Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Mayomaniac said:
Manificat surprised me, first race of the season and already on track, the whole French team was great, but still.
I get the feeling that they'll have to distance Spitsov before the final stage of the Tour de Ski, otherwise he'll probably wreck everyone on the Alpe Cermis,
Another strong skating performance by De Fabiani, that was a bit unexpected.
Speaking of the Tour de Ski, I fear that Sundby will be the big favourite, Ustiugov is coming back from his injury and Dario is slowly building his form towards the WC. Maybe Røthe and Holund will give him a good fight, I still have my doubts about mini-Peter Klaebo performing on the Alpe Cermis (if he even starting?), but who knows? The final climb also doesn't suit Bolshunov, maybe Spitsov and Manificat will be able to challenge Sundby?
No idea about Belov and I probably also forgot a few other guys who have a chance to finish on or near the podium.
Not too surprising to see the Alps nations doing well at Davos. The French have always skied well in Davos. Not just one or two guys, but the whole team usually shows up and skis into the points. You are right about Manificat though. The news I was reading last month was that he wasn't in shape, which is why he would miss the first three weekends, is that correct? Usually it takes a few races to get going, but my goodness he skied as though he'd been racing for a month already!

Not sure what to make of the TDS, honestly. Who will go is the first question. I hear Bolshunov has been battling a cold the last couple days, hence the DNS today. If I were him and his coaches I'd skip the TDS if he can't beat the cold soon. Even if he can and is 100% for the TDS, I'd still wonder about not racing him. He's raced every single weekend and picked up points in every race. That takes a toll, even for the very top of the WC. There are basically two weeks off before the TDS, so maybe that's enough to recharge and go again. For a guy that will only turn 22 on new year's eve, I'd be careful of not over racing him. Maybe next year when there's no major championship, but I'd rather him get one or two golds in Seefeld than jeopardizing his whole season (or beyond) by going full gas for the TDS and to try and win the WC. That's just my take. Kalla won her TDS at the age of 20 and it drained the rest of the year out of her and the following season she wasn't the same.

Spitsov, you are right, he could be a player. Last year he finished 13th at the tour and had the 3rd fastest time in the final stage. He should be better than that this season. This year, as last, there are more skate races, but two sprints. He will likely lose chunks of time there. That said, it depends on how many skiers go. Usually the distance skiers get some revenge during the tours as the sprinters weaken. The two classic races are mass starts, so that suits him better.

De Fabiani skied a very quiet but very good race today. I think he could do well in the tour. Perhaps a chance for him and Pellegrino in the team sprint in Seefeld as well?

Cologna disappointed me today. Thought he could fight for the win. Started well, skied with Melnichenko for a couple K's (Melnichenko was a lap ahead) and then he passed the Russian and I thought he would keep getting better, but it went the other way. He finished in 15th.

But the times were so close today, that nobody should be too upset. On altitude and on a tough course, that sort of close racing is a bit of a surprise.

Let's see the rosters for the TDS! Always interesting to see who will prioritize and who hits top form at what time of the season. Also hope that the weather is consistent and the conditions are much better than they were last season, especially in Oberstdorf, where the sprint was cancelled and the skate mass start was a roller derby.
 
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the norway tds team was just published. a surprise is that johaug is not going. VG writes it was a decision to keep her keen for the worlds. though the swedes have not published their team, a swedish forum reports that kalla and ebba are ALSO passing the tour. I really hope it means parmakoski will have the best chance.

among men, sundby, iversen, roethe are all there as well as --though i expected him to sit out-- klaebo. i dont see him being the best norge in the tour even it is a sure bet he will sweep the sprints. iversen vs bolshu is more likely. and of course cologna. ustiugov, even if entered, is a dark horse. given lots of skating and roethe's form, he will also be a major contender.

the russians did not announce their team. bolshu is almost certain to enter as would be spitsov. if one recalls how ustiougov peaked twice in 2017 to win the tour and to deliver miracles at the worlds, he might be attempting the same again.
 

Singer01

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Re:

python said:
the norway tds team was just published. a surprise is that johaug is not going. quote]
Losing 2 years in a row really reduces her chances of taking the overall wins and individual stage records. Is Weng going? She needs to ski herself into shape.
 
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Singer01 said:
python said:
the norway tds team was just published. a surprise is that johaug is not going. quote]
Losing 2 years in a row really reduces her chances of taking the overall wins and individual stage records. Is Weng going? She needs to ski herself into shape.
you have to be more specific now-days which weng :) all 3 are going.
 
VERY surprised that Johaug decided against the Tour this year. Perhaps with two sprints she thought she would lose too much time? I can't believe she thinks her form will suffer at world's if she takes part in the tour.

Anyway, that obviously opens things up. Oestberg is now the logical next favorite. I know that she can't climb as well as Weng, but Weng hasn't skied that well in any race so far.

After that there is Parmakoski. Then there are Stadlober, Nepryaeva, Diggins, Bjornsen...Will Nisson go?

It'll be interesting to see how many choose to skip the final climb. That's a lot of points to miss if you are in the top 10. Those that want to look towards the overall world cup title will probably do the entire tour. 400 points to the winner, plus the placings from all the stages, 50 points for each stage win (including the final climb).

The men's race figures to be a very good one. The competition is always deeper in the men's division, but this year could be one of the more competitive ones. The Norwegians will bring virtually their to skiers. Brandsdal is the only non distance/non all rounder. Nyenget is the leader of the Scandinavian cup so he gets a slot.

The Russians have yet to name their team, but I think they'll bring their top skiers as well. Ustiugov will likely go, he needs the races to get himself into the season. Bolshunov, if he's healthy will go and he plans to fight for the overall WC. After that it's unclear. Spitsov mabe, Belov maybe...Melnichenko? Vylegzhanin? Larkov? Sprinters like Retivykh?

The Swedes don't have the depth and apart from a couple results from Halfvarsson, top 20 or two from Burman and Thorn, they have nothing to shout about. Don't expect an overall podium from a Swede. Halfvarsson finished on the podium in 2015 and won his first WC race in the 2014 tour, plus other individual stages, so if he's in shape he can snag a podium here or there, but an overall is beyond him.

The Finns have Niskanen and a very unpredictable and 'old' Heikkinen. I honestly don't think Niskanen should go. Only one classic race, and he has to wait the penultimate stage for that. Doesn't make sense, unless he feels his skating has improved enough to figure in a stage or two. The skate sprints don't help him at all.

Pellegrino will fight for the sprints. De Fabiani in the distance races and he can surprise sometimes in the sprints by getting a top 20 or better.

The French men will like the tour. Skate races galore and apart from Oberstdorf (around 800 meters) everything is at altitude. They should do well.
 
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De Fabiani dislikes Alpe Cermis, but he'll still race the rest of the Tour and I guess that he'll finish the race if he's inside the top 10.
 

Singer01

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It's going to take some performance for Fourcade to come back from that. Nice to see some new names up there, and someone skiing within 20 seconds of JTB (its not good when someone knows they can miss a target and still definitely win, I know Berger could but he never hit anything, so it wasn't so much of a problem).
 

Singer01

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Is this the start of the inevitable, it happens to everyone, decline for Fourcade? If he was just getting beat by Boe I'd say no, but he is 5th overall after a decent part of the season.
 
Why on earth would they put such an Ultra short sprint into the TDS. This is already quite ridiclous. :rolleyes:
Not many surprises among the men in the qualification. Ustiogov won't contending, that's the one Thing we learned so far.
Pretty interesting results among the girls. The Norwegians must have had astrocious skies.
 
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Bavarianrider said:
Ustiogov won't contending, that's the one Thing we learned so far.
Pretty interesting results among the girls. The Norwegians must have had astrocious skies.
when ustiougov and sundby finish neck in neck a short sprint....we know who is wanting. as i felt all along it is iversen and bolshunov who will contend to the end. yep, the norge girls dont seem to fire on all cylinders with oestberg and falla not even in the top 10 so far. the ladies final is likely to go to stina and the men look like klaebo and pelle with perhaps a frenchman to add.

i am rooting for parma to win overall but she did not prologue all that strong...heidi did not even qualify :surprised:
 
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python said:
Bavarianrider said:
Ustiogov won't contending, that's the one Thing we learned so far.
Pretty interesting results among the girls. The Norwegians must have had astrocious skies.
when ustiougov and sundby finish neck in neck a short sprint....we know who is wanting. as i felt all along it is iversen and bolshunov who will contend to the end. yep, the norge girls dont seem to fire on all cylinders with oestberg and falla not even in the top 10 so far. the ladies final is likely to go to stina and the men look like klaebo and pelle with perhaps a frenchman to add.

i am rooting for parma to win overall but she did not prologue all that strong...heidi did not even qualify :surprised:
dont see sundby in the preliminary qual list :confused: he was right next to serhey in 25th, 26th or so...my be i need to wash my morning eyes again....
 
Sep 25, 2009
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not all that huge, but certainly a surprise to see oestberg beaten by nepryaeva...it raises some interesting questions about how she would perform against johaug today ? nepryevava had some impressive performances as a junior/u23 and now at the wc level, but NEVER this good...

i found it interesting to observe the winner's skating style - clearly leaning on power and strength vs the fast cadence bunnies like therese, heidi and diggins. she is also taller than those girls and her thighs are visibly thicker. to do this well in the distance having her comparatively higher weight speaks of high aerobic potential, perhaps the vo2 max of 70+. which is the elite level for xc skiing women. if she climbs alpe cermis well, it will confirm my hunch.

we'll see. i am happy for parma and sedova. the latter should start her 10k races 5 km from the start. she'd be a winner for sure. overall, it is rare when the ladies race delivers so much to enjoy and think about.

the guys will start in a half hour. my bet would be krueger or roethe with cologna or one of the russians interjecting. sundby isn't my bet, nor, i am afraid, is ustiougov (yet). calle will be the only swede with the chance in the top 10. klaebo ? top 10, may be top 5, which would be excellent, but no podium imo...
----
why i didn't mention manifica ? i simply forgot... :)
 
It was hard to know what was most amusing following the women's race on Eurosport; the commentators desperately cheerleading Jessica Diggins and going on at length about how we're finally seeing "the real Jess Diggins" when her time looked good, then bewailing her lack of form as soon as it became clear Østberg was quicker than here; or the party line that the Norwegians wouldn't have considered Nepryaeva because she was starting so late on, the implication being that obviously had the Norwegians considered Nepryaeva in their race plans, they'd have won, which is both disrespectful to Nepryaeva and to the Norwegian team's pre-race preparation skills.
 
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...i got some things right and some wrong. certainly wrong about mr. U :)

he was angry, mad likely possessed to prove himself. klaebo did well but is now trailing. the next stage is a sprint and he may squeeze by again, but the classic stages - as he told himself to VG - will see him going backwards. bolshu was slowing down, but got his premium 5 seconds...ustiougov's finish was furious. i was following the krueger/ustiougov gap on the fis app and after shrinking for the best part of the 3d lap, it suddenly went from 4 to 12 sec at the finish.
melni finished even stronger if my perception of the gaps was right.

manificat disappointed, dario isn't in the same form as last year and i was REALLY disappointed with iversen. sundby is
on his way to - i hope - announce a retirement (my speculation). his body seems tired from years of racing and worn out by the multiple health problems he himself made public (lungs/asthma, immunity, digestive tract, heart/ arrhythmia) and the numerous medications that aare required daily to keep up the aging body in shape.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
It was hard to know what was most amusing following the women's race on Eurosport; the commentators desperately cheerleading Jessica Diggins and going on at length about how we're finally seeing "the real Jess Diggins" when her time looked good, then bewailing her lack of form as soon as it became clear Østberg was quicker than here; or the party line that the Norwegians wouldn't have considered Nepryaeva because she was starting so late on, the implication being that obviously had the Norwegians considered Nepryaeva in their race plans, they'd have won, which is both disrespectful to Nepryaeva and to the Norwegian team's pre-race preparation skills.

Which Eurosport? British?
 
Bavarianrider said:
In case you aren't aware of this. Tomorrow's sprint includes ski cross elements like jumps and rollers. :rolleyes:
The course is, surely, the exact same as it has been in the past. There are some short rollers before the final bend into the finish straight, but they shouldn't be anything more than just slight speed checks/bumps. The initial drop before the skiers turn right and into the rollers could be challenging, especially if the conditions are tough and the heats tight.

If it's more extreme and if the organizers really try to make it all about cross elements and jumps, then it's disrespecting the athletes. Nobody wants to race rollerderbies. Sprints are already nervewracking as is, why try to appeal in a ridiculous way?

Taking it further, I think this year's tour has the worst format out of all the tours so far. It's literally four 15km races and two skate sprints + the final climb, which will always be skate (well, freestyle, but who will ever choose classic ski in a freestyle race?). No prologue, no classic sprints, no cortina to toblach 30-35 km handicap race, non individual classic race, no 10km distance for men (5 for women)...the only thing still in there is the final climb. Really poor by Mignerey and FIS.

They are desperately trying to bring in new audiences while keeping the traditional nations interested. I am not sure that it's working. Part of that is Kowalczyk isn't racing, the Germans haven't been that good, a lot of the alps nations are tuned in to biathlon and alpine, the Russians are also very much into Biathlon, hockey, etc. They are showing the tour only on Eurosport (which not everyone has). XC skiing has never been that popular in North America, and no need to bring up other parts of the world.
 
BullsFan22 said:
Bavarianrider said:
In case you aren't aware of this. Tomorrow's sprint includes ski cross elements like jumps and rollers. :rolleyes:
The course is, surely, the exact same as it has been in the past. There are some short rollers before the final bend into the finish straight, but they shouldn't be anything more than just slight speed checks/bumps. The initial drop before the skiers turn right and into the rollers could be challenging, especially if the conditions are tough and the heats tight.

If it's more extreme and if the organizers really try to make it all about cross elements and jumps, then it's disrespecting the athletes. Nobody wants to race rollerderbies. Sprints are already nervewracking as is, why try to appeal in a ridiculous way?

Taking it further, I think this year's tour has the worst format out of all the tours so far. It's literally four 15km races and two skate sprints + the final climb, which will always be skate (well, freestyle, but who will ever choose classic ski in a freestyle race?). No prologue, no classic sprints, no cortina to toblach 30-35 km handicap race, non individual classic race, no 10km distance for men (5 for women)...the only thing still in there is the final climb. Really poor by Mignerey and FIS.

They are desperately trying to bring in new audiences while keeping the traditional nations interested. I am not sure that it's working. Part of that is Kowalczyk isn't racing, the Germans haven't been that good, a lot of the alps nations are tuned in to biathlon and alpine, the Russians are also very much into Biathlon, hockey, etc. They are showing the tour only on Eurosport (which not everyone has). XC skiing has never been that popular in North America, and no need to bring up other parts of the world.
According to this article those obstacles indeed seem to be more relevant than you expect them to be.
https://www.nzz.ch/sport/tour-de-ski-die-langlaeufer-sollen-ueber-eine-schanze-springen-ld.1448410

Your assessment of the Tour is 100% true, though. I think they should simply go back to the race mix they had in the early to mid 2000s- Back then you had Sprints , short individual starts, long individual starts, mass starts and skiathlons in the World Cup. That was a very healthy mix and compromise between "old School" and "new school".
 

Singer01

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BullsFan22 said:
Bavarianrider said:
In case you aren't aware of this. Tomorrow's sprint includes ski cross elements like jumps and rollers. :rolleyes:


Taking it further, I think this year's tour has the worst format out of all the tours so far. It's literally four 15km races and two skate sprints + the final climb, which will always be skate (well, freestyle, but who will ever choose classic ski in a freestyle race?). .
The final stage could be a skiathlon with a 10km classic leg to the bottom of the climb then a change of skis.
 

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