Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Sep 25, 2009
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toblach...

in minutes i expect the muscle woman to put all the little girls in their place. kalla should, but if the last week was any guidance, wont be able to resist. the lady's race boredom may be compensated by the dynamics in the men's race...

i dont see the 2 young leaders of the distance cup at the start (klaebo and bolshunov). i do see all the podium contenders of the last week. curious if sundby overcame his 'illness'.

my money is on ustiougov winning. why ? he's a very good responder to altitude, which must be his build up to the tds. AND he was a runner up last week showing a raising form already. but i will never discount cologna and a couple of norges...
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i was incorrect on a couple of accounts...klaebo did start AND kalla did win !
 
JTB is outrageously good right now. Fourcade will come good come the Olympics but JTB will pick up a few individual gold medals for sure. Shoutout to Lukas Hofer going from 40th -> 7th in the pursuit.

Also, didn't expect Kruger to be this good and I hope Kalla's early form doesn't translate into a dip later on in the season for the Olympics. She needs to not get sick and keep the steady form up.
 
Kalla needs to skip the TDS at this point I think, to give herself the chance to get a proper break in and then get her form back to peak for Pyeongchang. Ragnhild Haga has a similar position, although at the same time there's also the issue of making Olympic selection and especially in respect of the relay for the Norwegians meaning that you can't really take your foot off the gas. Jacobsen has been very quiet but she'll surely come good in the new year. By contrast, Charlotte doesn't have any worries in terms of her place in the team, let's face it.

In the biathlon, yes, JTB is freakishly good right now, he's doing to Fourcade what Fourcade has done to everybody else for the last few years - skiing faster than him and putting pressure on him in the range as well. Even L'Équipe has been glad for the change, saying "finally, a rival for Martin". Likewise in the women's races Kuzmina has been storming this last couple of weeks, skiing at a phenomenal pace and shooting well, although both in Hochfilzen and today she's gone so fast into the range that she's had to take an age over the last couple of shots in standing. Not convinced we're looking at Dahlmeier at her best just yet either, but she still found a way to win after Kuzmina erred in the first prone to open the door. JTB didn't make that mistake, and so nobody was there to really pressure him. Annecy doesn't really allow for a huge amount of time to be won or lost on the trails, but if it did then Bø would in fairness probably have won by more.
 
Re: biathlon, JTB in great form and also did a 10/10 race. Phenomenal range work, just wow. Agree that dahlmeier is not at her best yet. Skiing does not seem fluid yet and lacks the last loop extra gear. kuzmina stepping up a level or two is good for the competition i think.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Krueger has done pretty well in Toblach before and he seems to be great at moderate altitude.
it's nice to see that Krogh is slowly getting better and De Fabiani also diid better than expected.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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as much as the lady's pursuit was boring, the guys had delivered excitement...from the start i was wondering why ustiuogov is NOT rushing to close the gap of only several seconds. though it was not his day. turns out it was a tactic of gradual effort to save for a later kick. sundby looked miserable. he did close up some but was clearly suffering.

klaebo impressive again. only he was able to stay with ustiougov when the russian attacked some 4 km to go. a curious fact was that while he lost to his nemesis a few seconds yesterday in a skate, he returned the favour today in a classic. he seems superior to everyone in a classic so far, yet, it it visible that serhey improve his stride this season.

glad for poltoranin. his 3d was quite a feat considering the handicap...bessmertych surged ahead of others in a sprint was mildly surprizing. muzzy deflated today, yet his podium yesterday was a long deserved success. perhaps the yesterday's firm conditions benefited the power skaters a tad more...
 
Re:

python said:
as much as the lady's pursuit was boring, the guys had delivered excitement...from the start i was wondering why ustiuogov is NOT rushing to close the gap of only several seconds. though it was not his day. turns out it was a tactic of gradual effort to save for a later kick. sundby looked miserable. he did close up some but was clearly suffering.

klaebo impressive again. only he was able to stay with ustiougov when the russian attacked some 4 km to go. a curious fact was that while he lost to his nemesis a few seconds yesterday in a skate, he returned the favour today in a classic. he seems superior to everyone in a classic so far, yet, it it visible that serhey improve his stride this season.

glad for poltoranin. his 3d was quite a feat considering the handicap...bessmertych surged ahead of others in a sprint was mildly surprizing. muzzy deflated today, yet his podium yesterday was a long deserved success. perhaps the yesterday's firm conditions benefited the power skaters a tad more...

Bessmertnykh actually has a pretty sharp sprint at the end of distance races. Remember last year at the Holmenkollen and Quebec? Similar type of finish. He also had a nice pair of skis on today.

Poltoranin's podium was his first in nearly two years. He struggled with an injury or illness (don't remember what it was exactly) and hardly did much racing, but he is on his way to the top once again. If he is in good form, he could be a player in both the classic sprint and 50km classic in Korea.

Good to see Cologna able to ski classic as well as he did. The injury he suffered prior to Sochi and one two seasons ago (re-agrevated in Holmenkollen 2016, had to pull out of the race), has prevented him from racing a lot of classic races, but he seems more comfortable now. He never misses the TDS, so hopefully he does it this season as well, plus three stages in Lenzerheide to start the tour....he's gotta be there!!

Ustiugov is looking progressively better. He's not there 100%, you can see that. HIs movements aren't as explosive as they were last in the tour de ski or Lahti, but he seems to be following the same pattern of results and his form is coming. His technique isn't that great, but he manages to churn up a lot of ground. It's very deceptive. He also skied a tactically good race, it's just that Klaebo is better than everyone at the moment. Hopefully he manages his power at the tour and recovers well for the Olympics.

Klaebo, well...what can you say. I have no idea how he doesn't tire from doing those child-like kicks on the steeper pitches. To do it once on a hill during a sprint race is tiring enough, but on virtually every hill on a 15km race??? I don't know how many in this forum have done a race or simply gone out and tried this....it is incredibly difficult. Your legs tire pretty quickly and there is also a danger in total muscle spasm/cramping. Whatever he is doing to mitigate that is working.


There's not much to say about everyone else. The Germans aren't what they used to be, neither are the Italians or the Swedes. Musgrave skied a great race yesterday and stayed with the pack for much of the race today. We'll see what he does at the Tour and later on. The French have Manificat and they rely on skate races (both distance and sprint) for decent results. The Finns have more depth in sprinting, but their hopes will be pinned on Niskanen and Heikkinen. Without Jauhojaervi, and only Iivo and Matti spearheading, they will be hard pressed to get more than one medal, even a relay medal in Korea.

Everyone else is too far off to really warrant a mention.
 
Re: Re:

BullsFan22 said:
python said:
as much as the lady's pursuit was boring, the guys had delivered excitement...from the start i was wondering why ustiuogov is NOT rushing to close the gap of only several seconds. though it was not his day. turns out it was a tactic of gradual effort to save for a later kick. sundby looked miserable. he did close up some but was clearly suffering.

klaebo impressive again. only he was able to stay with ustiougov when the russian attacked some 4 km to go. a curious fact was that while he lost to his nemesis a few seconds yesterday in a skate, he returned the favour today in a classic. he seems superior to everyone in a classic so far, yet, it it visible that serhey improve his stride this season.

glad for poltoranin. his 3d was quite a feat considering the handicap...bessmertych surged ahead of others in a sprint was mildly surprizing. muzzy deflated today, yet his podium yesterday was a long deserved success. perhaps the yesterday's firm conditions benefited the power skaters a tad more...

Bessmertnykh actually has a pretty sharp sprint at the end of distance races. Remember last year at the Holmenkollen and Quebec? Similar type of finish. He also had a nice pair of skis on today.

Poltoranin's podium was his first in nearly two years. He struggled with an injury or illness (don't remember what it was exactly) and hardly did much racing, but he is on his way to the top once again. If he is in good form, he could be a player in both the classic sprint and 50km classic in Korea.

Good to see Cologna able to ski classic as well as he did. The injury he suffered prior to Sochi and one two seasons ago (re-agrevated in Holmenkollen 2016, had to pull out of the race), has prevented him from racing a lot of classic races, but he seems more comfortable now. He never misses the TDS, so hopefully he does it this season as well, plus three stages in Lenzerheide to start the tour....he's gotta be there!!

Ustiugov is looking progressively better. He's not there 100%, you can see that. HIs movements aren't as explosive as they were last in the tour de ski or Lahti, but he seems to be following the same pattern of results and his form is coming. His technique isn't that great, but he manages to churn up a lot of ground. It's very deceptive. He also skied a tactically good race, it's just that Klaebo is better than everyone at the moment. Hopefully he manages his power at the tour and recovers well for the Olympics.

Klaebo, well...what can you say. I have no idea how he doesn't tire from doing those child-like kicks on the steeper pitches. To do it once on a hill during a sprint race is tiring enough, but on virtually every hill on a 15km race??? I don't know how many in this forum have done a race or simply gone out and tried this....it is incredibly difficult. Your legs tire pretty quickly and there is also a danger in total muscle spasm/cramping. Whatever he is doing to mitigate that is working.


There's not much to say about everyone else. The Germans aren't what they used to be, neither are the Italians or the Swedes. Musgrave skied a great race yesterday and stayed with the pack for much of the race today. We'll see what he does at the Tour and later on. The French have Manificat and they rely on skate races (both distance and sprint) for decent results. The Finns have more depth in sprinting, but their hopes will be pinned on Niskanen and Heikkinen. Without Jauhojaervi, and only Iivo and Matti spearheading, they will be hard pressed to get more than one medal, even a relay medal in Korea.

Everyone else is too far off to really warrant a mention.
Well I'd say the Germans are what they used to be except for that miracoulous 2000-2010 decade.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Durning the race the live commentators in Toblach mentioned the fact that Roethe is dealing with back pain and therefore not able to ski at his best. Sundby already looked like he was done after 10km and ATM Klaebo is just a monster in classic races (will he actually race the Tour?) and should dominate the classic sprint in Korea.
Bessmertnykh and Poltoranin are always great to watch and I also hope that they'll fight for medal in the 50km race.
 
Klaebo wasn't supposed to go to Toblach even, his early programme had ruled it out but he wanted to capitalize on his excellent form. He should skip the Tour this year for sure.

You could tell that victory meant something to Martin. He's been under pressure and he dealt with it fantastically today. What's up with Dorin's skiing though? Braisaz is wonderful though, so they have something.
 
Upthread, there was a brief discussion about the aerobic capabilities of elite female xc skiers. When I suggested that 70ml/kg/min vo2max is a good level indicative of raw talent, some posters ridiculed the notion suggesting that the "actually talented athletes" attain a level much higher. I think 80+ was suggested as the required real talent level but of course no references were produced. The point of reference for me was Pärmäkoski at the end of general preparation period in 2016, reported close to 70. I (and others) also pointed out that other factors (strength, efficiency, fractional utilisation, peaking room for improvement, etc) play a role in explaining the observed performance differences between athletes.

Back then I provided one fairly recent study of Norwegian champion skiers that was rather clear about the issue: a vo2max of 70 is the level required for women to be able to contest for gold in WC or olympics.

Well, here is a case study strait-outta-owen of the latter part of Marit Björgen's career (2010-2014): https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01069/full

It is a very interesting read and provides clues to what the athletes do in training, peaking etc. I do not even try to report all interesting aspects in this post. The study focuses on her general preparation periods, but discusses peaking too. More generally the researchers behind the paper and their associates (many of them associated with Olympiatoppen in Norway) have been putting out interesting stuff in the past five years.

According to this paper, one of Björgen's strengths is clearly her ability to attain a very high fraction of vo2max without inducing a very high lactate level. I know that lactate is not a driver of peripheral muscle fatigue as was previously thought, but an energy rich compound used as a fuel source by the body; other metabolites associated with working at a hi intensity are the fatigue inducers. That said, high lactate levels sustained for a long time are usually associated with a high recovery cost for session. The Norwegian system as reported in the lit emphasises this point quite a lot and they thus monitor lactate quite a bit. So one might argue that given her disposition to low lactate levels at high output levels (both relative and absolute), Björgen gains cumulatively over the training process because the quality sessions cost her less in comparison to others - so she can stay fresher, or simply accumulate more volume at the LT2 range, over the mesocycles.

As for the vo2max / talent debate here that I mentioned above, Björgen reaches 70ml/kg/min once (!) during the study timeframe in her general prep phase. Her fractional utilisation of vo2max at the second threshold is around 85-90% of max, which is fairly typical to elites.

Now, I have no interest in arguing that Pärmäkoski is this or that, as I dont really care about her either way. It simply bugged me that the arguments about the general level of elite female skiers in terms of vo2max were off the mark IMHO. I do think that this paper shows that women testing at 70 are definitely no slouches and that there are no grounds to argue that the true elites are at a level way above 70. To be sure, Bente Skari has been reported to have attained values close to 75, and I assume that these figures refer to general prep too, but outliers such as this do not really alter the picture by much. Björgen is as elite as it gets.

Clearly Björgen's dominance and talent relative to others has to be explained via other variables than raw vo2max alone, because she is quite comparable to other top dogs in its terms, which was my point initially. The elites are on the same page when it comes to aerobic talent. For Björgen strength and speed probably play an important role and quite likely fatigue resistance too. On the other hand, xc skiing is an remains a predominantly aerobic sport. And in terms of measurable aerobic capacity, it is not very well founded to argue that there are handful of talented norwegians and the rest are simply inferior.

Would be really interesting to read such case studies about other top contenders.
 
Aug 6, 2015
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thanks god there is a superb JTB to challenge martin. Martin is shooting perfectly and he could be with more 100 points than everyone
 

Singer01

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Nov 18, 2013
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Anybody with knowledge of ski performances over recent years know if MF is performing as well as normal compared to everyone else but JTB, or has he come back to the pack a bit?
 
Using the Ukrainian federation's statistics which I believe are based on average timeloss to the fastest skier, I have tried to compare Martin to a few World Cup everpresents. This year they have Martin and Johannes as much of a muchness, which is surprising although in fairness Johannes skied within himself especially in the pursuit race at Annecy. Some of the fastest skiers thus far this season have included Jakov Fak whose last few years have been inconsistent, and Johannes Kühn who missed a whole year through injury and whose poor shooting makes him a peripheral name in the German team so it's hard to use him as a comparison point longitudinally as he's only tended to do short bursts of events rather than a whole season's worth. Otherwise, the Germans make a good comparison point as their mens' squad has been pretty stable for a number of years now.

This season:
Simon Schempp +0,8
Benedikt Doll +1,4
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +1,7
Erik Lesser +2,2
Arnd Peiffer +3,5
Anton Shipulin +4,4

2016-17:
Benedikt Doll +1,0
Johannes Thingnes Bø +1,4
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +1,6
Simon Schemp +2,0
Anton Shipulin +2,2
Arnd Peiffer +2,8
Erik Lesser +3,0

2015-16:
Simon Schempp +0,7
Benedikt Doll +1,2
Johannes Thingnes Bø +1,3
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +2,7
Anton Shipulin +2,8
Arnd Peiffer +3,9
Erik Lesser +3,9

2014-15:
Anton Shipulin -0,5
Johannes Thingnes Bø -0,4
Simon Schempp -0,3
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +0,2
Benedikt Doll +0,5
Arnd Peiffer +0,6
Erik Lesser +2,0

2014-15 was the year Martin was suffering from mono on the way into the season so it took him some time to get up to the level we know he is capable of. After that though, I think that Martin is more on form than I had originally thought from the stats; however, after last season when the superhuman Martin built up such a lead in the World Cup that others had resigned themselves to peaking for the World Championships by this point in the season, some major names have seen that and, with this being an Olympic season it is exacerbated, with the likes of Shipulin being far from the level he has been in previous seasons thus far. Lesser is definitely quicker this season as well, so it's hard to tell just yet how much Martin has been affected but Johannes' clear step forward of round about 1 - 1,5 on the scale is very immediately obvious.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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So both Kalla and Klaebo will skip the Tour de Ski, not a big surprise.
Both Marit and Stina will also miss the Tour.
No Krueger, that's a bit of a surprise, but i guess that he really wants a freestyle medal at the Olympics.

Norways team:
Niklas Dyrhaug, Hans Christer Holund, Emil Iversen, Finn Hågen Krogh, Sjur Røthe, Sindre Bjørnestad Skar, Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Didrik Tønseth.
Mari Eide, Maiken Caspersen Falla, Thea Krokan Murud, Ragnhild Haga, Kathrine Harsem, Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, Silje Øyre Slind, Heidi Weng, Tiril Udnæs Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg.

Sweden:
Herrar: Jens Burman, Gustav Eriksson, Calle Halfvarsson, Marcus Hellner, Emil Jönsson, Daniel Rickardsson, Oskar Svensson.
Damer: Anna Haag, Maria Nordström, Evelina Settlin, Linn Sömskar, Emma Wikén, Jennie Öberg

Norway still has a crazy strong team, I hope that Krogh will do well, he seems to be improving, and if Røthe's is able to get rid/deal with his back problems he could also be a strong contender.
Sundby, I don't know, he was bad in Davos (apparently sick before the race) and still not at his best in Toblach, the Tour could be pretty taxing for him, he could pay for it at the Olympics.

Ustigov and the other Russians are currently training for the Tour in Toblach.

I've also heard that the next Tour will start in Toblach.
 

Singer01

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Nov 18, 2013
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Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Using the Ukrainian federation's statistics which I believe are based on average timeloss to the fastest skier, I have tried to compare Martin to a few World Cup everpresents. This year they have Martin and Johannes as much of a muchness, which is surprising although in fairness Johannes skied within himself especially in the pursuit race at Annecy. Some of the fastest skiers thus far this season have included Jakov Fak whose last few years have been inconsistent, and Johannes Kühn who missed a whole year through injury and whose poor shooting makes him a peripheral name in the German team so it's hard to use him as a comparison point longitudinally as he's only tended to do short bursts of events rather than a whole season's worth. Otherwise, the Germans make a good comparison point as their mens' squad has been pretty stable for a number of years now.

This season:
Simon Schempp +0,8
Benedikt Doll +1,4
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +1,7
Erik Lesser +2,2
Arnd Peiffer +3,5
Anton Shipulin +4,4

2016-17:
Benedikt Doll +1,0
Johannes Thingnes Bø +1,4
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +1,6
Simon Schemp +2,0
Anton Shipulin +2,2
Arnd Peiffer +2,8
Erik Lesser +3,0

2015-16:
Simon Schempp +0,7
Benedikt Doll +1,2
Johannes Thingnes Bø +1,3
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +2,7
Anton Shipulin +2,8
Arnd Peiffer +3,9
Erik Lesser +3,9

2014-15:
Anton Shipulin -0,5
Johannes Thingnes Bø -0,4
Simon Schempp -0,3
Andrejs Rastorgujevs +0,2
Benedikt Doll +0,5
Arnd Peiffer +0,6
Erik Lesser +2,0

2014-15 was the year Martin was suffering from mono on the way into the season so it took him some time to get up to the level we know he is capable of. After that though, I think that Martin is more on form than I had originally thought from the stats; however, after last season when the superhuman Martin built up such a lead in the World Cup that others had resigned themselves to peaking for the World Championships by this point in the season, some major names have seen that and, with this being an Olympic season it is exacerbated, with the likes of Shipulin being far from the level he has been in previous seasons thus far. Lesser is definitely quicker this season as well, so it's hard to tell just yet how much Martin has been affected but Johannes' clear step forward of round about 1 - 1,5 on the scale is very immediately obvious.
Cheers, exactly what i was looking for but too lazy to go and find myself. Much appreciated.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Some of the fastest skiers thus far this season have included Jakov Fak whose last few years have been inconsistent
Incosistent is not really that accurate. He was ill last two seasons, missed almost complete last season.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i was impressed by the pellegrino's gentlemenship today.

after his impressive 2nd place in the tds sprint, he was close to a collapse for a long time unable to even do the podium rounds for the spectators. Still BEFORE HE collapsed he found the strength to warmly congratulate ustiugov on a dominating win !

sundby did not make the 30...the only norwegian in the finals - krogh - was quite dead. looks like the stage was set for another triumph bu usiugov. but it is very early still.

if the soft snow conditions today are taken into the consideration the fitness of the 82 kg serhey looks even more impressive. i also looked into something i very rarely done - the splits in the qualification times...ustiougov was almost 2 seconds behind after 1/2 of a 1.5 km course to win by over 1 second. means - his final acceleration is back to what we saw last year.

of the people who can easily beat ustiougov on alpe cermis by over 1 minute, i dont see anyone near him after the 1st day. even manificat was outside the 30...
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Cologna seems to be in great shape, I wouldn't underestimate him, and Krogh is getting better, if he's in striking distance on the final stage he could give Sergey some problems, he has been pretty good on that stage before and he's 9kg lighter than Sergey.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Mayomaniac said:
Cologna seems to be in great shape, I wouldn't underestimate him, and Krogh is getting better, if he's in striking distance on the final stage he could give Sergey some problems, he has been pretty good on that stage before and he's 9kg lighter than Sergey.
...8 or 10 kilos lighter and 10 centimetres smaller.
 

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