Scary news, sounds like he was very fortunate where and when it happened, a bit like Kim Kirchen.
I think it is a bit early to call conclusions for the World Cup, because in those races some skiers were missing, i.e Andersson and Nilsson. Also we don't quite conclusively know, how good some of the outsiders, i.e Nepryaeva, might be at this stage.On the ladies side Johaug crushing Weng by more than 1 min with prodigy Helene Fosseholm only a few seconds back while in Sweden it was Frida Karlsson's turn beating Sundling and Kalla by more than 40 seconds. It looks like Karlsson will really be Johaug main rival at least until the Tour de Ski.
Yes he made the shift and will likely improve, at least when compared with last season but I don't think he is as strong as Northug in long distances and let's see if he doesn't lose something in the sprint.Didn't Klæbo move into the distance team last year, so we would expect to see him transition to being more competitive across longer distances now?
Well, I do think the sport is dying a slow death at least what concerns international competition and I don't see a long-term future for it as a professional sport, so let's enjoy what is still left.I don't see how this sport is going to continue in the future. It'll be the Norwegians vs Russians (thats saying if the Russians will be allowed to compete...) plus a spattering of individuals like Niskanen in distance events, Pellegrino in sprints (mostly in skate technique), the French (mostly in skate events) and sometimes the Swedes. If the Russians do get a blanket ban, then I am afraid it'll be a Norwegian parade. It'll be 9 Norwegians in the top 10 or 12. Who wants to watch that? I am sure even Norwegian viewers would be bored of that.
Interesting point about Niskanen and the Finnish system that creates diesels and the traditional approach. I do think that Niskanen has a good 'punch' at the end of distance races. It's obviously not on Klaebo's level, but I think he can bring it. The issue is that he had to ski hard to catch Klaebo and then fight against Norwegian team tactics. A good, but not fantastic kick against two better finishers and teammates plus him having to work just to get to a potentially winning position. On one hand I wonder if he should have rested a bit more when he caught Klaebo, but on the other he had to keep the pace high to try to weaken if not drop Klaebo. Neither happened. But the tactic was obvious and it was a good choice. It just didn't pan out.I think Niskanen played his hand as good as it goes, the attempt to attack on top of the steepest hill ("seinänousu") false flat was exactly the spot to try, but he simply was not strong enough to drop the two. Should have attacked a bit longer, perhaps, but he quite likely immediately knew he did not have it.
Even If Niskanen was fresh abd kläbo not, kläbo drops him on the final ramp 9 out of 10 times. Valverde vs Tony Martin kinda thing, just different athletes.
Somehow the Finnish training system only creates diesels with no kick and strips the kick off those who had it as juniors. Rus, SWE snd NOR manage to add speed to stamina. Among finns Hakola is probably the exception, but not a top sprinter or distance racer. The culture here idolises a nostalgic view of the sport.
Norwegian dominance this year seems to be very strong again. Boring.
Niskanen used the right strategy. The only way to drop Klaebo is with an high sustained pace but the problem was that Klaebo was very strong today since he was able to last almost 10km alone while keeping the distances almost intact. Iversen is looking quite good too, he can be one of Klaebo's main rivals during the season although its very difficult to see him winning the World Cup unless Klaebo has some problem.
The Russians were disappointing today, Bolshunov and Ustuygov are still far from their best and Neprayeva was just terrible. I also took notice that some of the biggest names are missing like Belorukova, Sedova, Spitsov or Chervotkin.
In the biathlon, it seems that Johannes Boe will win in front of his brother, which is looking really fast and Fourcade will almost match his ski times. At least there is potential to avoid a borefest. Unlike in Kuusamo the Russians were strong in Östersund