Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Looks like the fastest three men in Östersund this week were Emil Hegle Svendsen, Martin Fourcade and Lars Berger, which is not surprising. Svendsen had a much better range time than Fourcade (by 4 seconds) but a lower accuracy, which enabled Martin to make up the differences. After Berger, the next fastest was Shipulin, which bodes well for the Russian's season.

The statistics also bear out that shooting is more important in the women's competition than the men's (perhaps unsurprisingly, with longer time taken to complete the penalty loop and shorter skiing laps), as despite winning all three races at the weekend Tora Berger is not one of the fastest 3 women - in fact, the only one that picked up major results at the weekend at all is Darya Domracheva, who was the third fastest (!). However, we can probably anticipate Dasha has something left in the tank as form increases. The fastest were Kaisa Mäkäräinen and Miriam Gößner, but both were let down by far too much inaccurate shooting. This is perhaps not surprising for the latter, but Mäkäräinen must surely be able to improve significantly in this area. The next quickest, Synnøve Solemdal, also didn't accumulate a stellar record at the event.
 
May 5, 2011
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Even if i don't have the same affection for kazakhs in the winter sports as in cycling, i have to say that Poltaranin is ****ing awesome to look at in the classic (?) races :D

And Nordthug is one hell of a fighter!
 
Birnbacher and Fourcade are still the best. Very close duel again today.

But man, the Norwegians have completely lost it. 2 years ago they won more or less every race, now they're not even in the top 10. It's not that they're slower, but they've all collectively forgotten completely how to shoot.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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To think Svendsen used to average ~88% a few years ago... He's hopeless now. Over a thousand days since his last clean shooting. :eek:
 
Solemdal cracking quite heavily in the finale there, she could barely keep the legs moving! So close to her first podium.

Insane speed by Gössner, 4 misses and top 10 in a sprint! She'd be a real threat if she could shoot at all :eek:
 
Krystyna Palka is impressing me this season. Last year she picked up quite a few placements 11-20, but she looks a bit quicker than before. Dorin, however, seems to be going the other way - still reliable with the rifle but has not improved at all in ski speed, which will hamper her attempts to get her first win, since she must surely be the best competitor on the world circuit without a single top level win. At least among females, as Simon Fourcade merits a mention of course.

Speaking of the Catalan brothers, that was a pretty tense finale between Martin and Andi Birnbacher earlier.
 
My god, did we just see Martin Fourcade run out of gas on the final lap? What parallel universe is this? If Miri Gößner shoots 20/20 later, I'll know that dark forces are acting upon us.

A good win by Fak, who made a lot of time on the skis and launched a decisive and aggressive final move on the last climb that split the group of 5 apart, with only Malyshko able to stay with him (surprising as with him having come from quite far back, I would have considered him the weakest skier of the remaining group with Fourcade, Birnbacher and Lindström). Biggest movers and shakers at the top being Shipulin (17th to 6th) and Lowell Bailey (36th to 10th), but some serious praise needs to be sent the way of Evgeniy Garanichev (45th to 13th) and Emil Hegle Svendsen, who despite not shooting clear at any round, managed to climb from 34th to 14th.
 
Apr 7, 2011
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Todya's pursuit had another crazy density of skating times.

20 people within 45 seconds.
12 people within 30 seconds

That's really a interesting density!
Very even playing field.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
My god, did we just see Martin Fourcade run out of gas on the final lap? What parallel universe is this? If Miri Gößner shoots 20/20 later, I'll know that dark forces are acting upon us.
When Fak went, Fourcade was blocked by Birnbacher (who basically stood still) and lost 4-5 seconds only on that, which obviously were impossible to get back with only a descent remaining. More of a tactical defeat than anything else. Also, the course is a bit too small really, so it's way too hard to pass anyone, unless you go crazy in the descent like Tora Berger did vs Mäkarainen.
 
maltiv said:
When Fak went, Fourcade was blocked by Birnbacher (who basically stood still) and lost 4-5 seconds only on that, which obviously were impossible to get back with only a descent remaining. More of a tactical defeat than anything else. Also, the course is a bit too small really, so it's way too hard to pass anyone, unless you go crazy in the descent like Tora Berger did vs Mäkarainen.
When they went under the bridge I noticed Malyshko pushing up from 4th to 2nd, and thought that would be the catalyst Fak needed to attack as Fourcade was in a vulnerable position in the group, and indeed he went. Andi clearly had nothing left as he lost out big-time then (even being passed by Lindström on the run-in, who had been tailing off the group), but the gap to Martin was opened, and not only held but extended once he was around Birnbacher. I thought Malyshko would fall off Fak more than he did and thought Fourcade might have come back for 2nd, but he didn't seem to have anything left for that.
 
May 7, 2011
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maltiv said:
When Fak went, Fourcade was blocked by Birnbacher (who basically stood still) and lost 4-5 seconds only on that, which obviously were impossible to get back with only a descent remaining. More of a tactical defeat than anything else. Also, the course is a bit too small really, so it's way too hard to pass anyone, unless you go crazy in the descent like Tora Berger did vs Mäkarainen.
Also, Fak seemed to save himself for the first half of the course, at least he seemed to lose time to Fourcade and Birnbacher.

Nice to see Bjoerndalen having good ski times, seems to be better than last year.
 
What's been the deal with Dasha's ski speed this weekend btw? She was even overtaken by Gregorin in the final lap. Did she have bad skiis? At one point it seemed like it, when Berger and Mäkäräinen took off in a descent and she didn't keep up.
 
Not sure, but not a necessary panic stations yet. After all she still won the sprint. I don't think she was the fastest skier this time last year either, just part of a group trading fastest times with Neuner, Berger, Mäkäräinen etc. It was only a few events into the season that she became the undisputed best skier, Neuner-adjusted. It could be bad skis, could be not quite on top form yet, could be a minor illness, won't really know unless it continues after Pokljuka really. Gregorin only passed her in the sprint, but still, if it continues it's a cause for concern as those are world cup points going begging.
 
jsem94 said:
What's been the deal with Dasha's ski speed this weekend btw? She was even overtaken by Gregorin in the final lap. Did she have bad skiis? At one point it seemed like it, when Berger and Mäkäräinen took off in a descent and she didn't keep up.
The Belarusian women's coach said that Dasha chose the wrong skis for the conditions, as they just couldn't make them work. Dubarezava and Skardino were fine, but Dasha was struggling with her skis all weekend. She was a long way off the fastest skiers of the weekend (Mäkäräinen and Gößner). Then again, this time last year she wasn't killing everyone on the skis. She was one of the best, but it was as the season went on that she went from being sometimes the best sometimes just off to basically killing everyone except Neuner for ski speed.

The Norwegian men were incredible at the relay at the weekend, with a young and inexperienced team, going by with only 1 spare round. And that spare round was used by Bjørndalen, the only experienced hand on the team! Hilde Fenne was also excellent in the women's event, and Juliya Dzhyma was impressive also.

In Pokljuka, we get to see Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle in World Cup action for the first time. She's apparently been setting good ski times in the IBU Cup, but her shooting is nothing like what it needs to be - she missed 4 and 5 in the two sprints at Idre, then 6 in the individual and 3 in the sprint at Obertilliach. Also looking at the IBU Cup, how long until Ann Kristin Åfedt Flatland gets back in the World Cup? She's been winning everything so far. Also, where is Kathrin Lang (Hitzer)? She's been meant to return at some point.

Also, Simon Fourcade is back on his skis after surgery, and Tarjei Bø returns in the new year... along with his brother. Should be interesting to see how Johannes gets on, given how he's lit up the junior races and how well the Norwegian youngsters are adapting to the next level.
 
Woah, how fast is Gössner. So close to winning with 2 misses! :eek:

The Norwegians were completely off the pace today, both Solemdal and Berger being beaten by over a minute in skiing time by Gössner. I guess they must have had quite horrible skis.
 
Yea, presumably a ski issue as the whole team was down. You'd have got some good betting terms on Tiril Eckhoff being the best Norwegian and only one in the top 20, that's for sure.

Soukalová has been incredible this year. Never in the top 20 before this season, never in the top 35 last season, but this year, she's been in the top 15 every race this year, quietly accumulating some impressive results through consistently placing 10th-15th. She's only 23, and with a home Worlds this year and an Olympics next she could be a real major threat soon.

The Miriam Gößner of 2010-11 is very much back, and this is a very good thing for the spectacle of the racing.

The men's race was pretty crazy yesterday too - how about Fourcade only 3rd with clean shooting and being outskied by Svendsen despite Svendsen having a penalty, and also by Jean-Guillaume Beatrix? I presume he may have had a ski problem too, because that's very unlike him. A real jour sans for the German men, but nothing on poor Anton Shipulin, who had a day that could destroy his overall WC ambitions by excluding him from the pursuit and could really destroy his confidence.
 
Feb 15, 2012
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Libertine Seguros said:
Yea, presumably a ski issue as the whole team was down.
I'm not sure the skis were the main issue, Berger seemed very tired last weekend as well. I'm guessing she will be back at competive speed after the christmas break.
 
Good race by Svendsen today. He was considering retiring after some horrible shooting at the start of the season, but seems to be back now.

The improvement in skiing speed for the Czech is just downright ridiculous, Moravec made Fourcade look like a junior...:rolleyes:
 
Yes, I would never have banked on Moravec being able to do that even if Fourcade hasn't been at his best here. At least he's a known top level entity though - Soukalová only entered two events last year, and has now been top 15 at every race this season!

Men of the day have to be Andrejs Rastorgujevs (38th to 10th with 20/20), Andi Birnbacher (40th to 13th with 18/20) and Dmitry Malyshko (58th to 19th, didn't see his shooting record but presume it must be either 19 or 20).
 
When she learns to shoot, she will destroy the world. It's not often you start #1, shoot 20-20, and don't win. It isn't often you miss 5 and still win, regardless of what the format is.

No denying it was exciting too, feel like a more experienced hand than Soukalová might have been able to hang on, but she did look to be visibly tiring on the last two laps. Lap 4 lost it for her, I think, because she lost time on the skis more than any other (also losing time to Dorin), and then though she shot clear, it was slow which gave Miri only 10-15" to make up, rather than the 25" from before. Soukalová was actually surprisingly strong on lap 5, I thought she might have been a sitting duck but on the last climb she looked strong and comfortable staying with Gößner (who to be fair had been skiing at her limit for the whole race to make up the time lost in the first shoot), but had no chance on the downhill Pokljuka run in to the finish.

Soukalová, for her part, said she was tired from the sprint where she gave it absolutely everything in the hope of that top finish, and wasn't sure she'd be able to stay in the top 5, so she's excited enough by 2nd.
 
Skiing times from today:

1. Miriam Gössner
2. Kaisa Makarainen +44,1
3. Tora Berger +1:13,3
4. Andrea Henkel +1:17,6
5. Synnøve Solemdal +1:24,0
6. Olena Pidhrushna +1:31,8
7. Magdalena Gwizdon +1:33,3
8. Anais Bescond +1:37,4
9. Marie Dorin Habert +1:39,2
10. Gabriela Soukalova +1:42,4

Insanity...Mäkarainen isn't exactly slow either, so to beat her by 44 seconds is just out of this world. I'm sure Gössner could have challenged Bjørgen.
 

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