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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Sep 25, 2009
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in my opinion the sundby selection was predicated on the winning tactic that was pre selected based on the course specifics. that is, the course long ups and downs favored a breakaway on the penultimate lap and the norwegians bet on an athlete that could time trial fast enough to keep the gap that was assigned to klaebo to open. it was assumed that klaebo was safe on the last lap whatever the closeness of his rivals...
 
I haven't seen Diggins on slow skis since Sochi. Really, every time she skis by, her skis are flying. It was nerve wracking watching the last couple corners. The conditions were slick and icy and corners looked brutal, especially with tired legs, close quarter racing and poor lines taken by some. Nilsson could have fallen on any of the last couple corners, her legs looked absolutely spent, but probably, so did everyone's. This is the second sprint she's lost (can we call her battle with Bjoergen a sprint in the relay? I think we can). I think the tough, continuous pace is something that she'll need to improve on. She can control races from the front, but she'll have to get to the front to do that. Falla isn't the same Falla as she was the last 4-5 seasons. She didn't look convincing in the sprint, barely holding off Belorukova, and she got dropped by Nilsson and Diggins. That said, again, the last portion of the course, with the downhills and cornering, that's where she lost her momentum, plus Diggins wasn't going to let anyone get ahead of her in either the uphill or downhill. She wasn't going to lose this race, someone was going to have to win it. Now the doubters in America can finally shut up about 'it's been 42 years since Bill Koch won an Olympic medal in xc for the US...' I don't think any American will challenge in the 30km on Sunday, but this gold surely erases any disappointment Diggins and the team had of missing medals in the first few races.

The Men's race was Norway's to lose, like the women, but Klaebo attacked in the final hill of his penultimate leg and that was smart, because Sundby, I don't think, was going to ski away from anyone, even if he looked solid, plus Pellegrino wasn't in the vicinity and Halfvarsson doesn't quite have the finishing kick. Hellner skied really well, I think he should have tried something, because I actually thought he looked better than Sundby, but that's just my observation. Unless they surprise in the 50km on Saturday, the Swedish men will leave an Olympics without a xc medal for the first time since 2002. We all know what a horrible time they had at Soldier Hollow that year...There's going to be some sorting out to do in their team. Olsson retired last year. Rickardsson is 35, Hellner 32, Joensson (not in Korea is 32), Halfvarsson will spearhead the team, he should be close to his prime at 28/29, Burman 23, Svensson 22, Thorn 21...They do have some talent coming up, but it's never going to rival the numbers of the Norwegians or Russians. I don't see many Juniors or U23's (apart from those already mentioned) coming up to challenge Klaebo, Bolshunov, Spitsov, and the like. I am really interested to see what happens after this season. It's like a totally different situation for the Swedes now compared to Sochi, where they could barely put a wrong foot down. But that was their 'golden generation.'

Well, I said I'd be surprised if the Russians medaled, and they got a silver! Another stunning fight (and boy did Spitsov fight!!) by the two 21 year olds. Bolshunov actually looked the smoothest he has all year in skating. He is deceptive, because his technique is not that good, but he somehow is able to generate the glide and the power. To me he didn't react quickly enough when Klaebo attacked in the final climb of their penultimate leg. I mean he surely noticed him to his right. Don't know if he was not ready or surprised or didn't have it or thought he'd catch up to him or what, but from my point of view, he looked like he could have at least accelerated to keep Klaebo within reasonable reach for Spitsov to keep Sundby at bay. Spitsov's last hill was impressive. He isn't a sprinter, far from it, but he is a fighter and his tenacity and endurance improved as the race went on. Same thing in the 30km and 15km. The guy can ski with the same tempo the entire race. He's quite small but can generate enough power. I think the tough hills suited him. Be interesting what the Russians do should the 'old guard' of Legkov, Vylegzhanin, Petukhov decide to keep skiing. Plus Ustiugov, Retivykh, Gafarov, Bessmertnytkh, Volzhentsev, Japarov, etc returning. With Bolshunov, Spitsov, Chervotkin, and other U23's like Sobakarev, Yakimushkin, Kirilov (5th in the Planica 15km) coming up or already here...the fight for future spots on the team will be a intense.

Hats off to the French, gambled in the semi to ski off the front and deservedly made the final. Stuck to their task and earning themselves another bronze, beating Sweden, Italy, US, Canada in the process...Good choice by the team not to put two pure sprinters. Perhaps it was more clear than I think because Chanavat (who would be a good bet in skate sprints) isn't in form and Gros can't deal with tough courses and continuous high paced races. Wonder if an in-form Chanavat could have given them more than bronze, but that's pure speculation at this point. Well done to them, regardless.

Pellegrino must be very disappointed. He said they were preparing for this specific event. Noeckler has been resting specifically for today, and he just didn't have it. A silver in the classic sprint is nice for Pelle, but I am sure he's gutted with this race. Thought he could challenge on the final lap and catch the chasing pack, but Bolshunov was driving the pace quite high.
 
Re:

python said:
norwegian tactic was superior as were their muscles. no surprise at the russian silver but the swedish miss...

watch out for bolshunov at the 50k podium...

If Klaebo doesn't race (or if he races, but isn't in contention towards the end), and Bolshunov is with the leaders in the last couple K's, I think he can win, but I just can't see him winning a medal at this point in his career in this type of race. Poltoranin, Niskanen, Cologna, Harvey, Sundby, someone like Toenseth could surprise, likewise Rickardsson (though I doubt that at this point and given the waxing issues they had in the relay), and maybe someone like Larkov who can hang and has a very good sprint at the end of distance races (see TDS Val di Fiemme 15km this year). I wonder what the tactics will be in that race. Will the top men want to drive early? Also, what will the conditions be like? If it's a quick sand-like grind like Falun was, then expect anything, but if it's fast conditions, yes the group could still be big with the last 10-15km, but the favorites will try to do something, I believe. Everyone can sprint at the end of the distance races (except Niskanen and Sundby, who are likely the ones to drive the pace or attack early or earlier than expected). Harvey isn't as sharp as he was last year, but he's still dangerous and tactically he doesn't make too many mistakes. I can see up to 10 men or so with the chance of winning. VERY dark horses could be De Fabiani, Heikkinen, Gaillard. They also like to lead, so expect to see at least one of them at the front at any point. Should be a good race, no matter what.
 
Re:

python said:
in my opinion the sundby selection was predicated on the winning tactic that was pre selected based on the course specifics. that is, the course long ups and downs favored a breakaway on the penultimate lap and the norwegians bet on an athlete that could time trial fast enough to keep the gap that was assigned to klaebo to open. it was assumed that klaebo was safe on the last lap whatever the closeness of his rivals...

Sundby was, if I can use an American football analogy, a 'game manager.' Meaning he didn't have to do anything extraordinary, he was just supposed to manage his own race, not do something stupid, stay near the front and keep an eye on any possible attacks, and he did that. For Klaebo to lose a race, he'd have to fall or have to make up at least 5-6 seconds on the final lap, and that didn't need to happen.
 
I've said it before, but Ustiugov must be one angry man right now. Obviously he must be happy for his teammates as they keep racking up medals, but he must be foaming not to be in Korea right now. No doubt in my mind if he was there, and in good form, the Russians would have at least one gold right now, quite possibly more. The course and the conditions suits him to a tee and he is quite possibly the only one that could grind the sprint out of Klaebo, plus he can finish as well if not better than anyone. The Norwegian commentators have said, repeatedly, that he has the best speed in a long sprint and is the best at keeping the maximum speed for an extended period of time, whereas Klaebo has the best acceleration. Hopefully we see him in full tilt at the upcoming world cups and in future years. Be a damn shame if this atrocious IOC decision ruins his aspirations and actual results in the future. He'll be 29 in Beijing, so definitely still well within his prime, though it's going to be interesting to see how good his sprinting is then, plus you never know how many new Russians will be there to take his place or challenge him for wins!
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Nöckler is in rather poor shape, the coaches were thinking about using De Fabiani, but Pellegrino wanted too have his usual partner and De Fabiani has no experrience in the Team Sprint and they probably also wanted to give him some rest before the 50km.
In the end they did what they could and with Pellegrino fading a bit and Nöckler having poor for getting a 5th place is still a good result.
 
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portugal11 said:
Singer01 said:
portugal11 said:
Alexandre B. said:
Am I being too harsh calling Fourcade’s Olympics a failure, whatever happens in the mass start?
do you still think the same?
He should really have 5 golds to be fair.
c'mon... he is not a cyborg, he is just a human like other guys
He is a bit of a cyborg though, he would never normally miss 3 in the prone shoot in the sprint or last 2 shots in the individual.
Coming back from those 2 screw ups shows how ridiculously strong he is.
 
Re:

python said:
in my opinion the sundby selection was predicated on the winning tactic that was pre selected based on the course specifics. that is, the course long ups and downs favored a breakaway on the penultimate lap and the norwegians bet on an athlete that could time trial fast enough to keep the gap that was assigned to klaebo to open. it was assumed that klaebo was safe on the last lap whatever the closeness of his rivals...

Yes, that seems to be the case and these tactics worked out perfectly. But for Sundby or any other option the main task would have to be to deliver Klæbo at some striking distance and he would turn on his rocket for the win.

5o km will be an interesting one. Difficult to predict, but there are some hungry wolves in the pack who wants to make it a hard race. I'll be surprised if any of the young lads survive.
 
Germany obviously favourite today, but for the other podium places it really depends on the shooting. I know this may sound obvious but this week the shooting has been so erratic that whoever avoids a penalty loop today will medal. And all the top 7 starters can do that, so it's pretty open.
 
DenisMenchov said:
Tonton said:
I'm surprised that Klaebo so under performed...four years for a big revenge. He will kill it next time around. Will Fourcade still be there? I would like to see a split, and the new generation taking over. In the meantime, Martin, you're a legend.

I suppose you mean J. Boe?
Its must be nice to be one of those people who go home with at least a gold and a silver and have still had a *** games. And obviously have an excellent chance of a medal in the relay, where i'd rather see Boe go last than Svendsen, Fourcade only has one person in the whole field to worry about, he should be put under pressure.

The Germans have absolutely smashed the Nordic combined so far, mainly because the Norwegians have jumped ***, in the relay however they only have a 21 second defecit so they have a chance.

off topic slightly, are Biathletes or Nordic combined athletes better at XC?
 
Interesting question. The answer probably depends on the measuring rod too. In the following, modern xc is used as the rod.

In theory, my very quick & dirty take would be that biathletes have the upper hand because their required secondary skill set (shooting) does NOT contradict the properties required in modern xc (stamina, strength & especially muscle mass) as much as the one in nordic combined (ski jumping) does. I wager that this has been only strengthened with the evolution of xc towards a strength based orientation in the last 10yrs or so.

In terms of cases: In men biathletes, athletes like Björndalen, Fourcade, JTB etc would be candidates to be the top dog exhibits. Who would be their counterparts from nordic combined? Hannu Manninen comes to mind immediately, but who else (gotta admit I have not been following nordic combined very closely in recent years)? Anyway, Björndalen has won a FIS Xc WC event at least once and we all remember the infamous 30k from SLC.

YMMV and apply the appropriate "clinicness" as needed. :)
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Wierer has been suffering from insomnia, mainly because of the different time zone. She's taking sleeping pills, but still waking up five times per night, so she's not exactly at her best.