Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Re: Re:

zarnack said:
BullsFan22 said:
I blame skiers like Cologna, Harvey, Manificat, Musgrave, even the lackluster Swedes for not trying something. They didn't go with Holund and they didn't go with Bolshunov when he went. I don't know what they were expecting was going to happen. Did they think it was a 100km instead of 50? The pace was never super high. Nobody really decided to race today, except the two men up front.
But you have to consider these guys are not as good as Norwegians or Russians. I saw Burman at the front of the chasing group a few times. But you can't expect a guy like him to push for gold or catch anyone. Manificat actually ended up outside top 30, so totally out of form.

I blame the other Norwegians being lazy and not making a close race for gold. It was clear Bolshunov was the only non-Norwegian able to go for gold. The Norwegians shouldn't have been so reserved and went for their own individual golds as well. Like Holund, Krüger got his only chance in this event. Didn't he want to take this chance? Didn't Röthe/Sundby want to become real ski kings of Seefeld?

I realize that, but Cologna, for example, is capable of setting a tough pace for a long time. I am not suggesting that he should have skied at the front for 20km or something, while the groups sits behind him, but he could have skied for a few minutes, then gone to the side, and if nobody wanted to take the pace making, rest behind and try an acceleration later on. I don't know, Cologna has been around the world cup since he left the junior ranks after the 2005/06 season. He knows how to play these games. He may not be the skier he once was, but it's not like he is way past it. He had a fantastic season last year. Harvey and Musgrave wheelsuck much more, and Harvey probably thought others would drag him to the finish last two years ago and he'd just sprint the last few hundred meters. Surprised Halfvarsson was able to last in a 50km skate in those soft conditions.
 
Max Rockatansky said:
Why on earth did FIS put the next 50k race on the next weekend? It seems like an overload to me. And then it will be one year till the 50k comes back in the World Cup! Only Holmenkollen next year plus that 38k race from Storlien to Meraker. :(

Liked that race a lot. Very thrilling to see Bolshunov eating back those seconds.
Did FIS already confirmed next year's calendar?
I agree that two 50km in 7 days and none other during the World Cup season doesn't make sense. This year they should have put Falun before Oslo. Even more stupid is the fact that we don't have any 30km skithlon race during the season just a 30km individual in December. But FIS continues to think that skate sprint/15km weekends are what fans like and these long races are boring so I don't think this trend will change anytime soon.
 
Re: Re:

zarnack said:
BullsFan22 said:
I blame the other Norwegians being lazy and not making a close race for gold. It was clear Bolshunov was the only non-Norwegian able to go for gold. The Norwegians shouldn't have been so reserved and went for their own individual golds as well. Like Holund, Krüger got his only chance in this event. Didn't he want to take this chance? Didn't Röthe/Sundby want to become real ski kings of Seefeld?
Sundby, Kruger, Roethe had clear instructions not to pull any "foreigners" up to Holund. It had to be the Russians, the Swedes, The French or Harvey, Musgrave who had to do the work. The problem is that no nation, besides from Norway, is strong enough. Easy win and if Holund failed, then Sundby or Kruger would have fired the next shots.
 
Re: Re:

Norbea said:
zarnack said:
BullsFan22 said:
I blame the other Norwegians being lazy and not making a close race for gold. It was clear Bolshunov was the only non-Norwegian able to go for gold. The Norwegians shouldn't have been so reserved and went for their own individual golds as well. Like Holund, Krüger got his only chance in this event. Didn't he want to take this chance? Didn't Röthe/Sundby want to become real ski kings of Seefeld?
Sundby, Kruger, Roethe had clear instructions not to pull any "foreigners" up to Holund. It had to be the Russians, the Swedes, The French or Harvey, Musgrave who had to do the work. The problem is that no nation, besides from Norway, is strong enough. Easy win and if Holund failed, then Sundby or Kruger would have fired the next shots.
The French team does't have the reserves that the Norwegians do, plus with Manificat and Gaillard sick they were short of manpower. Duvillard was called up and was valliant but doesn't have the racing form at this level this year to be of much help. Parisse and Bachscheider did what they could, but aren't machines like Bolshunov to be able to turn in outstanding performances race after race (after race after race...), after their excellent results in the skiathlon and relay they looked out of juice.
 
Re: Re:

frenchfry said:
Norbea said:
zarnack said:
BullsFan22 said:
I blame the other Norwegians being lazy and not making a close race for gold. It was clear Bolshunov was the only non-Norwegian able to go for gold. The Norwegians shouldn't have been so reserved and went for their own individual golds as well. Like Holund, Krüger got his only chance in this event. Didn't he want to take this chance? Didn't Röthe/Sundby want to become real ski kings of Seefeld?
Sundby, Kruger, Roethe had clear instructions not to pull any "foreigners" up to Holund. It had to be the Russians, the Swedes, The French or Harvey, Musgrave who had to do the work. The problem is that no nation, besides from Norway, is strong enough. Easy win and if Holund failed, then Sundby or Kruger would have fired the next shots.
The French team does't have the reserves that the Norwegians do, plus with Manificat and Gaillard sick they were short of manpower. Duvillard was called up and was valliant but doesn't have the racing form at this level this year to be of much help. Parisse and Bachscheider did what they could, but aren't machines like Bolshunov to be able to turn in outstanding performances race after race (after race after race...), after their excellent results in the skiathlon and relay they looked out of juice.
Good point about the French. They are as strong as they've ever been, maybe the strongest men's team they ever had. Actually it gets better for them in terms of depth, because looking at the Alpen (OPA) cup races, they dominated the most recent races in Switzerland. They've tried the Holund tactic before as well. Back in Holmenkollen 2010, Vittoz and Manificat pushed the pace and there were only a few men left, including Northug. Manificat paid the price and bonked in the last 5-10 km. Vittoz got third, if I remember. Piller Cottrer stayed with Northug but obviously couldn't match him in the last sprint.

To the race itself, yeah, maybe they relaxed too much after the relay, and perhaps celebrated too much or simply ran out of juice, as you said, but still, someone surely had petrol to help with the pacemaking. For the Russians, as I mentioned the only guy able to stay with the front in the latter stages of the race, besides Bolshunov, was Melnichenko, and he wasn't in form that he showed earlier in the season, plus he was at the front one too many times, even if the pace was slow.

My take is that the warm weather and the wet, deep, energy sapping snow took a toll on the entire field. You don't usually race in those conditions in nearly every race. The sprint/team sprint races were the ones that had the fastest conditions, from my point of view. All the distance races, including the relay, were in soft, at times slushy conditions.

Specifically on Bolshunov, he seemed very relaxed out there. Perhaps too relaxed. His technique still isn't super good, but he seems to have tightened things up and is more smooth, which helped in the slush. I honestly thought, no matter the results from the other races, he was going to skip today and focus on the 50km next week in Oslo, which will be classic. I didn't see him figuring in today's race. Be interesting to see how he does in the last races of the season. He has hopes of winning the overall, but with three more sprints, Klaebo surely is the favorite. He'll need to win in Oslo, but with so many races in his legs, plus a bunch of motivated Norwegians, who will no doubt try to make it tactical, it'll be hard. He has 120 points over Sundby in the distance world cup, so if he stays solid he should win that, but yeah, if I were him and his coach I'd say to not do so many races. He needs to focus more on the races he can be more a factor in and pick and choose. That said, when you can win medals in classic sprints and 50km skate races and skiathlon's, it's hard to know when to sit out and when to actually go for it.
 
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So in the future you know it's basically a game between Norwegians, which one of them can escape from the group quickly, efficiently, and smartly. His team-mates would simply hold back to support him and no-one else has enough manpower. If someone else escaped from group, you know it's game on for the rest of the race. But if a Norwegian escapes - confirmed, he is the winner.

Personally if there is not enough international competition, I'd like to see at least the Norwegians battle it out against each other properly. If even they are not doing it, then well, what hope do we have?

At least in classic races Niskanen is strong enough not to let these things happen and most likely it would be him pushing the group apart and then Norwegians couldn't sit around and would have to do something.
 
So re-watching this: Holund begins his move at race time 48min sharp. A bit before the 21,6k split. You can tell the pace is not high. He does not attack, just goes a bit faster than the bunch or is let go. Would be no effort at all to shut it down but they do not.

At 22,2k he has 13sec on the peloton led by Velichko. There was a downhill in the 600m stretch that took roughly 1:40.

The pace stays medium-hard, lot of downhill coming to the stadium plus the sprint hill. At 24,9k Holund has 23sec.

Then they climb out of the stadium and at 26k he has 43sec. The russians lead on the climb and they are not going hard. At all. Holund goes semi hard.

No ski change for Holund. But not for the bunch either. At 30k or so he has a minute.

It was a tactical mistake, not Holund being super up until this point. Of course the norwegians do not work. Russians or whomever should simply have closed it down immediately. Ok, they close it, and maybe Sundby goes next? So close it and make them actually attack. Bolshunov was strong. But as Bulls said, the russians were disorganized to put it mildly.

All said, the Norwegians played it really well and Holund totally deserved this. But the others were napping at the wheel.
 
Re:

meat puppet said:
So re-watching this: Holund begins his move at race time 48min sharp. A bit before the 21,6k split. You can tell the pace is not high. He does not attack, just goes a bit faster than the bunch or is let go. Would be no effort at all to shut it down but they do not.

At 22,2k he has 13sec on the peloton led by Velichko. There was a downhill in the 600m stretch that took roughly 1:40.

The pace stays medium-hard, lot of downhill coming to the stadium plus the sprint hill. At 24,9k Holund has 23sec.

Then they climb out of the stadium and at 26k he has 43sec. The russians lead on the climb and they are not going hard. At all. Holund goes semi hard.

No ski change for Holund. But not for the bunch either. At 30k or so he has a minute.

It was a tactical mistake, not Holund being super up until this point. Russians or whomever should simply have closed it down immediately. Of course the norwegians do not work. Ok, they close it, and maybe Sundby goes next? So close it and make them actually attack. Bolshunov was strong. But as Bulls said, the russians were disorganized to put it mildly.

All said, the Norwegians played it really well and Holund totally deserved this. But the others were napping at the wheel.
Yep. I agree. Holund deserved this, and anyone else who pulled this off would have deserved this as well. Too many people sleeping at the wheel. The Norwegians never pull when one of their own is in a break or going solo. They only attacked on the final hill because they wanted to distance themselves from finishers like Harvey, Cologna, Halfvarsson and when Holund was already in the last couple hundred meters and confirmed winner. The Russians ski for themselves and the other teams aren't strong enough. You see this in a typical bike race.

The Russians need to stop being so stubborn and work on tactics while everyone else just needs to hope they get more stronger skiers on their teams. Or individuals like Cologna, Harvey, Musgrave, Halfvarsson need to get together before these mass start races and make a deal to work together. That's not going to ever happen but it would be fun if it did.

Another 50km next week. Let's just hope it's not 15 degrees.
 
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The only explanation I can find (why no-one reacted and went with Holund) is that due to the distance being as long as 50 km, skiers were afraid of exhausting themselves. Actually you see it in 50 km races fairly often that skiers prefer to race within themselves for a long time not to risk collapsing in the late stages of the race. Interestingly enough in 30 km skiathlon you see break-away attempts more often, because the distance is shorter and skiers are not so wary of pacing themselves.

Of course retrospectively - they should have gone with Holund. But... but... but... they were too afraid. It was just 20 km, and still more than half left. Skiers didn't have enough trust in themselves?
 
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BullsFan22 said:
Bolshunov, clearly the strongest and most universal skier in the world right now. Unfortunately he lost another race tactically. The silver lining is that he’s barely 22, so if he stays healthy and motivated, he’ll win many golds in the future.
Dählie was about 24 when he really started dominating, wasn't he?

On the other hand, there's some discussion in Finland about the recent advances in skiing technique. Maybe it's another bad take from me, but I think this kind of a shift would help youngsters break through at world level a few years earlier - it will take the old guard a bit longer to adapt to changes. So the typical improvements from 22-25 may not be as big as "usual" with this generation, and Bolshunov may never be more physically dominating than he currently is.
 
Re:

zarnack said:
The only explanation I can find (why no-one reacted and went with Holund) is that due to the distance being as long as 50 km, skiers were afraid of exhausting themselves. Actually you see it in 50 km races fairly often that skiers prefer to race within themselves for a long time not to risk collapsing in the late stages of the race. Interestingly enough in 30 km skiathlon you see break-away attempts more often, because the distance is shorter and skiers are not so wary of pacing themselves.

Of course retrospectively - they should have gone with Holund. But... but... but... they were too afraid. It was just 20 km, and still more than half left. Skiers didn't have enough trust in themselves?
True. Any skier respects the distance. 50km is hard and it slowly grinds you down. Sundby was surprised why no-one managed to take any initiative and organize a chase down of Holund. Roethe said that the conditions were slow and hard and anyone attempting something like Holund was taking a big risk of a collapse. Anyhow they should all know that if there is one person in that field who can hold a steady pace for a long time - it is Holund. He just can't sprint, so this was the only way he could win. Kudos for pulling it off.
 
Re: Re:

Norbea said:
zarnack said:
The only explanation I can find (why no-one reacted and went with Holund) is that due to the distance being as long as 50 km, skiers were afraid of exhausting themselves. Actually you see it in 50 km races fairly often that skiers prefer to race within themselves for a long time not to risk collapsing in the late stages of the race. Interestingly enough in 30 km skiathlon you see break-away attempts more often, because the distance is shorter and skiers are not so wary of pacing themselves.

Of course retrospectively - they should have gone with Holund. But... but... but... they were too afraid. It was just 20 km, and still more than half left. Skiers didn't have enough trust in themselves?
True. Any skier respects the distance. 50km is hard and it slowly grinds you down. Sundby was surprised why no-one managed to take any initiative and organize a chase down of Holund. Roethe said that the conditions were slow and hard and anyone attempting something like Holund was taking a big risk of a collapse. Anyhow they should all know that if there is one person in that field who can hold a steady pace for a long time - it is Holund. He just can't sprint, so this was the only way he could win. Kudos for pulling it off.
Yes indeed, I think this is a key explainer of the hesitation.

But is it tactically sound? That depends. If you are already cooked or scared you will be in a moment at 20ks, then it is pretty much a given you will not win or podium anyway. Why not take one for the team then?

Long range attacks happen and succeed. This is excellent. So I think one would do well to ask whether it is easier to shut someone down immediately, especially when they do not even attack; or try do it when they have gotten a proper gap. Comes a time the chasers need to be faster or the escapee wins. The longer they wait the harder it gets, though in cycling the higher speeds make reality even harsher: https://cyclingtips.com/2018/03/peloton-phd-physics-behind-valgrens-solo-escape-omloop-het-nieuwsblad/

Also I am still of the opinion that the others failed tactically. So hesitation is not the only explanation. :)
 
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By the way, one more thing I would mention is that Norway won all XC individual golds in Seefeld. Which means - they can field 5 athletes at all individual XC events in Oberstdorf! I assume all current champions would be present there too, with perhaps the only questionmark being Sundby.

All this means that theoretically Norway has a good chance to succeed in Oberstdorf 2021 too, because your chances are higher with 5 athletes instead of 4.
 
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Singer01

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M Sindo said:
Hello guys,

some of you are already there, but if someone else is interested, Totallympics organizes a Prediction Contest for the upcoming Biathlon World Championships (as well as for other sport events throughout the year, if you also follow other sports).

for those interested to participate, you can sign up and take part in the contest here: https://totallympics.com/index.php?/topic/1587-prediction-contest-biathlon-ibu-world-championships-2019/


See you around! :)

I always do *** at these things. Also is anyone not predicting JTB for everything (Except maybe the individual?).
The women's is far to difficult to predict. Genuinely have no clue who's going to win anything.
 
alternator said:
BullsFan22 said:
Bolshunov, clearly the strongest and most universal skier in the world right now. Unfortunately he lost another race tactically. The silver lining is that he’s barely 22, so if he stays healthy and motivated, he’ll win many golds in the future.
Dählie was about 24 when he really started dominating, wasn't he?

On the other hand, there's some discussion in Finland about the recent advances in skiing technique. Maybe it's another bad take from me, but I think this kind of a shift would help youngsters break through at world level a few years earlier - it will take the old guard a bit longer to adapt to changes. So the typical improvements from 22-25 may not be as big as "usual" with this generation, and Bolshunov may never be more physically dominating than he currently is.
I have seen too many young russian talents in cycling, who were destroying the world until they were 25. They all had in common, that they trained way too hard at young age. I heard about his coach, that he is an old-school coach like Alexandre Kuznetsov, the man behind Berzin and many others.

Time will tell. :)
 
Well, Olga Podchufarova just retired at 26 due to burnout. They seem to only have two methods. Let them "marinate" on the domestic calendar until they're 25-26, make them jump through hoop upon hoop of domestic competitions to get international selection and then they're all stuck at the Continental Cup level because they don't have much room for improvement at that stage, or if they're good young, put them in every race every week and run them into the ground leading to them retiring or being a shell of their former selves by the time they're 27-28.
 
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Yeah, you never know with Russians. They can come out of nowhere and disappear all of a sudden as well. I remember Mikhail Ivanov won Olympic gold in 2002, then disappeared. Not much different with Dementiev in 2006. Also with Russians there is always the danger that they could get caught by WADA.

I hope this young bunch of Russian athletes remain in the mix, because Norwegians need rivals and without Russians who would be there? But I have no confidence in telling, how it's going to pan out long-term. I guess other countries take better care of their talents and don't let them go waste so easily. Russia is a huge country with lots of talent and good winters, but they have trouble maximizing their potential to put it this way.
 
Re:

zarnack said:
Yeah, you never know with Russians. They can come out of nowhere and disappear all of a sudden as well. I remember Mikhail Ivanov won Olympic gold in 2002, then disappeared. Not much different with Dementiev in 2006. Also with Russians there is always the danger that they could get caught by WADA.

I hope this young bunch of Russian athletes remain in the mix, because Norwegians need rivals and without Russians who would be there? But I have no confidence in telling, how it's going to pan out long-term. I guess other countries take better care of their talents and don't let them go waste so easily. Russia is a huge country with lots of talent and good winters, but they have trouble maximizing their potential to put it this way.
Dementiev is still active btw, I saw his name appear a while ago in some Russian competition.
 
Ivanov raced beyond 2002, until he was almost 30, but yeah, not much to speak of after the 2002 season. He made the Russian team in the world's 2003 and 2005, but not the Olympics in 2006.

Dementiev was suspended for two years after a positive in 2009. Came back in the 2011/2012 season and actually did well in the races he took part in. He raced WC's sparingly after that. His last WC's were in La Clusaz, two seasons ago, where he was in the top 30.

Rotchev is another guy that kind of peaked in his mid 20's. The last time he had significant results was at the age of 29.

Recently the Russians have had ok success with skiers lasting for a bit longer.

But yeah, I get the concerns for Bolshunov. I don't understand the gains from racing a guy in his early 20's so many races. If he wants to win the wc so badly, he could have waited for next season when there will be no major championships. That said, potential wc winners will also be looking at next season, so it won't be easy. Interestingly, he was supposed to sit out the 50km, but Chervotkin apparently got sick and he decided to take Chervotkin's place.
 
I agree that Bolshunov is overracing. Among all the races this season he just skip Davos 15km and the sprint weekends of Dresden and Lahti. Although I still think that he will win the World Cup, if he keeps his current shape (by a slim margin though), he can pay for these efforts later in his career. Next season can actually be a very good opportunity for him to win the overall globe since the Tour of Scandinavia seems to have an almost perfect course for him and he can still gain important points on people like Sundby, Cologna or Roethe in the sprints while winning a lot on Klaebo in the distance races.
 

Singer01

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Mixed relay today, can anybody not see it being Norway, Germany or France for the win?
I suppose Italy could be in a good position after the first 2 legs and Windisch and Hofer aren't a bad last 2. If the Austrian women have the day of their lives their men could also bring it home. And obviously Sweden are not impossible winners. Actually now I come to think of it, the relay is wide open and I don't know who the **** will win. And that's why biathlon is better than XC.

Just read that Fourcade has been sick during his sabatical. Anybody know how big an issue it was? i was hoping by him not travelling to North America he would be able to compete on an even footing with JTB.
 
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Mixed relay often springs a surprise, because several countries can find two good women and men. And in relays in general there are 5-6 countries, who can win on a good day. Norway, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Russia.
 
I feel that it will be between Germany and France. Norway has the strongest team regarding skiing but Eckhoff will probably go into the penalty loop, perhaps more than once. Italy might be a good pick for third if Windisch and Hofer have a good day in the range.
 

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