• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team.

    In the meanwhile, please use the Report option if you see a post that doesn't fit within the forum rules.

    Thanks!

Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

Page 225 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
A bit meh women's race, TBH. Johaug went full gas from the gun and on the climb as she probably had to, and led fairly comfortably but not dominantly over Anderson & Weng until 15Ks to home. The gap hovered at 30sec for a long time. As the race went on Östberg, who had been dropped by the three leaders at the beginning, caught the two and finally skied away alone to chase Johaug. She almost caught Johaug but came a couple meters short. In the end Östberg lost 4sec. So at least some action.

Thanks to the very fast start, for many the race was effectively over after a couple minutes and the time differences were large, as you would kinda expect. One bad performer of the day was Pärmäkoski (17th), I guess, as endurance ought to be her strong point. Apparently she was completely exhausted and cramped badly after finishing.
 
Bolshunov had fantastic skis. It's very rare that you see someone at this level ski away from those drafting behind on the gradual sections of a open, windy course. Roethe and Krüger couldn't really draft so much behind Bolshunov when they were in a tuck or when they were free skating. Once Bolshunov upped the pace they dropped off. Bolshunov had his pole broken by one of the Frenchmen and at one point was at the back of the main group and it took a bit of time for him to get that situated.

What I am surprised about is that the other Russians couldn't do much in the second half of the race. Melnichenko was the only one that stayed with the chasing pack. Spitsov gave his pole to Bolshunov so he used up a lot of energy and couldn't go with the pace when it went up. I expected more from the other men like Belov, Yakiumushkin, Larkov and Maltsev.
 
The Ski Tour overall looks fairly settled now. In women Andersson is too far behind to threaten top3, and it's the matter of whether Weng could compete against Östberg for second. In men the Norwegians behind Bolshunov are quite spread apart, so it's difficult for them to do much team work to pull that gap back together in pursuit.

Top countries prevailed in single-mixed relay, though Switzerland put up a good fight for a good while. Wierer had a bad day too now after all that success.
 
Proper old school distance racing in the middle forest as it should be.
Bolshunov showed again that he is one the best distance skiers of the last decades. Dropping skiers like Kruger and Rothe in a slight downhill requires a lot of power (and good skis).
As expected Goldberg ended up dropped in his weakest kind of race while Klaebo and Iversen did their first good distance race in many weeks.
Bolshunov will almost surely win the overall but between the Norwegians positions can still change.
 
Positions in Ski Tour overall at the moment:

Russia 1,9,13,15,16
Norway 2,3,4,5,6,7,10,12,14
Switzerland 8,11

Only after 16th position you start getting different countries. And even that largely because Norway simply isn't allowed to field more skiers than that.

International distance skiing is finished already now. The only remaining question is for how long will others show up at races. Germany already skipped the tour for unclear reasons, but I wouldn't be surprised if financial considerations were at play.
 
Positions in Ski Tour overall at the moment:

Russia 1,9,13,15,16
Norway 2,3,4,5,6,7,10,12,14
Switzerland 8,11

Only after 16th position you start getting different countries. And even that largely because Norway simply isn't allowed to field more skiers than that.

International distance skiing is finished already now. The only remaining question is for how long will others show up at races. Germany already skipped the tour for unclear reasons, but I wouldn't be surprised if financial considerations were at play.


And this is without Ustiugov. The Russians, apart from Bolshunov have underperformed. I don't expect too much in the last two stages. None of them, apart from maybe Larkov (of those looking for high places in the overall) can figure in a classic sprint outside of Bolshunov. Spitsov had a great sprint race in Val Di Fiemme in the TDS where he finished 10th.

I also didn't expect the entire Norwegian team to perform at a high level on every stage so far. The only guy that dropped off today was Valnes, but had he stayed with it the whole way it really would have been too much.

Niskanen out of the top 30 today, but he has two classic races to try and salvage something out of this tour. If he is recovered enough for the final 30km pursuit he could really do some damage. Cologna is in 8th right now, which is, all things considered, very good. Furger is 11th, which is excellent for him.

I don't expect Bolshunov to lose the tour now. Golberg would have to get into the final and podium, plus hope that the Russian misses out on the heats and then hope that Bolshunov has another bad day in the pursuit. Two bad days in a row for Bolshunov is highly unlikely.
 
Financial considerations probably is part of the explanation, but I also heard that they make preparations on next years WC on home ground, training in Oberstdorf and makes that a high priority.

Yeah they are training, testing, planning in Oberstdorf. I don't know what their goals will be for the world's there, I am assuming they will be looking for some medals if they are investing so much time to prepare. I think it's a bit strange to do that. They haven't participated in any WC's since Oberstdorf last month and I don't think that's very good of them. I am quite certain the pressure on them to do well at home next year is very high, for financial reasons and likely the coaching staff keeping their jobs, but not having a single German in Scandinavia is a bit crazy. Maybe they'll do the same next season, not race anything leading up to the World's and maybe even skip the TDS. Realistically right now they have Hennig and Karl on the women's side that can challenge for top 10 spots. On the men's side their chances of getting a medal are very low. A top 10 would be a great result. I don't think they can get multiple medals. You can't all of a sudden make medal winners out of people that rarely get into the top 10. Crazy weather, waxing blunders, falls, sickness, injuries, bad form could all befall the top medal candidates, but I just don't see, right now at least, where the Germans will pick up medals. Hennig's podium in Val Di Fiemme last month was the first podium for a German woman on the WC in a distance race in 5 years!!! She's a talented skier, but as I said, she and Carl are the only women that have a chance at the medals. They don't have 4 medal contenders that can fight for a medal in the relay. They have at least 4 men that could challenge for a bronze, but they have France, Sweden, Finland, and maybe Italy to contend for that. Norway and Russia will not be touched unless they miss the wax or someone blows up in one of their legs.

The Germans had a nice run from the late 90's early 2000's up until 2012 or so. Between 2002 and 2007 they had arguably the best men's team. They had Angerer, Filbrich, Teichmann, Schluetter, Reichelt, Goering, Sommerfeldt that could fight for podiums. Sommerfeldt, Teichmann, Angerer all won WC titles. 2004-2008, in a row. Then they had youngsters like Tscharnke and Dotzler but I guess injury/illness took those guys out in their mid 20's. They disappeared so quietly. I have some suspicions as to what really happened, but the reports were illnesses.

The women's team stuck in there a bit longer with Herrmann, Ringwald and a couple others, but they were no match for the Norwegians and Swedes and also Parmakoski, the Americans and then the Russians in recent seasons. They also seem to be short on talent in the junior ranks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DenisMenchov
There is one year left till the Oberstdorf WCH and they can train in Oberstdorf frankly all year as long as there isn't competition season, and they could train there also in the beginning of next season if they want to be well-prepared and need to skip races. But considering WCH is a whole year away, their explanation doesn't sound very convincing to me if I'm honest. Suspect there is something else at play. I can't remember anybody skipping races just for the sake of next year! I could understand if you have championships coming up within 1-2 months, then you take time off from competing.
 
There is one year left till the Oberstdorf WCH and they can train in Oberstdorf frankly all year as long as there isn't competition season, and they could train there also in the beginning of next season if they want to be well-prepared and need to skip races. But considering WCH is a whole year away, their explanation doesn't sound very convincing to me if I'm honest. Suspect there is something else at play. I can't remember anybody skipping races just for the sake of next year! I could understand if you have championships coming up within 1-2 months, then you take time off from competing.

Yeah I have my suspicions as well. Missing the entire month of February to prepare for something that's 12 months away is bewildering. As I wrote and as Orbea wrote, the world's are a big priority, but surely you can still do that by racing on the WC. So much can change in 12 months. The weather could be much different to what it is now (I have no idea what it's like there now). Oberstdorf could get a snow storm, it could be sunny the whole championship, it could be windy, rainy, they could have snow shortage, it could change quickly. As you wrote though, it's unheard of for an entire team to skip races to focus on something that's in 12 months. Their men's team did very well in the Oberstdorf skiathlon. 4 of them placed in the top 20 and two were just outside the top 30. Dobler, Katz and Notz were up with the leading group for much of the race, and looked better than they had earlier in the season. I know it's their home ground, but to have a number of skiers performing above their season 'average' is interesting. Wouldn't you want to take that momentum to the next races?
 
Wow. What. A. Relay. Now that's a proper excitement with all the ups-and-downs. Italy had a huge lead. Then Poland was leading. Even though Norway prevailed in the end.

Germany has become the runner-up of the championship. While Sweden has become the narrow miss. Ukraine used their best opportunity to get a medal in all this mess. French women have completely flopped in this championship, while it has been up to men to deliver the medals.
 
Finally France is World Champion again with an excellent performance in the shooting range. Norway missed too many targets while Doll blew Germany's chance in the end.

In the Ski Tour Norway destroyed the rivals with five athletes in the top5 after Bolshunov crashed in the semi-final. He will still win the overall unless something weird happens.
 
In men's relay we don't get the kind of suspense we get in women, as the class difference between about top 3 nations and the rest is too huge. So it's the question of by how many minutes would others lose. But it seems like Slovenia is the "Switzerland" of men's biathlon relays. Consistently pulling above their weight and delivering.
 
Doll wasn't in it mentally today. He barely escaped the penalty loop on his prone shooting, then thought he had to shoot more so he wasted a few more seconds just on that alone, and then the last shooting he skied a penalty loop and he had no chance vs Boe.

Hats off to Loginov for another solid performance. To be hounded by the police because of accreditation errors at 6 in the morning, hours before your race must have been brutal. I think he has a good chance of getting a second gold or medal in general. The French and the Norwegians will be the favorites, especially Boe, but if Loginov shoot well, he's got a shot. The other non French/Norwegians I am looking out for are Fak, Landertinger and perhaps Eberhard, Pfeiffer, maybe even Doll if he mentally recovers. We may be in for a huge showdown between Boe and Fourcade, but I am hoping it's an outsider.

In the Ski Tour, yes, Klaebo's win was expected, the Norwegians having a bunch of skiers in the semis and finals was also not a surprise, but Bolshunov not making it was. He fell as he was trying to put his skis in the tracks in the finishing straight and looked well on his way to the final (lucky loser, at least, because the first heat was faster). Not a disaster, but it almost halved the advantage he had over Golberg. Under normal conditions you have to favor Bolshunov tomorrow, but it looks like the weather/waxing could play a big role. Snowfall likely in Graanasen (where the trails are situated in Trondheim) tonight and for tomorrow. In a handicap pursuit that's a big advantage for the group(s) that will likely form behind Bolshunov. It's a 30km, which is a brutal way to finish a tour. If Golberg isn't caught by his teammates Bolshunov will be a tough man to catch. If the weather and snow conditions become difficult then Bolshunov will be like a snowplow cleaning the snow off the track and the skiers behind will gain on him, maybe quickly. The likely final that he missed today may, may be crucial for tomorrow. I hope he has a good pair of skis and doesn't crash/break a pole tomorrow. His form is excellent, just needs to be smart.