Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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The start of the climbs is Not that steep, wide and pretty Straight Forward. So there will be a bunch sprint for position there. These will have the effect that They will already be cooked when they enter the steep part. There will be ugly Pictures.
Another issue is the narrow trail leading up to the climb. The initial part of the race is easy. They have to ski the stadium loop which is only a km or so, but then they head on that flat part where there's barely room for two people side by side, and if there is little snow, then there may not be any room to pass before the final climb starts. The fighting for position will start in the stadium area. After that if you are a contender or someone that wants to try and win the stage, you better hope you are at or near the front. The mass start suits Klaebo to a T. He'll be near the front, he can draft off of others and then for the hill climb he'll still have someone near him to pace off of. He won't worry from others chasing him.
 
I think a real danger man here is Krueger. He's 1:07 down on Klaebo, but you'd expect him only to gain time in the 15km F individual. If he can further cut his losses or maybe even overtake Klaebo in the next two stages. He'd be in a very good position to beat him on the Final Climb.

Last year he was 2:20 faster on the final stage, however Klaebo pushed really hard on the flat part before the climb and made an even bigger gap, this year he won't have that luxury. I don't think that his time deficit will be bigger than that going into the final stage. And good luck to Klaebo drafting Krueger on such a climb, he has a same chance as Gaviria hanging on the Bernal's wheel on Mont Ventoux.

The only negative thing for Kreuger is that the 3 consecutive stages after the 15k F are classics, especially the sprint. It will be crucial for him to get into the TOP 30 and take as many bonus seconds as he can.
 
The fact that the sprint will happen on the penultimate day could help a lot of guys to get into the top 30.
If Krüger, Roethe and even Holund are in striking distance it's gonna be every man for himself on the Alpe Cermis, 2 red trains will set a crazy pace early on.
 
Ustiugov with another stella performance.He is the best xc skier again. Too Bad it ist such a short and fast 15km track. Small gaps and the bunch will have a significant Advantage tomorrow. At least Klaebo looks cooked.
 
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Quite a Russian show here. 1-2-3! Five in top 7. Meanwhile some, to who this race was absolutely crucial in the tour context, like Cologna and Krüger, flopped completely. Norwegians again modest like in Davos. On the other hand Halfvarsson surprisingly good.

Let's see the implications for the pursuit. Kläbo will be hoping Cologna has a good day, so they can come together. But anyway, it is quite critical for Kläbo here, as he is a minute behind Russians. Of course with the help of Saturday's sprint he could still lead the overall prior to the climb, but I think he would need more of an advantage than a few seconds. I think he would like to have a minute to be on the safe side, because on such a heavy climb all groups would disintegrate.
 
Well, Ustiugov and Bolshunov did what they had to, overtake Klaebo and then some. The big issue is, how quickly can they recover for tomorrow? Ustiugov gave it absolutely everything today. Can he recover in 24 hours and ski well enough to hold off the pack? He may recover, but holding off the pack on such a course will be hard. You'd figure that Bolshunov, Halfvarsson and Holund will be the one's doing the work, then a bit behind there's Roethe at 39 seconds, Niskanen at 51, Cologna at 1.09, and Klaebo at 1.11. Will Cologna and Klaebo catch Niskanen? Niskanen may catch the the chasers, if he's feeling good, but can Cologna and Klaebo latch on and catch a ride? If they can't then I think it'll be tough for them. Klaebo will still have the classic mass start and the classic sprint. You'd favor him in the classic sprint for sure but the classic mass start will be a war.

Really hope Ustiugov didn't burn all his matches today, otherwise it could be tough for him tomorrow.
 
First of all, sad to see Iversen abandoning the Tour. One less to fight for the World Cup overall.

About today, incredible race by Ustiugov smashing everyone and getting back the Tour lead. Yakimushkin doing his best race ever in the World cup and Bolshuniv with a solid third place. I think Ustiugov has to be the Tour favourite now, especially after Klaebo's weak race today and Bolshunov is looking good for the podium and to fight for the World Cup title against Klaebo until the end.

I wonder what happened to Tonseth. I know he raced that cross country running race earlier in the year so he probably had to change his preparation but still, losing almost 4 minutes in a 15km race isn't normal.
 
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Unlike men's pursuit, there isn't much intrigue about women's pursuit I think. The ones, who you would expect to be strong classic skiers too, are all in top 6. The only question is for how long can Östberg hang onto Johaug tomorrow.
 
I was right about this being a close race, but I didn't think it would be 0.7 seconds close. Andersson and Weng were very close to Johaug as well, at 10 seconds each. Johaug started the race very fast, and I actually think too fast. Her light frame (and not optimal skis??) didn't help her in the second half of each lap, where she was losing time. Granted, the other three women chasing her are not particularly big either, so it's a combination of skis and Johaug going out a little too quickly. Perhaps it's form as well. Don't know for certain, as there wasn't much to see of the race because of ski jumping coverage.

Damage control for Nepryaeva. I still don't think she's in the same form this TDS as she was last season's TDS. 25 seconds to Johaug and Oestberg and 15 to Andersson and Weng isn't bad, but last year she beat Oestberg (it was 0.3 seconds then, tough luck for ingvild in Toblach!!). She's still in the thick of it for the podium, but Johaug, Oestberg, Weng and Andersson are all better climbers than her, so her best chance of doing something big is to make it onto the podium in the Val di Fiemme sprint and hope that the others don't get into the top 30, but that's unlikely. The second Tour sprint always sees distance skiers doing better than the first one, because of endurance and the fact that some sprinters may abandon (case in point, Falla, who already abandoned).

Tomorrow will be fascinating. How long can Oestberg hang on to Johaug? Will Andersson and Weng go out hard to try and catch the front two and then rest up for a bit? Or is that a fatal tactic? What will Jacobsen and Nepryeava do? Will they work together to close the gap on the front 4 women? I don't think they'll catch the front, but maybe eat into the lead and hope to catch Andersson and Weng. The Americans will form a nice pack, but right now they are doing better in skate races, particularly Diggins, so I don't think they'll gain on the leaders, in fact, last year Diggins lost a ton of time on both classic stages of the Tour and it may happen again. If she loses more than 30 seconds to the leaders (plus the 35 second starting deficit, then I think her chances of a tour podium are gone).
 
Finally Johaug beaten. Great race by Oestberg and Nepryaeva too managing to keep herself at around the same distance.
Johaug will still likely beat Ostberg in the final climb with Weng probably coming third, although there the fight will be more interesting.
The Americans cracked completely more or less as expected.

In the men's side, Klaebo was able to recover from 10th to 1st two years ago in a World cup weekend with the same format against Ustiugov that started and finished in 2nd. This is unlikely to happen again because Klaebo is further away but I still expect him to recover which could make him finish the day close to Ustiugov and Bolshunov in the Tour GC.
 
This tour Johaug has been on a downswing of form relative to the others, especially östberg. The margin to whoever comes second has diminished steadily. Maybe overraced, maybe something else. Especially in Lillehammer she did a lot more than needed doing. Either way, made some small money betting against her today.

It is probable that the final climb still favours johaug. But östberg is seemingly lighter this year, and on an upswing. Dont know if the reason behind the sidelining of östberg is even public knowledge, but there has been a recent Scandinavian debate about excessive/overcooked weightloss amongst female xc athletes (and the concomitant "female athlete triad") sparked by the situations of östberg and frida Karlsson. My bet would be exactly this. NOR and SWE athletes need to pass an internal medical check to be eligible to race.

Oh, and i have been enjoying ustjugov's resurrection a lot. Hope he continues to ski well.
 
Finally Johaug beaten. Great race by Oestberg and Nepryaeva too managing to keep herself at around the same distance.
Johaug will still likely beat Ostberg in the final climb with Weng probably coming third, although there the fight will be more interesting.
The Americans cracked completely more or less as expected.

In the men's side, Klaebo was able to recover from 10th to 1st two years ago in a World cup weekend with the same format against Ustiugov that started and finished in 2nd. This is unlikely to happen again because Klaebo is further away but I still expect him to recover which could make him finish the day close to Ustiugov and Bolshunov in the Tour GC.
I saw signs already in Davos, where Johaug's winning gap wasn't increasing. Then in the mass start in Lenzerheide the others closed in on her on the final lap. Oestberg's freshness is what's helping her at the moment. These are her first WC races of the season (maybe first races of any level??). You knew that if she could stick to Johaug on the final climb, she would likely beat Johaug. She appeared to have slightly better skis as well.

The other group did very well. Nepryaeva had the third fastest time of the day (just two seconds behind Johaug) and she's in with a shot of the podium. The issue for her is the final climb, the other top women, apart from maybe Jacobsen are better climbers, so she'll need to again fight for the podium in the mass start in Val di Fiemme and for sure make the final of the sprint, if she wants an advantage before the final climb. It's going to be a tough ask.

Yes, the Americans cracking wasn't surprising. On the other hand, Bjornsen and Brennan were better classic skiers early on in their careers. It's actually a bit of a mystery to me why they are doing better in skate races. Diggins has always been a much better skater, but the other two definitely not.

In regards to the men's race, the Toblach race two years ago that you are referring to, Ustiugov actually started 5th, 20 seconds ahead of Klaebo, and finished just under two seconds behind the Norwegian.
 
In the end Ustigov managed to pace himself really well. He started slow, let the others close the gap, then helped Bolshunov to get rid of Holund before he could recover. He only lost time when Bolshunov attacked and did a good final lap, he didn't loose more than a few seconds to Klaebo after the Bolshunov group caught him.
Niskanen was in great shape, Roethe is also looking strong, another impressive performance by Bögel and Golberg actually surprised me.
 
What a silly format. What exactly is the point of having a pursuit when the individual time counts for the Overall standings. So basically you get punished for having done a good individual start. Klaebo once again lucky as hell. On his own he would he lost so much more.
 
What a silly format. What exactly is the point of having a pursuit when the individual time counts for the Overall standings. So basically you get punished for having done a good individual start. Klaebo once again lucky as hell. On his own he would he lost so much more.
That may be the case, but I think had the pursuit started with time gaps from the overall and not the individual race yesterday, Klaebo would have started 10 seconds behind Bolshunov and 37 behind Ustiugov. He would have caught Bolshunov, then rested, and seeing how Bolshunov caught Ustiugov, and then dropped him, it's not inconceivable that Klaebo would have been first across the line. His skis were better today than they were yesterday and Ustiugov's weren't. To me he seemed to have trouble latching on. Maybe he did start conservatively, but he looked heavy, not snappy, from the early kilometers. Perhaps it's the effort he put in yesterday, and he did say earlier this year that he can't recover as quickly as he did before. He lost time in the beginning and the end of the race. Both he, Bolshunov, and Halfvarsson lost a good chunk of time on the final lap. Likely fatigue but also the two chasing groups behind them were skiing better. The front three were separated after Bolshunov's attack and that helped the chasers. When theres 5 or 6 guys skiing together, it's easier to gain time on those skiing by themselves.

Bolshunov now leads the tour, 16 seconds ahead of Ustiugov and 26 ahead of Klaebo. The danger stage for Ustiugov is the mass start on Friday. If he can limit the damage, still be within touch of Bolshunov and Klaebo (don't think Klaebo will take the lead after the mass start) then I think he'll have a good shot at winning the overall. Ustiugov has had trouble in Val Di Fiemme before. Last year he lost the tour there, in 2016 he lost 48 seconds to Sundby (though Sundby wasn't going to be beat in that tour, he was just too good in distance races that season). In 2018 he lost 42 seconds (though he had back issues and pulled out before the final stage).

The danger men to the top 3 are Holund who is 1:10 behind Bolshunov, Roethe at 1:22, Krüger at 1:40 and Cologna at 1:43. Those gaps are still not enough to hold those guys off, IMO. Neither of those four will play a big role in the sprint. Cologna may qualify and there's a shot Roethe could qualify as well, depending on how many sprinters there are left and there's always the problem with how fresh everyone is, but Krüger and Holund will lose out in the sprint. The mass start will be more important than the sprint for the chasers. I think Bolshunov and Ustiugov will be stronger in the mass start, because they'll know where everyone is and there'll be no chasing packs vs individuals out there. What will be important is team tactics. The Russians had four men in the leading group of 6 and they totally messed up. Bolshunov didn't win the stage and they dropped Ustiugov, which ultimately cost him the tour victory. He lost 42 seconds in that stage. He ended up having a 1:20 deficit before the final climb and that was too much to overcome.

Are the regulations for the mass start the same as they were for Lenzerheide's mass start? No bonus seconds, only bonus 'points?' No bonus seconds for the top three finishers? I suppose it can benefit/hurt anyone, depending on where they end up at the finish line and the gaps that are made.

Judging by today's race, you'd figure Bolshunov and Niskanen will duke it out. Niskanen had a fast final lap today. I think he may have had a broken pole, because he had to catch back up to the group he was with. Then he left that group pretty easily. One would favor Klaebo to gain some time on Ustiugov in the mass start, and then it becomes a question of Ustiugov not losing too many bonus seconds in the sprint to Klaebo, because let's face it, Klaebo is likely winning that sprint. Bolshunov may come in his way, but that course profile suits Klaebo to a T. He can burst out running on the final pitches of the climb, ski over the top and use the final downhill into the finish, as he did in the 15km last season.

IMO Klaebo has to win the sprint and hope that neither Bolshunov and Ustiugov make it into the final. The Russians will hope that they can do something in mass start. Maybe working with Cologna, Niskanen and Halfvarsson? Perhaps De Fabbiani (he finished 2nd in that stage last season)?

There a lot of scenarios that could play out. Let's hope there are no sicknesses or injuries, that skis aren't the deciding factor and it's a fantastic battle.
 
Krüger made it into the top 30 in the first sprint, so I'm not sure that he'll finish outside of the top 30, even if it's a classic sprint.
Maltsev did pretty well today, how heavy is he, can he do a decent Alpe Cermis ascent?
 
That may be the case, but I think had the pursuit started with time gaps from the overall and not the individual race yesterday, Klaebo would have started 10 seconds behind Bolshunov and 37 behind Ustiugov. He would have caught Bolshunov, then rested, and seeing how Bolshunov caught Ustiugov, and then dropped him, it's not inconceivable that Klaebo would have been first across the line. His skis were better today than they were yesterday and Ustiugov's weren't. To me he seemed to have trouble latching on. Maybe he did start conservatively, but he looked heavy, not snappy, from the early kilometers. Perhaps it's the effort he put in yesterday, and he did say earlier this year that he can't recover as quickly as he did before. He lost time in the beginning and the end of the race. Both he, Bolshunov, and Halfvarsson lost a good chunk of time on the final lap. Likely fatigue but also the two chasing groups behind them were skiing better. The front three were separated after Bolshunov's attack and that helped the chasers. When theres 5 or 6 guys skiing together, it's easier to gain time on those skiing by themselves.

Bolshunov now leads the tour, 16 seconds ahead of Ustiugov and 26 ahead of Klaebo. The danger stage for Ustiugov is the mass start on Friday. If he can limit the damage, still be within touch of Bolshunov and Klaebo (don't think Klaebo will take the lead after the mass start) then I think he'll have a good shot at winning the overall. Ustiugov has had trouble in Val Di Fiemme before. Last year he lost the tour there, in 2016 he lost 48 seconds to Sundby (though Sundby wasn't going to be beat in that tour, he was just too good in distance races that season). In 2018 he lost 42 seconds (though he had back issues and pulled out before the final stage).

The danger men to the top 3 are Holund who is 1:10 behind Bolshunov, Roethe at 1:22, Krüger at 1:40 and Cologna at 1:43. Those gaps are still not enough to hold those guys off, IMO. Neither of those four will play a big role in the sprint. Cologna may qualify and there's a shot Roethe could qualify as well, depending on how many sprinters there are left and there's always the problem with how fresh everyone is, but Krüger and Holund will lose out in the sprint. The mass start will be more important than the sprint for the chasers. I think Bolshunov and Ustiugov will be stronger in the mass start, because they'll know where everyone is and there'll be no chasing packs vs individuals out there. What will be important is team tactics. The Russians had four men in the leading group of 6 and they totally messed up. Bolshunov didn't win the stage and they dropped Ustiugov, which ultimately cost him the tour victory. He lost 42 seconds in that stage. He ended up having a 1:20 deficit before the final climb and that was too much to overcome.

Are the regulations for the mass start the same as they were for Lenzerheide's mass start? No bonus seconds, only bonus 'points?' No bonus seconds for the top three finishers? I suppose it can benefit/hurt anyone, depending on where they end up at the finish line and the gaps that are made.

Judging by today's race, you'd figure Bolshunov and Niskanen will duke it out. Niskanen had a fast final lap today. I think he may have had a broken pole, because he had to catch back up to the group he was with. Then he left that group pretty easily. One would favor Klaebo to gain some time on Ustiugov in the mass start, and then it becomes a question of Ustiugov not losing too many bonus seconds in the sprint to Klaebo, because let's face it, Klaebo is likely winning that sprint. Bolshunov may come in his way, but that course profile suits Klaebo to a T. He can burst out running on the final pitches of the climb, ski over the top and use the final downhill into the finish, as he did in the 15km last season.

IMO Klaebo has to win the sprint and hope that neither Bolshunov and Ustiugov make it into the final. The Russians will hope that they can do something in mass start. Maybe working with Cologna, Niskanen and Halfvarsson? Perhaps De Fabbiani (he finished 2nd in that stage last season)?

There a lot of scenarios that could play out. Let's hope there are no sicknesses or injuries, that skis aren't the deciding factor and it's a fantastic battle.
  • Men: 2 intermediate sprints, bonus seconds to the 10 first skiers (15–12–10–8–6–5–4–3–2–1) past the intermediate points.
 
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Johaug really didn't have an advantage. Maybe the track wasn't tough enough for her to dominate? Reminded a bit of the Quebec race last season. Top 6 in a class of their own though. It took a whole minute before 7th one arrived. Interestingly Lampic was the "best of the rest". She has really improved in distance races this season.

Bolshunov and Niskanen men of the day in the classic. Although that's what you would expect, given they are the best classic skiers in the world these days. Norwegians somewhat recovered after their poor freestyle race, but not enough to threaten the top.

Also seems like Germans are in good shape in this tour. Bögl and Hennig are clear top 10 material in distance races there.
 
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