formats that are appealing to the casual fans.

6 races, 4 of them are mass basically start races. This should really be enough and allows us to Keep two traditional races, especially the 50km.
Plus, the skiatlon would be so much more excited if it was two races. The classic guys would go all out in the first 15km .

It really wouldn't be that difficult. FIS is sadly run by a bunch of morons, though.
i think the skiathlon should vary which leg goes first, no reason why classic couldn't go second.
I totally agree.
 
Re: Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Singer01 said:
Odds on Norway winning 6 of 6 for the women and 0 of 6 for the men? I assume MJS is still favourite for the interval start. And they have a very good chance at the relay.
I wonder who'll be selected for the Norwegian relay team, will Krogh be the last man or will they use Klaebo and am I crazy to think that they could even use Klaebo as the 2nd classic guy with Sundby?
Those 2 going all out in the classic would put a lot of pressure on the other teams.
.
Pretty sure they´ll pick Tønseth, Dyrhaug or Holund for the 2nd leg. Might gamble on Klæbo for the 3rd, but in Norway the relay is a "must win", there is little room to gamble with the fury of the media and nation. The national coach is about to get fired - a safe win might save his ass. Klæbo´s lack of experience is against him.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Kokoso said:
Don't wheter one one another is to blame here, I'd be very carefull. One thing seems sure to me - it wasn't only Iversen's fault. To me it looked more like Niskanen's fault, Iversen was in first position, Niskanen tried to squeeze where he knew Iversen will push off with his poles; just stupid move. Sure fact is that Niskanen tripped Iveresen's leg which was in the track, but that could be just result of what happened before.
I rewatched and have to correct myself. There was actually track on the inner side, but Iversen probably haven't seen Niskanen. So no one is to blame here. That just happens.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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regarding the norwegian relay, it is almost certain that sundby will run the 3d leg. his skating at the moment (at least to the way i saw him) is superior to his classic. therefore, a pragmatic coach MUST maximize such an asset.

the 4th leg, since it's rather clear northug is out, would likely belong to one of 3 excellent finishers: krogh, klaebo or roethe. i think krogh is a more obvious choice, since klaebo is less experienced, but the youngster in my opinion can match the ustiougov speed better. in the classic legs i would only bet on seeing toenseth and NOT seeing iversen. many national teams would loooove to have the norwegian selection headacke.
 
Re:

python said:
libertine, i dont think anyone in this thread is confused that you dont like the xc ski sprints. that's fine.

a personal opinion is just that. and as you can read, many nordics, including myself, dont feel the way you do...some may feel the way you do, but they haven't posted much. again, that would be fine if they agreed with you.

what i dont get is why do you keep re-iterating the SAME point for so many years on this thread in stead of just stopping the xc sprint irritant entering your heart and mind by seizing the following.

for instance, i dont quite get the golf sport...i dont go around putting it down...i just dont read, watch, or follow it. my choice. a very easy choice given how many other sports excite me.

why such a natural choice keeps alluding you is my question.

unless, contrary to my aproach, you are trying to convince others that your personal choice of sports is better.

perhaps. but i dont quite appreciate the clutter thus produced during a world championship when it forces me to to sift through the numerous messages well expressed before.
With your golf example, that's a separate sport. I don't watch ski cross or the other X-Games stuff in the Winter Olympics for the reason you give. I do watch XC skiing, and that includes the sprint, and sometimes enjoy it, but I like the storylines to develop over time and gradually get absorbed in the race which is why I've always gravitated to distance. That's the personal preference bit, and if you've noticed, I've been less down on the Individual Sprint of late, as its proliferation in the calendar seems to be on the wane (around 1/3 of races this year as opposed to 1/2 in 2013-14). I still like XC skiing, but I prefer to see the longer, more traditional formats, and also feel that the generic homologation of all "distance" under one heading regardless of whether 5k or 50k erodes the value of "distance" racing. I would prefer a more equal balance of short (inc. sprint), medium distance and long distance events. I appreciate the value of the bang-and-crash short-sharp-dose excitement of the sprint to hook new fans and offer variety to existing fans, and at times the races can indeed be exciting, but am worried about the detrimental effect this has - especially in the women's field - on the distance races, as the races for real distance specialists become so few in number that there's no reason not to focus on sprints, whereupon the distance races will then be less interesting (as we've seen in recent years with Johaug just skiing away from everybody) so we'll get more short distance races that offer more competition and a lot of what I loved about the sport in the first place will be lost.

I'd like the fans who are brought in by the excitement of the sprint to move on to then be incentivised by the calendar and the varied cast of athletes to enjoy the distance events similarly, rather than the FIS to say, as I feared a few years ago, that the sprint brings a larger audience so let's do a sprint every week (the "Vuelta" approach - "the mountain stages aren't producing big gaps, so let's produce more mountain stages to create bigger gaps") which is what I perceived to be the case until recently where a better balance seems to be being moved toward. And because I don't trust the FIS to handle it correctly given many of their recent moves, I feel wary of further moves to shorten and simplify.

And I threw a strop in my initial post because I was having a bad day and was annoyed that I'd miss the individual start distance races, because they'll be on a weekday, but the race format I find least interesting and valuable was on a weekend when I had the chance to watch, and that started the old go-around again. Apologies for the unnecessary derailing.
 
The sprints, team sprints and mass start races will always get flack when crashes, broken equipment, ruined races, slow races and boring tactics occur. I can't say boring tactics have occurred so far in Lahti, but crashes, broken poles, lost medal chances have certainly happened. Close quarter racing and tired bodies also play their role in crashes. I do hope that FIS cuts down on mass starts and increases the number of individual races, though. Also I hope, if they do want to keep having this many sprints, that they at least have an equal number of classic sprints as they have skate. It seems as though there's been too many skate sprints over the past couple seasons.
 
So, women's 10k classic individual start today. The big question I think is whether Pärmäkoski can really challenge Björgen. I think so. It will be a tight race. Pärmä is in an excellent form and definitely hungry for the win. Even so, I would not bet against Björgen.

Other questions include whether Kalla will continue her rebound, whether Weng will recover and perform, and whether the likes of Kowa & Fessel will feature in the fight over medals. Will some of the lesser names go and surprise. And so on.

On a minor note, I would have included Saarinen in the race. Team Finland did not.

The air temperature in Lahti will be above zero, around 2-4 degrees centigrade. So I think they will use klister gripwax or, as a last resort, nanogrip skis.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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...i just had a session with heavenly spirits and rushing to post what i had heard: bjoergen will NOT win today :twisted: :surprised:

will have to see if the spirits know anything about the sport...? :D

btw, parmakoski starts 1 min behind bjoergen which should be aiding her timing. kowa starts 5 min earlier than bjoergen and kalla 5 min earlier than kowa...i did not find diggins in a start list, but randall is there.
 

Singer01

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Re:

python said:
...i just had a session with heavenly spirits and rushing to post what i had heard: bjoergen will NOT win today :twisted: :surprised:

will have to see if the spirits know anything about the sport...? :D

btw, parmakoski starts 1 min behind bjoergen which should be aiding her timing. kowa starts 5 min earlier than bjoergen and kalla 5 min earlier than kowa...i did not find diggins in a start list, but randall is there.
I'm not sure 1m behind makes that much difference, Bjoergen will be getting updates as much as her surely, a minor advantage at best.
Would love to see JK get a podium, also Kalla is a conundrum, she looked good in the classic leg of the skiathlon, when normally its her freestyle which is by far the strongest.
Weng will get another disappointing top 5.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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kalla faster than anyone by 5 sec at 1.5 km except bjoergen faster that her by 5. parma same speed as kalla at 1.5 km.

the muscular mama seems not have heard the news from my spirits... :Dat 3.5 km mama is besting kalla by 8 sec now...

parma may not get even a medal today--26 sec behind mama at 3.5 km
 
The word is that the Finns has bad skis in general: either too slippery or too grippy depending on the athlete. Niskanen did really well by her own standards this year, which means I was wrong about having saarinen instead of her. Pärmä flopped. Dunno if the skis explain it all, probably not. In comparison to Kalla and björgen her skiing looks as though she was a league below. Kyllönen very bad, and quite likely out of the relay team. E: and indeed, out she is.

A bit surprised how well anna haag did. Good on her.

Similar weather tomorrow.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Yes, Sundby is the big favourite, for me the other non-Norwegian favourites for the medals are Niskanen, Bessmertnykh and Poltoranin, I don't know if Heikikinen will make the podium.
 
Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Yes, Sundby is the big favourite, for me the other non-Norwegian favourites for the medals are Niskanen, Bessmertnykh and Poltoranin, I don't know if Heikikinen will make the podium.
I would add Olsson and Toenseth to the list of contenders. Toenseth is an excellent classic skier, had a very good skiathlon and is capable of getting on the podium. Olsson, like he always does before a major competition, is sick, says me missed training, then right before the championships he says he's trained a lot, gone away in the woods away from his family, and feels good. Expect him to be in the mix.
 

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