Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Singer01

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Weird how the Norwegian dominance is allegedly killing xc as a spectator sport, but generally the board is more into xc than biathlon judging by comments during the races at their respective world championships.
 
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Singer01 said:
Weird how the Norwegian dominance is allegedly killing xc as a spectator sport, but generally the board is more into xc than biathlon judging by comments during the races at their respective world championships.
I, personally, am waaaaay more into biathlon, but I can't speak for all. I'll watch biathlon over cycling these days, no question. The men's biathlon for much of the season has been just as one-sided as the XC though, and before that we had year upon year of Fourcade dominating. The women's side is far more interesting and open. Plus you have the variation in XC that comes with different specialisms classic/skate and distance/sprint. A lot of the most interesting biathlon formats have been held on weekdays this year too. I think the board seems to have more of a consensus view on biathlon than XC too, where there are relatively frequent clashes. Where there are disagreements or differences of opinion, you get more commentary. Like when Kokoso and I filled up page upon page of discussion about whether Tiril Eckhoff getting good at skiing was more or less surprising than Gabriela Soukalová going from 93rd to 6th in the World Cup overall.
 

Singer01

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Libertine Seguros said:
Singer01 said:
Weird how the Norwegian dominance is allegedly killing xc as a spectator sport, but generally the board is more into xc than biathlon judging by comments during the races at their respective world championships.
I, personally, am waaaaay more into biathlon, but I can't speak for all. I'll watch biathlon over cycling these days, no question. The men's biathlon for much of the season has been just as one-sided as the XC though.
Me too, though im not sure if this is more a convenience thing than anything else. You can watch a biathlon is 30 mins to an hour. With a young child I can't get invested in a 5 hour cycling race anymore. Though now i finally have Wi-Fi at work I can shut the office door and have stuff on in the background while I work. Except at weekends when most of the bigger races or more important stages tend to be.
Johannes should be back on track today, though 7 races is probably a bit risky if he wants to compete in all of them. Also Roiseland is either *** this week or is due a good race depending on how you look at it. Fourcade not even racing, i hated it when he won everything, I hate how quickly he has fallen more. I thought we'd get a few years of relative parity as JTB was on the rise and Fourcade was on the way down.
 
Fourcade's incredible downfall (relatively speaking, he is still 5th in the overall standings!) is a big mystery. The arrival of Vincent Vittoz from x-country as trainer appears to have helped the entire men's team except Fourcade, as they are currently 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th in overall standings. He is visably frustrated, and despite taking breaks to find a solution he is still lagging.

One thing I think for sure is that when he can no longer compete for the podium he will move on. We aren't likely to see him finishing covered in drool in 50th place like Bjorndalen. That was sad.
 
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Singer01 said:
Weird how the Norwegian dominance is allegedly killing xc as a spectator sport, but generally the board is more into xc than biathlon judging by comments during the races at their respective world championships.
Here in this thread are not many people anyway, so I don't think it represents the overall picture. However, in terms of general trends I think biathlon is a more popular viewing sport than XC, in Europe at least. Certainly if we look at various central European countries, like France, Germany, Czechia, et al, I'm sure biathlon gathers far more interest. It may not be the case in Scandinavia, but I don't think that really changes the overall European trend.

Personally speaking. I watched XC in the championships, but I'm not really bothered about world cup races. I occasionally watch some highlight videos and sprint finals. However, in biathlon I have watched a lot of world cup races too, in addition to world championships.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
I think the board seems to have more of a consensus view on biathlon than XC too, where there are relatively frequent clashes. Where there are disagreements or differences of opinion, you get more commentary..
Good point. Controversy creates comments. Everyone has something to say about Johaug. Me too. Personally speaking she has singlehandedly killed the sport for me. Call me back, when there is an actual competition going on there.

Ugh, see, a controversial post again. :razz:

Biathlon I just enjoy, irrespective of results, nice variety there, what is to comment? :razz:
 
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Singer01 said:
Johannes should be back on track today, though 7 races is probably a bit risky if he wants to compete in all of them. Also Roiseland is either **** this week or is due a good race depending on how you look at it. Fourcade not even racing, i hated it when he won everything, I hate how quickly he has fallen more. I thought we'd get a few years of relative parity as JTB was on the rise and Fourcade was on the way down.
This biathlon version of team sprint really suits quick and precise shooters. Considering the loops are about 1 km instead of normal 2-3 km, you are basically out of the game if you go for a penalty loop. That's why Eder-Hauser have been so good in this discipline, because they are fast and precise shooters, even if not fastest skiers. I think the same could be said about Wierer-Hofer. I have to say though that I am not really convinced that an event, which puts such a heavy emphasis on shooting, is really good for biathlon, but I guess all sports are looking for their 'sprint' versions to attract more viewers.

What concerns Fourcade, hard to say really. He isn't old really yet, but then again each individual is different and peaks differently. Is he definitely past it? Will he bounce back? I'd like to think he will try at least for one more season before we heavily speculate about him retiring or something. Sometimes you can have poor seasons, due to overtraining or whatever, and still bounce back.

However, the French in general have come along really well and at least on paper it makes them almost the favourites for the men's relay. Of course, we all know "paper results" count little in biathlon, because even if you have 4 strong athletes, it's enough if one of them fails and goes for a penalty loop, which would seriously hinder your chances. And French men haven't won a relay in the world cup this season yet, unlike their women.
 
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So Röiseland and Bö delivered in the "shooting race". None of the main teams went for a penalty loop though, the best placed "penalty-loop-team" was Finland in 12th.

I question a bit Germany's decision to enter Herrmann here. She was skiing as fast as ever, but lost more than enough time in the range due to not being bulletproof.
 
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Swedish girls are absolutely flooding the sprint qualifying. Considering, how young - not to mention talented - their team is, could we have a domination problem in the upcoming seasons in women sprints? Just that this time it wouldn't be Norway doing the domination.
 
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Surprisingly Öberg didn't deliver for Sweden in the last leg. Her ski speed didn't seem great either. So that Norway could win even despite Eckhoff failing on the 3rd leg. But Norway has a really good women team now with only one weak link (1st leg).

By the way, it seems Ukrainians have nailed their form for the championships well. Another medal.

Americans were doing great, but their weakest link was in the end. Still well done to hang on for that long. Italy didn't have Wierer. What does that mean - ill or concentrates for mass-start?

By the way, what's wrong with French women? Apart from Braisaz' bronze in individual they have been nowhere.
 
It shows how weak skiing is in biathlon, particularly on the women's side. Herrmann has consistently been in the top 3 or so in terms of ski times since she got on the IBU. When she was still doing xc, she never had a podium in any distance race. Her strengths were skate sprints. Beyond 10km was too much for her. It's a huge difference between her and almost everyone else when you see her skiing. She passes them like they are standing still. Calle Halfvarsson's recent comments to counter Pichler are spot on.
 
BullsFan22 said:
It shows how weak skiing is in biathlon, particularly on the women's side. Herrmann has consistently been in the top 3 or so in terms of ski times since she got on the IBU. When she was still doing xc, she never had a podium in any distance race. Her strengths were skate sprints. Beyond 10km was too much for her. It's a huge difference between her and almost everyone else when you see her skiing. She passes them like they are standing still. Calle Halfvarsson's recent comments to counter Pichler are spot on.
I respectfully disagree. Herrmann is, when on peak form, peerless, yes, but Östersund is also her favourite of the biathlon venues. Look at her performances last year and her ski form - and shooting scores - there are an outlier among her results. She's consistently one of the best skiers in biathlon, yes, but she's also especially good at this venue. There are plenty of good skiers within biathlon - we must also consider the balance aspect of the additional weight of the rifle - and the best biathlon skiers have been pretty competitive in the short to mid XC races on several occasions (cf. Miriam Gössner missing a medal in the 10k skate at Val di Fiemme by 0,5 seconds). The other factor one has to take into account is the recovery that comes from the shooting bouts. Kaisa Mäkäräinen - who has a few World Cup top 10s in XC to her name - did say a couple of years ago that the 10k is about the limit of her capability as a flat-out effort, she needs the pauses that the shooting gives her to be able to continue to go all out for longer (e.g. in the 15k Individual). Similarly, in Martin Fourcade's occasional forays into XC at Galliväre and Ruka, on both occasions he was setting pretty good times at the 7,5km mark, but fell away massively in the second half of the race, where the fact the XC specialists are used to putting out an unbroken effort of that length came into effect and blew him out of the way. Herrmann being good at distances up to 10k and also being a very good Team Sprint athlete probably helps her skillset be more transferable to biathlon, because of the 10k distance being closest to the mean distances in biathlon races for women (7,5 sprint, 10 pursuit, 12,5 mass start, 15 individual, 6 relay) and because she already has experience in repeated short efforts with short breaks in the middle.

At the same time as stating that XC athletes may be of a higher calibre as pure XC skiers than biathletes (which is eminently sensible, because if a biathlete were able to perform consistently at the pace of the best XC skiers, unless they have a Skardino-like shooting record, why compete in a sport which has that additional element of risk that could jeopardise results? We've only periodically seen that - Bjørndalen back in the early 2000s, Lars Berger at his best (and even then his much-vaunted World Championships gold in XC was heavily affected by conditions), Gössner before her back injury (she set one of the fastest leg times in her XC leg in the Liberec World Championships relay as an 18-year-old biathlete), but others who didn't give us the opportunity to judge are only maybes, because it would depend on whether they could adapt to not having those breaks - would Neuner or Domracheva have been able to replicate their ski level in XC races or would they have faltered as distance tended upwards like Fourcade?), let's also consider the other factor in there, which is prestige. Denise Herrmann is of course German, and in Germany biathlon is a big, big deal. Third biggest TV sport, even, and biggest TV audiences for women's sport iirc. To her it was worth making the switch even though she was Germany's best XC skier at the time - and comfortably so. XC audiences have been dwindling away outside of a couple of loyalist nations for some time, and the larger cast of biathlon - especially among women's races - is a big draw factor. Lots of people can be competitive because the shooting is a great equaliser. Some, like Herrmann, are world class XC skiers anyway; others would be left for dead in a pure XC race but can be competitive because of their ability in the range. Also, tactics are an element of it. Because Denise shoots slowly and deliberately, she skis harder, there is much less skiing within herself to be fresher in the range, because even if she's fresh her drills are slower than most in the shooting. But the audience reach for biathlon in Germany, the fame, the prestige, and the thrill of biathlon was such that Miriam Gössner, with her career 60% standing shoot, never switched to XC after she broke into the main biathlon team. It was such that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Denise Herrmann both exchanged being Germany's #1 XC skier, not just for being top biathletes (Evi never made it to that level), not even for the World Cup team, but for the IBU Cup. Yes, in the long term they stepped to the World Cup, but that shows you the gulf between the two sports in Germany, that that was considered worth it. Denise has been proven right in the long run, but let's be clear, while she's a super skier among the variable levels of the biathletes, she's also not reliably a race winner or podium athlete. Her pace can only take her so far. That doesn't make her any different from a lot of other skiing-biased competitors like Tiril Eckhoff or Justine Braisaz. Célia Aymonier is another convert from XC that you could use to point to to compare levels - she wasn't as good an XC skier as Herrmann, sure, but while quick, she's also not demonstrably quicker than the biathlon-only skiers like Eckhoff, Braisaz and co.

But yes, the fact that Kaisa is aging and the retirements of the likes of Domracheva have decimated the number of big time ski talents in women's biathlon. But not to the extent that the XC field is that much more ridiculously strong. There's a big gap between the top few and the rest of the field in XC, and I really don't think that apart from the Thereses, Ingvilds and Stinas of this world, who are clearly at another level, there's that huge a step between the next level down XC skiers and the best biathletes.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
BullsFan22 said:
It shows how weak skiing is in biathlon, particularly on the women's side. Herrmann has consistently been in the top 3 or so in terms of ski times since she got on the IBU. When she was still doing xc, she never had a podium in any distance race. Her strengths were skate sprints. Beyond 10km was too much for her. It's a huge difference between her and almost everyone else when you see her skiing. She passes them like they are standing still. Calle Halfvarsson's recent comments to counter Pichler are spot on.
I respectfully disagree. Herrmann is, when on peak form, peerless, yes, but Östersund is also her favourite of the biathlon venues. Look at her performances last year and her ski form - and shooting scores - there are an outlier among her results. She's consistently one of the best skiers in biathlon, yes, but she's also especially good at this venue. There are plenty of good skiers within biathlon - we must also consider the balance aspect of the additional weight of the rifle - and the best biathlon skiers have been pretty competitive in the short to mid XC races on several occasions (cf. Miriam Gössner missing a medal in the 10k skate at Val di Fiemme by 0,5 seconds). The other factor one has to take into account is the recovery that comes from the shooting bouts. Kaisa Mäkäräinen - who has a few World Cup top 10s in XC to her name - did say a couple of years ago that the 10k is about the limit of her capability as a flat-out effort, she needs the pauses that the shooting gives her to be able to continue to go all out for longer (e.g. in the 15k Individual). Similarly, in Martin Fourcade's occasional forays into XC at Galliväre and Ruka, on both occasions he was setting pretty good times at the 7,5km mark, but fell away massively in the second half of the race, where the fact the XC specialists are used to putting out an unbroken effort of that length came into effect and blew him out of the way. Herrmann being good at distances up to 10k and also being a very good Team Sprint athlete probably helps her skillset be more transferable to biathlon, because of the 10k distance being closest to the mean distances in biathlon races for women (7,5 sprint, 10 pursuit, 12,5 mass start, 15 individual, 6 relay) and because she already has experience in repeated short efforts with short breaks in the middle.

At the same time as stating that XC athletes may be of a higher calibre as pure XC skiers than biathletes (which is eminently sensible, because if a biathlete were able to perform consistently at the pace of the best XC skiers, unless they have a Skardino-like shooting record, why compete in a sport which has that additional element of risk that could jeopardise results? We've only periodically seen that - Bjørndalen back in the early 2000s, Lars Berger at his best (and even then his much-vaunted World Championships gold in XC was heavily affected by conditions), Gössner before her back injury (she set one of the fastest leg times in her XC leg in the Liberec World Championships relay as an 18-year-old biathlete), but others who didn't give us the opportunity to judge are only maybes, because it would depend on whether they could adapt to not having those breaks - would Neuner or Domracheva have been able to replicate their ski level in XC races or would they have faltered as distance tended upwards like Fourcade?), let's also consider the other factor in there, which is prestige. Denise Herrmann is of course German, and in Germany biathlon is a big, big deal. Third biggest TV sport, even, and biggest TV audiences for women's sport iirc. To her it was worth making the switch even though she was Germany's best XC skier at the time - and comfortably so. XC audiences have been dwindling away outside of a couple of loyalist nations for some time, and the larger cast of biathlon - especially among women's races - is a big draw factor. Lots of people can be competitive because the shooting is a great equaliser. Some, like Herrmann, are world class XC skiers anyway; others would be left for dead in a pure XC race but can be competitive because of their ability in the range. Also, tactics are an element of it. Because Denise shoots slowly and deliberately, she skis harder, there is much less skiing within herself to be fresher in the range, because even if she's fresh her drills are slower than most in the shooting. But the audience reach for biathlon in Germany, the fame, the prestige, and the thrill of biathlon was such that Miriam Gössner, with her career 60% standing shoot, never switched to XC after she broke into the main biathlon team. It was such that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Denise Herrmann both exchanged being Germany's #1 XC skier, not just for being top biathletes (Evi never made it to that level), not even for the World Cup team, but for the IBU Cup. Yes, in the long term they stepped to the World Cup, but that shows you the gulf between the two sports in Germany, that that was considered worth it. Denise has been proven right in the long run, but let's be clear, while she's a super skier among the variable levels of the biathletes, she's also not reliably a race winner or podium athlete. Her pace can only take her so far. That doesn't make her any different from a lot of other skiing-biased competitors like Tiril Eckhoff or Justine Braisaz. Célia Aymonier is another convert from XC that you could use to point to to compare levels - she wasn't as good an XC skier as Herrmann, sure, but while quick, she's also not demonstrably quicker than the biathlon-only skiers like Eckhoff, Braisaz and co.

But yes, the fact that Kaisa is aging and the retirements of the likes of Domracheva have decimated the number of big time ski talents in women's biathlon. But not to the extent that the XC field is that much more ridiculously strong. There's a big gap between the top few and the rest of the field in XC, and I really don't think that apart from the Thereses, Ingvilds and Stinas of this world, who are clearly at another level, there's that huge a step between the next level down XC skiers and the best biathletes.

There are a few biathletes that could, could, get into the top 30 of skate races, yes, but that's it. There isn't as huge gap between the top biathletes than everyone else because the gap is already big. There are a lot of mediocre skiers in biathlon. I stand by my assertion. Most of the biathletes are former xc skiers anyway, they just couldn't cut it in skiing, which is one of the reasons they moved over. In Herrmann's case, she moved over partly because of that, but mostly because of more funding.

Clare Egan and Susan Dunklee had no results to speak of on the US domestic circuit and college carnivals and NCAA's. When you watch them ski in biathlon, they are consistently setting top 15, top 20 times. Joanne Reid, on the other hand, for example, was one of the top xc junior skiers in the US and won NCAA's. I am not sure what's happened to her ski speed over the years, but she is an anomaly. She had far more success in in xc than either Egan or Dunklee.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
BullsFan22 said:
It shows how weak skiing is in biathlon, particularly on the women's side. Herrmann has consistently been in the top 3 or so in terms of ski times since she got on the IBU. When she was still doing xc, she never had a podium in any distance race. Her strengths were skate sprints. Beyond 10km was too much for her. It's a huge difference between her and almost everyone else when you see her skiing. She passes them like they are standing still. Calle Halfvarsson's recent comments to counter Pichler are spot on.
I respectfully disagree. Herrmann is, when on peak form, peerless, yes, but Östersund is also her favourite of the biathlon venues. Look at her performances last year and her ski form - and shooting scores - there are an outlier among her results. She's consistently one of the best skiers in biathlon, yes, but she's also especially good at this venue. There are plenty of good skiers within biathlon - we must also consider the balance aspect of the additional weight of the rifle - and the best biathlon skiers have been pretty competitive in the short to mid XC races on several occasions (cf. Miriam Gössner missing a medal in the 10k skate at Val di Fiemme by 0,5 seconds). The other factor one has to take into account is the recovery that comes from the shooting bouts. Kaisa Mäkäräinen - who has a few World Cup top 10s in XC to her name - did say a couple of years ago that the 10k is about the limit of her capability as a flat-out effort, she needs the pauses that the shooting gives her to be able to continue to go all out for longer (e.g. in the 15k Individual). Similarly, in Martin Fourcade's occasional forays into XC at Galliväre and Ruka, on both occasions he was setting pretty good times at the 7,5km mark, but fell away massively in the second half of the race, where the fact the XC specialists are used to putting out an unbroken effort of that length came into effect and blew him out of the way. Herrmann being good at distances up to 10k and also being a very good Team Sprint athlete probably helps her skillset be more transferable to biathlon, because of the 10k distance being closest to the mean distances in biathlon races for women (7,5 sprint, 10 pursuit, 12,5 mass start, 15 individual, 6 relay) and because she already has experience in repeated short efforts with short breaks in the middle.

At the same time as stating that XC athletes may be of a higher calibre as pure XC skiers than biathletes (which is eminently sensible, because if a biathlete were able to perform consistently at the pace of the best XC skiers, unless they have a Skardino-like shooting record, why compete in a sport which has that additional element of risk that could jeopardise results? We've only periodically seen that - Bjørndalen back in the early 2000s, Lars Berger at his best (and even then his much-vaunted World Championships gold in XC was heavily affected by conditions), Gössner before her back injury (she set one of the fastest leg times in her XC leg in the Liberec World Championships relay as an 18-year-old biathlete), but others who didn't give us the opportunity to judge are only maybes, because it would depend on whether they could adapt to not having those breaks - would Neuner or Domracheva have been able to replicate their ski level in XC races or would they have faltered as distance tended upwards like Fourcade?), let's also consider the other factor in there, which is prestige. Denise Herrmann is of course German, and in Germany biathlon is a big, big deal. Third biggest TV sport, even, and biggest TV audiences for women's sport iirc. To her it was worth making the switch even though she was Germany's best XC skier at the time - and comfortably so. XC audiences have been dwindling away outside of a couple of loyalist nations for some time, and the larger cast of biathlon - especially among women's races - is a big draw factor. Lots of people can be competitive because the shooting is a great equaliser. Some, like Herrmann, are world class XC skiers anyway; others would be left for dead in a pure XC race but can be competitive because of their ability in the range. Also, tactics are an element of it. Because Denise shoots slowly and deliberately, she skis harder, there is much less skiing within herself to be fresher in the range, because even if she's fresh her drills are slower than most in the shooting. But the audience reach for biathlon in Germany, the fame, the prestige, and the thrill of biathlon was such that Miriam Gössner, with her career 60% standing shoot, never switched to XC after she broke into the main biathlon team. It was such that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Denise Herrmann both exchanged being Germany's #1 XC skier, not just for being top biathletes (Evi never made it to that level), not even for the World Cup team, but for the IBU Cup. Yes, in the long term they stepped to the World Cup, but that shows you the gulf between the two sports in Germany, that that was considered worth it. Denise has been proven right in the long run, but let's be clear, while she's a super skier among the variable levels of the biathletes, she's also not reliably a race winner or podium athlete. Her pace can only take her so far. That doesn't make her any different from a lot of other skiing-biased competitors like Tiril Eckhoff or Justine Braisaz. Célia Aymonier is another convert from XC that you could use to point to to compare levels - she wasn't as good an XC skier as Herrmann, sure, but while quick, she's also not demonstrably quicker than the biathlon-only skiers like Eckhoff, Braisaz and co.

But yes, the fact that Kaisa is aging and the retirements of the likes of Domracheva have decimated the number of big time ski talents in women's biathlon. But not to the extent that the XC field is that much more ridiculously strong. There's a big gap between the top few and the rest of the field in XC, and I really don't think that apart from the Thereses, Ingvilds and Stinas of this world, who are clearly at another level, there's that huge a step between the next level down XC skiers and the best biathletes.
Makarainen has only one top ten, that was in Lahti in 2014, a week after the Olympics. Her other WC xc individual start? 37th. She does have a 14th from the 10km at the 2013 world's.

I am not sure what Oestersund's trails have to do with it. Herrmann's going to be faster than most on any track. That's the point I am making. Sure, she may not gain as much on an 'easier' course, but Johaug wouldn't gain as much on it either, so that's a moot point.
 
well, to be fair, Egan has only shown any real speed whatsoever this season, at 31. Dunklee also became much quicker pretty late on. I don't think they're as useful as comparisons (especially comparing their level as juniors to where they are in their 30s) as many who are immediate transfers or coming from European scenes where there is a lot more junior biathlon availability. In Germany the Schülercup is very successful and people start out as biathletes very young, and while there are some that switch because they aren't good enough at XC skiing (Vanessa Hinz is an example), those don't tend to be the ones that are especially notably fast as biathletes either. Mari Eder keeps on winning XC sprint competitions in Finland and has been pretty decent in the World Cup for them in the format, but then Finland are pretty weak on the women's side on the sprint side of things.

And it's hard to get too many even comparison points, because the only viable comparisons are biathletes entering XC races, which has the flaws I mention above; maybe only the Birkebeinerrennet can be considered for comparing how the XC athletes compete with the additional weight, but that's in classic, right?

Mäkäräinen was 2nd in the national 30k free last year, behind Pärmäkoski but ahead of Niskanen and Mononen. She won the 5k free, which is the kind of distance you'd expect to suit a biathlete. Laukkanen/Eder was 4th, ahead of Niskanen and Kyllönen. Her 9th place in the World Cup in Lahti back in 2014 is a bit inflated by a Norwegian team that was basically only Bjørgen, Johaug, Jacobsen and Weng. 20th is perhaps more realistic in a full strength startlist.

But really, the women's field in XC is not particularly deep. Saying the best biathletes in the world 'might' make a top 30 is very harsh, especially when it's based on them being significantly outperformed by Denise Herrmann. As I mentioned, Denise Herrmann is overperforming her season's norm here as it's a venue that particularly suits her.

If you look at the season-long skiing statistics, Herrmann is in fact the 4th fastest skier in the World Cup, behind Mäkäräinen, Kuzmina (yes, two aging veterans) and Marte Olsbu Røiseland. Tiril Eckhoff's season-long pace is the same as Herrmann's. So all of those ought to be able to match the kind of performance level Herrmann showed in the appropriate length races in XC. Especially as the two Norwegians are two years younger than Denise too. Admittedly there's then a bit of a drop off (0,9 s/km) to Aymonier, who was 18th in the 10km free at the Falun World Championships and 27th in the 30km classic mass start (not great, but it's a biathlete finishing top 30 in a Classic race ;)). And that was at 24, before moving to biathlon. She had a few good results in the 10k free as a World Cup athlete too - Östersund and Rybinsk in the Falun buildup, though some of these had depleted fields. If you look at last season's ski charts, Herrmann is again 4th, and again at the exact same level as Eckhoff. Closer to Mäkäräinen's level, too - but Mäkäräinen is slower relative to Kuzmina and Domracheva too - and Aymonier is quicker relative to Herrmann and Eckhoff too.

Let's also look at Val di Fiemme, the last time the timing of the Biathlon and Nordic World Championships enabled biathletes to enter at a reasonable level of form. The XC skiers would of course be looking to peak, the biathletes were just coming off theirs. And there's a few of them, which makes a judgement a bit easier.
- Miriam Gössner is 4th, 0,5 seconds off the podium.
- Kaisa Mäkäräinen is 14th
- Denise Herrmann is 24th - yes, that Denise Herrmann. She's still at around the same speed as Jess Diggins, would we say that Diggins being good nowadays is evidence that XC skiing's standard is poor now? I doubt it.
- Selina Gasparin is 31st
- Diana Rasimoviciute is 45th
- Lea Einfalt is 62nd
- Emoke Szöcs is 69th

To compare, in the biathlon, Gössner was officially the 3rd fastest skier that season, but that was rather made artificial by some races she completely gave up in in Khanty the final week of the season. But Gasparin was the 11th fastest biathlete that season, Rasimoviciute 24th. Einfalt and Szöcs have never been competitive skiers in either XC or biathlon. And Herrmann was at the same level as Diggins, who is currently now 5th in the overall World Cup, and in her biathlon years has shown to be at approximately the same level as Tiril Eckhoff in skiing performance.

So actually, using Herrmann as a stick to beat biathletes with isn't quite as effective as it looks on this week's evidence.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
well, to be fair, Egan has only shown any real speed whatsoever this season, at 31. Dunklee also became much quicker pretty late on. I don't think they're as useful as comparisons (especially comparing their level as juniors to where they are in their 30s) as many who are immediate transfers or coming from European scenes where there is a lot more junior biathlon availability. In Germany the Schülercup is very successful and people start out as biathletes very young, and while there are some that switch because they aren't good enough at XC skiing (Vanessa Hinz is an example), those don't tend to be the ones that are especially notably fast as biathletes either. Mari Eder keeps on winning XC sprint competitions in Finland and has been pretty decent in the World Cup for them in the format, but then Finland are pretty weak on the women's side on the sprint side of things.

And it's hard to get too many even comparison points, because the only viable comparisons are biathletes entering XC races, which has the flaws I mention above; maybe only the Birkebeinerrennet can be considered for comparing how the XC athletes compete with the additional weight, but that's in classic, right?

Mäkäräinen was 2nd in the national 30k free last year, behind Pärmäkoski but ahead of Niskanen and Mononen. She won the 5k free, which is the kind of distance you'd expect to suit a biathlete. Laukkanen/Eder was 4th, ahead of Niskanen and Kyllönen. Her 9th place in the World Cup in Lahti back in 2016 is a bit inflated by a Norwegian team that was basically only Bjørgen, Johaug, Jacobsen and Weng. 20th is perhaps more realistic in a full strength startlist.

But really, the women's field in XC is not particularly deep. Saying the best biathletes in the world 'might' make a top 30 is very harsh, especially when it's based on them being significantly outperformed by Denise Herrmann. As I mentioned, Denise Herrmann is overperforming her season's norm here as it's a venue that particularly suits her.

If you look at the season-long skiing statistics, Herrmann is in fact the 4th fastest skier in the World Cup, behind Mäkäräinen, Kuzmina (yes, two aging veterans) and Marte Olsbu Røiseland. Tiril Eckhoff's season-long pace is the same as Herrmann's. So all of those ought to be able to match the kind of performance level Herrmann showed in the appropriate length races in XC. Especially as the two Norwegians are two years younger than Denise too. Admittedly there's then a bit of a drop off (0,9 s/km) to Aymonier, who was 18th in the 10km free at the Falun World Championships and 27th in the 30km classic mass start (not great, but it's a biathlete finishing top 30 in a Classic race ;)). And that was at 24, before moving to biathlon. She had a few good results in the 10k free as a World Cup athlete too - Östersund and Rybinsk in the Falun buildup, though some of these had depleted fields. If you look at last season's ski charts, Herrmann is again 4th, and again at the exact same level as Eckhoff. Closer to Mäkäräinen's level, too - but Mäkäräinen is slower relative to Kuzmina and Domracheva too - and Aymonier is quicker relative to Herrmann and Eckhoff too.

Let's also look at Val di Fiemme, the last time the timing of the Biathlon and Nordic World Championships enabled biathletes to enter at a reasonable level of form. The XC skiers would of course be looking to peak, the biathletes were just coming off theirs. And there's a few of them, which makes a judgement a bit easier.
- Miriam Gössner is 4th, 0,5 seconds off the podium.
- Kaisa Mäkäräinen is 14th
- Denise Herrmann is 24th - yes, that Denise Herrmann. She's still at around the same speed as Jess Diggins, would we say that Diggins being good nowadays is evidence that XC skiing's standard is poor now? I doubt it.
- Selina Gasparin is 31st
- Diana Rasimoviciute is 45th
- Lea Einfalt is 62nd
- Emoke Szöcs is 69th

To compare, in the biathlon, Gössner was officially the 3rd fastest skier that season, but that was rather made artificial by some races she completely gave up in in Khanty the final week of the season. But Gasparin was the 11th fastest biathlete that season, Rasimoviciute 24th. And Herrmann was at the same level as Diggins, who is currently now 5th in the overall World Cup, and in her biathlon years has shown to be at approximately the same level as Tiril Eckhoff in skiing performance.

So actually, using Herrmann as a stick to beat biathletes with isn't quite as effective as it looks on this week's evidence.

So I am reading that in today's biathlon, there are roughly 5 or 6 biathletes that could rival their xc counterparts? It sounds about right.

The women's xc field definitely isn't as deep as it was, but that's been the case since probably after 2011.

Dunklee hasn't been that good the last two seasons. Her career peaked probably in Hochfilzen. Egan skiing well, but again, look at her results before she made the switch to biathlon. She had no podiums on the domestic circuit and made the switch at 27, a year before Herrmann did (I am not directly comparing them, just pointing out when they made their transitions).

It's very rare that children start out shooting guns before they put on a pair of skis.
 
Yes, and Egan is 14th in the ski stats this year, before that she has been 64th fastest in 2017-18, 48th in 2016-17 and 83rd in 2015-16.

So her ski speed this season compared to what she was like not just as an NCAA athlete, not just in the XC competitions before she switched to biathlon, but also compared to what she was previously like as a biathlete, is completely and utterly outlying, and so I don't feel you can fairly compare the XC and biathlon fields using her previous XC results and her 2018-19 biathlon results.
 
Re: Re:

BullsFan22 said:
So I am reading that in today's biathlon, there are roughly 5 or 6 biathletes that could rival their xc counterparts? It sounds about right.

The women's xc field definitely isn't as deep as it was, but that's been the case since probably after 2011.
I reckon that moonlighting in the XC field, you've got definitely 5 (Kaisa, Nastya, Marte, Tiril, Denise) and depending on form, a few more (Laura, Célia, Justine), assuming 10k free. There are some who might be better in sprints (Eder) depending on tactics, but the sample size for comparison there is so small it's difficult to say. You might find a few that would get into the national entry list just because of smaller fields from that country, whereas there's no shortage of Norwegian talents to let Marte or Tiril get an entry in a high level XC race to compare. Davidová is a top 10 skier in biathlon this season, and the Czechs don't have a deep field of XC skiers, so maybe she could be a possible one. Selina Gasparin was decent enough a few years ago but is coming off a baby break. There's a few who are good skiers in the biathlon field who probably couldn't be competitive moonlighting as XC skiers, but if they trained solely for XC skiing could maybe be at a reasonable level - the likes of Tandrevold, Häcki and Mironova. And of course a few who may have been competitive have retired recently - e.g. Domracheva and post-childbirth Dorin Habert.
 
The Slovenian women that did so well in World Juniors and Youth Olympics (roughly around 2010-2015) the likes of Einfalt (who you mention), Razinger, Eržen, Lampić have either retired or completely fallen off the radar. The only one still being a factor is Lampić. Eržen and Einfalt switched to biathlon in their early 20's. Eržen retired after last year. She had no success whatsoever in biathlon. Einfalt is hardly better. She made the switch after last season and hasn't had success. Razinger had top 30's, even top 20's in the sprints on the xc world cup, but she hasn't raced since last season. FIS site says she's still active, but I think she's probably retired. Razinger never made the switch. The other two simply couldn't improve their shooting.

Jessie diggins of 2013 cannot really be compared to the Jessie Diggins of today. For one, she's 27 now (turns 28 in August). She was 21 during the 2012-2013 season, so it's understandable she wasn't skiing as well (certainly as consistently as she is now). Herrmann's best season on the WC was in 2013/2014. Her next best was 2012/2013. She switched to biathlon after the 2015/2016 season after having little to speak about that season. She skied a couple WC's in 2017, sprints in Toblach.

It would be interesting if they had one WC where the top 10-15 biathletes showed up at a 10km individual race during the middle of the season, when there are no major championships. That would be a good barometer.
 
Wtf Martin
This was the worse shooting I have ever seen from him. I hope he can return to a good level next year because this season is a disaster.
Johannes missing too much again in standing, but at least he avoided penalty. Norway wins all the relays in these World Championships. Impressive.
 
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