Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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  • 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.
Lol, so only bonus sprints in the one mass start race that really suits Klaebo? Sounds like FIS really wants him as their new posterboy. He seems to be more likable than Sundby and Peter and has turned his celebrating too early a bit down, he seems to be a decent guy.
 
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To be honest, the bonus intermediate points are now separate from the overall standings, so they don't really matter. Makes me wonder, what is the point of them at all.
 
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A thing, which confuses me is how they distribute the world cup points. I remember when they have had pursuits, they calculated separate times from that race alone. So if someone was fastest and moved from 20th to 5th, they got awarded 50 points and thus "WC race victory". Is that still the case? If not, isn't that unfair on those, who are handicapped before the start of their stronger discipline?
 
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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?
Yeah Krüger can do a good sprint here and there, and the fact that it comes so late in the tour, he can surprise and get some seconds. He can also do a good mass start and limit the damage there. If they use the usual course, it'll be to his strength's, it's a really tough course.

Maltsev doesn't look too heavy, not as big as Bolshunov, Ustiugov, Niskanen or even Klaebo and Cologna, probably somewhere in the middle. He favors skating and he's a good contact skier, so the final climb could be very good for him. He can sprint as well, but again, he's in the same boat as Krüger, it's in classic. The question will be, how will Norway and Russia go about their team tactics for the mass start? Who will be used as sacrificial teammates and who (besides the top three) will be protected/left alone to their own race/let them decide how they want to race? I am assuming for the Russians it's Larkov that'll be used to help with pacing and perhaps snatching some bonus seconds (though Klaebo is usually on the money in those). The other option is Yakimushkin. Melnichenko and Spitsov are much better skate skiers and are lighter, and they'll have their eye on setting the fastest time on the Alpe Cermis. How will they be used? They actually had excellent mass starts in Fiemme last year, especially Spitsov, so we'll see.

The Norwegians will definitely have somebody like Golberg, Nyenget and Janssen do the work for Klaebo and set him up, while podium contenders like Krüger, Holund and Roethe will just ski tempo and hope to be in the fight for the stage. I can actually see somebody like Holund setting a fast pace after the bonus sprint to try and break the group, especially those that went for the bonuses. In fact I am confident something like that will happen. The negative for the Norwegians is that Iversen and Toenseth withdrew. They could have really helped. They are better classic skiers and especially Iversen has given Klaebo a hand in these mass starts.

I could also see Niskanen forcing the pace and maybe even going for the bonus sprints. I am sure he's thinking about the overall standings and getting onto the podium. I am also sure that he'll be more than happy to share the workload to try and distance himself from the favorites that are dropped. There will definitely be one or two guys that will be dropped and that will take a hit on their hopes for the overall. Maybe he and Cologna could work together to surprise the Norwegians and Russians and break away.
 
A thing, which confuses me is how they distribute the world cup points. I remember when they have had pursuits, they calculated separate times from that race alone. So if someone was fastest and moved from 20th to 5th, they got awarded 50 points and thus "WC race victory". Is that still the case? If not, isn't that unfair on those, who are handicapped before the start of their stronger discipline?
No, the points are I think based on finishing 1, 2, 3. Like the old days of the handicap pursuit, before the 2002 (when the skiathlon was first used on the WC). So you could have the fastest time (like Golberg did today) but not get a WC win because you didn't cross the line first.

That's maybe one of those 50/50. Nobody's going to be happy. Last season Janosch Brugger had the fastest time of the day in the pursuit on the final day of the Lillehammer mini-tour and that counted as a world cup win, even though he finished 17th in the tour. Gaillard had the 2nd fastest time and moved from 42nd to 29th, and Bjornsen 3rd and finished in 32 after starting in 43. The thing that really helped those guys was that with the snowfall, the front guys were at a disadvantage in acting as snow cleaners, so the skiers chasing were always going to get the better conditions.

Can you imagine though, if they not only count the top times as WC podiums, AND give bonus seconds to those skiers?
 

KZD

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What a great race by Bolshunov. The way he dropped Ustiugov and Halfvarsson in that long uphill drag was impressive and the slowdown in the final quilometers shows that he is human after all. Ustiugov didn't do a great race and he is lucky that the stage World Cup points were given by the order they arrived to the finish line and not by the actual time. I think Bolshunov should have waited a bit more before launching his attack creating a bigger gap between the front group and the others. Still, I consider them to be, at the moment, the two biggest candidates for the Tour

Surprised to see Maltsev and Goldberg this good. Maltsev is a nice third option for Russia and he looks very versatile and I didn't expect Goldberg to post the best time today despite being a good classic skier and having taken advantage of being in a group.

For Klaebo the day was a bit disappointing. He manage to recover a lot of seconds to Ustiugov but lost to Bolshunov and now needs to have a great day in the classic mass-start to think about winning the Tour. The Norwegian long distance skiers (Holund, Roethe and Kruger) will likely lose too much in the sprint to be a threat for the overall
 
Top 6 in a class of their own though. It took a whole minute before 7th one arrived.
yeah, so far, for sure, but I think those coming races (apart from the sprint of course) should suit Stadlober fairly well. Two years ago she was 3rd in the Val die Fiemme mass start and had the 2nd best time on the climb, so she may move up quite a bit.
 
Stadlober will gain a few spots with the two distance races, but she'll lose a good chunk of time in the sprint to better sprinters like Oestberg (although she didn't qualify in Lenzerheide), Nepryaeva, Jacobsen, Lampic, Diggins, etc. What's going to help her is that the sprint comes after the distance race, so the better sprinters will be a bit neutralized by the 10km. The top six figure to be fighting for the podium. What could be very interesting is that if the individual times from yesterday are a good indicator for tomorrow, then we may see the top 6 15-20 seconds apart. Then in the sprint, if Johaug somehow doesn't get into the top 30, and the other 5 women get into the final, then Johaug will be a bit pressured to win on the final climb. Now, even if she isn't at her best, you still figure she'll be the favorite for tomorrow and obviously for the Alpe Cermis, but for the sake of good competition and entertainment, I hope she loses the lead after the sprint and all 6 women are fighting for the 3 podium spots. Jacobsen and Nepryaeva are the 'weakest' climbers of the top 6, so I think they'll find it hard to get onto the podium, unless they both turn in excellent races tomorrow and Saturday and/or Andersson, Oestberg and Weng miss out on the heats and aren't feeling tomorrow. Weng really skied out of her skin yesterday to not only hang on to the chasing group but to get 3rd. She collapsed after the finish. I wonder how much of an effect that sort of effort will have come tomorrow and beyond. Who knows, maybe Johaug herself doesn't have a good day tomorrow and gains nothing.
 
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A somewhat surprising women's race, and some drama too. Johaug indeed doesn't have an advantage here in TdS. Not sure, what will that mean for the climb or she would win anyway, because that climb suits her to no end. An extraordinary race by Hennig. It must have been a while since a German was up there. Other skiers at the front were usual suspects though. Ebba Andersson is fast becoming the "new Heidi Weng" with loads of podiums, but no victory.
 
This was a gift to Klaebo. Sprints for the bonus seconds. Wins those. Let his teammates and others tow him around, uses his good skis and without even pushing over the roller he wins. Not even out of breath at the finish.

If Ustiugov and particularly Bolshunov were feeling good enough to attack, they should have attacked earlier. I wasn't expecting Ustiugov to attack, tbh, I was worried that the pace would increase with guys like Holund, Niskanen and possibly Cologna skiing hard the whole way, and that Ustiugov would get dropped and lose a lot like he did last season, but neither the pace was as brutal as last year nor was Ustiugov weak. Like Bavarian said, the Russians should have gone the lap before. Klaebo likely would have been recovering from the bonus sprint and would have had a tough time reacting, certainly reacting by himself.

They could have really put pressure on Klaebo. I still think the ball is on Ustiugov and Bolshunov's court, but they need to make the final tomorrow, semifinal at the absolute least. Klaebo will likely take 60 seconds, so they need to lose less than 30 seconds to him, meaning making it at least to the semis. If his lead is around 30 seconds, he's going to have a hard time defending it, unless Ustiugov is not feeling it on the final stage. Now he exerted more energy trying to win and what will he have left for tomorrow and the final climb? In an interview earlier this season he said that it's harder for him to recover as quickly as he did a few years ago.

What the Russians did accomplish was getting rid of Krüger, who is arguably the best skate climber at the moment, and they also put in a bit of time on Roethe (though only 9 or 10 seconds) and a bit more on Holund. If those climbers don't qualify in the top 30 tomorrow, it'll be hard for them to catch the front 3.
 
A somewhat surprising women's race, and some drama too. Johaug indeed doesn't have an advantage here in TdS. Not sure, what will that mean for the climb or she would win anyway, because that climb suits her to no end. An extraordinary race by Hennig. It must have been a while since a German was up there. Other skiers at the front were usual suspects though. Ebba Andersson is fast becoming the "new Heidi Weng" with loads of podiums, but no victory.
It was a fantastic race by Hennig. She's a great classic skier. Her best results have come in classic races and she had really good skis today, perhaps the best out of the leading group (although you wouldn't think it on the final run in to the finish where Andersson and Jacobsen slingshot around her. It's definitely a morale booster for the German team and perhaps even the non Scandinavian/Russian skiers. Not only was Johaug not on the podium in a distance race, but somebody new on the podium. She was a great junior and U23 skier, often battling with her teammate Victoria Carl and the likes of Belorukova, Nepryaeva, Sedova, the Weng twins...so she was definitely touted at being a world class skier, though it's still very surprising to see her doing today. I thought the race would blow up much earlier and that Johaug would eventually grind everyone down. Pleasantly surprised that didn't happen. Johaug didn't have great skis, it has to be said, and then she didn't do Oestberg any favors by breaking her pole on the final climb before the stadium. Still, that sort of drama and uncertainty is really good for women's skiing.
 
I think Ustigov was skiing conservative early on because he was afraid of blowing up and Bolshunov didn't want to drop his teammate like last year. Still, Bolshunov got caught with his pants down durning the bonus sprint.
In the end they managed to gain time on Holund and Krüger.
I think Ustigov will make the semifinals, at least and Bolshunov should be in the final and fight for a podium spot.
A Johaug free podium feels refreshing.
 
Klaebo will probably win tomorrow and could be well positioned to win another Tour. Insane how good he is.
Yeah, he's an amazing sprinter, but the guy just leaches on others in EVERY 15km race. Incredible how he can sustain the tempo, but is completely unable to do it on his own. His first lap in the 15km F individual was good only because he 'skisucked' Calle Halfvarsson.

Insane how the race is built for him. Only bonus seconds are in the races that suit him. Two sprints and 15km classic Mass Start. No skiathlon or any race longer than 15km...
 
Yeah, he's an amazing sprinter, but the guy just leaches on others in EVERY 15km race. Incredible how he can sustain the tempo, but is completely unable to do it on his own. His first lap in the 15km F individual was good only because he 'skisucked' Calle Halfvarsson.

Insane how the race is built for him. Only bonus seconds are in the races that suit him. Two sprints and 15km classic Mass Start. No skiathlon or any race longer than 15km...
It's because they see him as a new Northug, in all the positive and negative that that entails, and ugly sprint-running and follow-the-leader mass starts be damned, they believe he's going to generate a lot more copy than Bolshunov or Ustiugov. And they're probably not wrong.
 

KZD

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Klaebo will probably win tomorrow and could be well positioned to win another Tour. Insane how good he is.
I don't think Klaebo will win this Tour, Ustiugov was much faster than him in the final climb last year and is only 3 seconds behind him in the overall and because I think he will do a good sprint tomorrow so he is my favourite for the Tour. Bolshunov cannot be ruled out either despite being a slow climber.

DenisMenchov, in classic Klaebo is actually fairly fast guy skiing alone although Niskanen or Bolshunov are clearly better than him. In skating he is much worse though.

Good to see three different nations in the women's podium. I still favour Johaug to win the overall but it won't be that easy.
 
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Considering sprinters are either missing or have abandoned the tour, with not many specialist sprinters left, the sprint may be distance skiers show. Nepryaeva may well be the favourite for women's sprint, and classic sprint is one of her strongest disciplines. Östberg, Jacobsen and H.Weng may all make it into the final too, as they are pretty good in that discipline too. Though Heidi appears to be a bit burnt out of the tour now, so maybe her performance is a questionmark. Johaug and Andersson are the weakest sprinters in the leading group, but at the very minimum they are looking to enter top 30. Missing that would be a major disappointment in the depleted field.
 
It's because they see him as a new Northug, in all the positive and negative that that entails, and ugly sprint-running and follow-the-leader mass starts be damned, they believe he's going to generate a lot more copy than Bolshunov or Ustiugov. And they're probably not wrong.
And don't forget a mass start on the final stage. Two sprints, three mass starts and a handicap pursuit that is closer to a mass start than an individual. So basically only one individual start race. Next year every race should be a mass start. Seeing how many changes FIS made this season, I wouldn't put it past Mignerey to suggest that at the next FIS congress. It's not just that it favors Klaebo, but the format is just so dull.
 
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It's because they see him as a new Northug, in all the positive and negative that that entails, and ugly sprint-running and follow-the-leader mass starts be damned, they believe he's going to generate a lot more copy than Bolshunov or Ustiugov. And they're probably not wrong.
I think Kläbo is actually better than Northug in sprints. Although Northug was better than distance skiers in his finishing ability, he didn't have an advantage over specialist sprinters in sprint races. IIRC he didn't win that many of them. However, Kläbo beats other specialist sprinters in their speciality every day of the week.

However, in distance races Kläbo is yet to prove himself in the same way as Northug did, even if both are/were "wheelsuckers". For example Kläbo is yet to win a 50 km race or even hang in front-running group to the end there.
 
I think Kläbo is actually better than Northug in sprints. Although Northug was better than distance skiers in his finishing ability, he didn't have an advantage over specialist sprinters in sprint races. IIRC he didn't win that many of them. However, Kläbo beats other specialist sprinters in their speciality every day of the week.

However, in distance races Kläbo is yet to prove himself in the same way as Northug did, even if both are/were "wheelsuckers". For example Kläbo is yet to win a 50 km race or even hang in front-running group to the end there.
I could see Klaebo doing a great 50km classic race in a year or 2, if he continues to work with the distance team.
 
Yea, Klæbo moving across to the distance team suggests that the team see a similar kind of progression from him. He's still pretty young after all. The other thing is the underrated Individual Start element; Northug won a good few 15ks himself, even if he would then follow them with 15 minutes of histrionic rolling about in faux exhaustion afterwards, to show that he was somebody who, in all honesty, could have won at least some of those mass start races by making the race and in more exciting manner than just following everybody until the final 200m and then outkicking them, but a lot of the time chose not to because it wasn't in his interest to take those risks, because he knew if nobody else was going to make the race, he would most likely win. That's why I get infuriated by the constant references to him as a "tactical master" and that this is being transferred over to Klæbo for the same strategy - because that strategy only works if you have that fast finish. And all too often naïveté among others would let him get away with that strategy too, because there was seldom anybody willing to bluff Northug and be prepared to let somebody threatening get away and make him do the chasing in the way that teams tried to get the likes of Bolshunov to chase Holund in Seefeld.
 
Klaebo is much more of a sprint specialist than Northug. Northug's last great sprint performance was finishing 5th in Lahti at the World Champs in 2017. If he wasn't the defending champion, the Norwegians wouldn't have taken him, but he managed to make the final. As Zarnack wrote, Northug didn't win a lot of sprints. He would lose out to specialists like Brandsdal, Gloersen (he was a sprint specialist and then started having better distance results than sprints), Kriukov, Hattestad, Morilov, Pellegrino...All of those guys have outsprinted Northug at one time or another in sprints. How often has Klaebo been beat in sprint to the finish, where someone passes him? Bolshunov last year in Ruka, Ustiugov in Lillehammer (though that was only the semifinal), and maybe Pellegrino in a skate sprint somewhere.

Where Klaebo is better than Northug and everyone in today's peloton, is his cornering, his acceleration over the top of the hill and taking that speed into the final downhills. That's where he wins the most races. That's where beats Pellegrino even when Pellegrino is close to him. That's where he beat Ustiugov today. Using that momentum and fast skis he easily passed Ustiugov over the rise. No double poling necessary.
 
Yea, Klæbo moving across to the distance team suggests that the team see a similar kind of progression from him. He's still pretty young after all. The other thing is the underrated Individual Start element; Northug won a good few 15ks himself, even if he would then follow them with 15 minutes of histrionic rolling about in faux exhaustion afterwards, to show that he was somebody who, in all honesty, could have won at least some of those mass start races by making the race and in more exciting manner than just following everybody until the final 200m and then outkicking them, but a lot of the time chose not to because it wasn't in his interest to take those risks, because he knew if nobody else was going to make the race, he would most likely win. That's why I get infuriated by the constant references to him as a "tactical master" and that this is being transferred over to Klæbo for the same strategy - because that strategy only works if you have that fast finish. And all too often naïveté among others would let him get away with that strategy too, because there was seldom anybody willing to bluff Northug and be prepared to let somebody threatening get away and make him do the chasing in the way that teams tried to get the likes of Bolshunov to chase Holund in Seefeld.
Exactly. Northug won a 30km individual in Davos in 2011. The other individual races were 15km's. Klaebo won the 15km classic two years ago in Ruka and that, to my memory, is his only individual start distance win. Yes, he's only 23, but I agree with you that this 'tactical master' stuff is a bit much. I think the Russians actually beat themselves. Larkov, who is likely one of their best team players, went after Ustiugov and Bolshunov when Ustiugov attacked with two km to go. He took Klaebo with him and they then latched onto the leaders on the final climb. That was poorly done. He wanted a personal podium, which is understandable, but he helped Klaebo a lot. He also took 3 important seconds from Ustiugov in the bonus sprint. Ustiugov got 2, Larkov 5. I just think that when it comes to tactical awareness, the Russians are not the strongest in these types of situations. It's not in their nature to not go for it.

I read an interview with Bolshunov's coach and he says that Alexander was feeling fatigued from the accumulation of races. The Russians just aren't calm enough in these head to head races, IMO. I think that if Bolshunov was feeling a bit more fresh, he would have tried to force the pace, at least at some point of the race. Of course, 'would have, could have, should have,' he didn't and no point in speculating what would have or could have happened if a different tactic was employed. Perhaps attacking early would mean blowing up and eventually being caught or even losing a lot of seconds.

Libertine, I would suggest not watching British Eurosport, if you can help it. I watch usually watch a youtube stream and if I am not able to catch a race live, I just go on youtube and watch the Russian or Swedish or sometimes Norwegian coverage. I've given up on the Brits. Dixon is ok, he is a much more likeable commentator, IMO. Winterton is too subjective. It would be really nice if Musgrave was doing well and contending, then they would focus more on him rather than idolizing Klaebo and the Norwegians. :)
 

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