Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Go Frida!!
Yes, Heja heja heja!!!

Great tactical move by the Swedes, and forced TJ to hold on to the old skis for the final lap as Ebba and Frida were gaining big time. Sprint! And in the sprint, Frida's skis were just gliding SO Much better. SO much better than Therese's. I mean, it's not like many people will be worse sprinters than Johaug anyway, but without TJ having a ski disadvantage too.
 
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Oh, wow. I didn't expect to see such an exciting women's marathon. Johaug beaten in a straight fight! Looks like Sweden's distance skiers have finally come into full gear by the end of the season. 1st, 3rd and 4th. Of course, great strategy with ski change too. I'm surprised only 4 decided to change skis. Also I'm surprised how close the race was. Almost 20 skiers within 1 minute by the end. I can't remember such women's competition, certainly not over 30 km!
 
Johaug not changing skis when she was almost 1min ahead and the swedish trio changed them was an act of hybris that cost her the win.
Johaug the only Norge girl in the top 10, really surprising.
But actually really, really good for the sport in multiple ways.

Big races not being a Norwegian championship is good, and strong results for people like Hennig and Lampič are very good for interesting further countries in the sport. And also because it was a DISTANCE race. We've seen a move toward a schedule of mostly sprints and short distance races, because they have more variety in their results thanks partly to the luck factor; having a really great 30k with an interesting chasedown that shows Johaug to be beatable - two in fact, as the 34km in Meråker saw her nearly caught by Østberg - with a cast of multiple nations in the top 10 is REALLY great news, because it suggests that actually, there is room for growth in appeal of distance racing too, and we can hopefully move back towards a more balanced calendar that gives the same opportunities to endurance skiers as it does to sprinters, and make the World Cup a bit more of a true test.

It also shows that actually Johaug isn't quite so immortal as she used to be, and she now has a threshold. Her tactic has been to ski away from everybody and never be seen again since time immemorial. Over 10-15k this is unstoppable but over 30k, she has now run out of gas a few times. Previously, she had enough of a lead that it didn't matter, but now she seems catchable. This now means that a 30k carries more intrigue to an audience than a 10-15k race, and that is a real positive step for a varied and eclectic World Cup calendar.
 
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It also shows that actually Johaug isn't quite so immortal as she used to be, and she now has a threshold. Her tactic has been to ski away from everybody and never be seen again since time immemorial.
Yep, in both Falun and Lahti Johaug had a fairly narrow victory over Andersson and as already Ski Tour 34 km proved, Johaug isn't peerless over a marathon either any more, where her advantage used to be most profound.

Wonder if this means Johaug will change her strategy? If she is vulnerable, there is no point in going out in the lead and wasting energy alone at the front, while others sit and rest in a big group before attacking.
 
Yep, in both Falun and Lahti Johaug had a fairly narrow victory over Andersson and as already Ski Tour 34 km proved, Johaug isn't peerless over a marathon either any more, where her advantage used to be most profound.

Wonder if this means Johaug will change her strategy? If she is vulnerable, there is no point in going out in the lead and wasting energy alone at the front, while others sit and rest in a big group before attacking.
But as a result, that now means that even if Johaug does then win, if she changes her strategy from the one we've seen every time in the last few seasons, there is a level of genuine intrigue in a race of >20km that there just isn't in a 10-15km race, which is well within the threshold at which Johaug's strategy of "go out, drop everybody and keep going" can be effective. So it's a sign to FIS that in order to create a wider appeal in the World Cup we should see more long distance races of >20k, rather than the current cycle of 10ks and sprints :)
 
But Libertine, there are only so many 30km races during the season. There's usually one or two. During championship seasons it's two. In 2016 Johaug won the 30km in Oslo by 3:46 over Østberg and 4:16 over Kyllönen. That was probably the peak of her dominance though, she skied away after only a kilometer or so and the conditions were quite tricky and relatively soft and it was under a fog. It was a bit foggy today, but the conditions didn't seem as tricky. So what was the difference, besides four years? It's not a question anyone needs to answer, but it's intriguing.

I've never seen that many chasers, since ironically that 2016 race, in a women's field. Usually you have Johaug leading and sometimes one of the Norwegians or a Swede or Parmakoski, Nepryaeva with her for a while, and then you have smaller groups or pairs chasing. Today it was a group that was established before the halfway point and they skied together until about 23km when a couple of them started to drop off. Johaug's lead never reached a minute, the maximum she gained was 53 seconds, incidentally that was the stadium split at 20.1 km when the Swedes and Pärmakoski changed skis. Karlsson and Andersson were at 58 and 59 seconds behind Johaug. Kalla was 1:04 behind the Norwegian and at back of that big chasing group. That's when Johaug's lead started to drop. She lost time to a lot of those from the chasing group, but not as much as she did to the Swedes, who obviously benefitted greatly from the fresh skis. To be fair, they were the strongest of that group, so perhaps even without changing their skis they would have finished 2nd and 3rd, but with the ski change it was like a new race that started. Kalla likely wouldn't have finished 4th had she not changed her skis, though she did look better than she's looked almost all season.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if everyone in that group decided to change skis. I was surprised that the other Finns didn't follow Krista into the pit stop. Also surprised that Nepryaeva didn't change either, as she seemed to have the slowest skis in that group, yet she finished in 5th after being towards the back for much of the race. Wonder if she would have challenged the Swedes with fresh skis.
 
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Usually skiers change skis in classic 30/50, so it was interesting so few did it. I assume Johaug didn't want to lose her advantage over the huge group of 20 people. And in that group most didn't want to drop behind the group, which would have happened with pitstop. It seems Swedes and Pärmäkoski were the only ones confident enough that they could catch that group again if they fell behind after ski change. Prior to pitstop they seemed like most active skiers in that group anyway, but found it hard to break away, so needed a change in strategy to deal with the group. So a lot of psychology at play there.
 
Interested to see what happens in Canmore for the end of the year races. There's a 10km individual skate and a 10km handicap pursuit. Will the race today still be in Johaug's mind two weeks from now?
The Canmore skating race will be a mass-start not an individual.

Anyway great to see Frida Karlsson back to her best one year after her fantastic World Championships. She can be a future World Cup winner in 2/3 years time. Good to see many nations in the top10 although that is due in large part to the lack of depth Norway has in the women's side, unlike in the men's where they are currently dominating the race and even Klaebo is hanging on.
 
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World Cup overall battles in biathlon are heating up.

Both Eckhoff (today 1st) and Öberg (2nd) have closed the gap on Wierer (5th).

JT.Bö (1st) has passed Fillon Maillet (8th) and taken back a lot of points from Fourcade (14th).

Of course looks like ski preparation has played a significant role this weekend too. Ukraine has been performing extremely well, already in yesterday's relays. Meanwhile French men struggled in relay and also in mass-start.
 
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Good to see many nations in the top10 although that is due in large part to the lack of depth Norway has in the women's side, unlike in the men's where they are currently dominating the race and even Klaebo is hanging on.
Well, among Norwegians Östberg was missing and for whatever reason Jacobsen and H.Weng failed, both outside top 10.

As for international skiers inside top 10, Lampic has made a massive step forward this year as a distance racer and she can survive 30 km pretty well too, as it turned out. And also Fähndrich I think finished 10th. She is in really good form right now, having been on the podium in two sprints recently too. Also I think two of the Finnish old guard (Kyllönen and Mononen) put in their best race of possibly the last 2 years, if not more. So yeah several skiers have peaked well for Holmenkollen.
 
Bolshunov got his tactics right. He changed skis at 37 or 37.2 km to be precise and had a good pair to work with. Maybe they weren't the best of the lot, but certainly skis was not going to be something that would bring him down today. Once he got to the head of the pack after that ski change, he was pushing the pace and it broke apart that leading group. Honestly though, on that last mini-loop of 3.6 km I thought Krüger was about to ski away, but Bolshunov was close enough to close up on the slip stream and he just had to stick in behind the Norwegian and outsprint him in the end.

Good to see the Norwegians humbled on their fabled turf once again.
 
Regarding biathlon, the week was almost perfect for the Norwegians, not only they only the two relays again, Johannes Boe is now only 43 points behind Fourcade and 10 ahead of Fillon Maillet, so with the advantage of not dropping any points in the two worst results having missing the German races so he will probably manage to win the World Cup. Having said that, the French had poor skis in the weekend races.

In the women's, Wierer still is around 70 points ahead of Eckhoff so I think there is a good chance Wierer wins the overall despite Eckhoff being the best athlete during most of the season. Öberg is close to Eckhoff so she still has a small chance too The Holmenkollen races can prove to be decisive for the final outcome of the World Cups so it would be a bummer if they end up cancelled.
 
In the women's, Wierer still is around 70 points ahead of Eckhoff so I think there is a good chance Wierer wins the overall despite Eckhoff being the best athlete during most of the season. Öberg is close to Eckhoff so she still has a small chance too
same as Fourcade on the men's side, also Wierer will lose (35) points though, and Eckhoff & Oeberg none. So it's actually fairly close between the three of them
 
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It's not Holmenkollen, if it's not foggy. That's part of the tradition already!

I would just mention that unlike last year's quadruple victory the second best Russian was just 14th this time. Apart from Bolshunov the other Russians are very inconsistent. They have a few races in a season in which they go really well and are podium-material. For the rest of the time they flatter to deceive.

Oh, and Norway couldn't quite get their entire national group into the WC points. Sprinter Valnes was left out (not sure, why he was included anyway).
 
Oh, and Norway couldn't quite get their entire national group into the WC points. Sprinter Valnes was left out (not sure, why he was included anyway).
It was a personal target for him (not to win of course, but to do a decent race) and he actually specifically prepared for it, but had to do 2k without a stick and another 4k with a wrong one, so that was his race done then
 
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Johannes Boe is now only 43 points behind Fourcade and 10 ahead of Fillon Maillet, so with the advantage of not dropping any points in the two worst results having missing the German races so he will probably manage to win the World Cup.
same as Fourcade on the men's side, also Wierer will lose (35) points though, and Eckhoff & Oeberg none. So it's actually fairly close between the three of them
Interesting that if you discount the two worst results of Fourcade, Bö is actually already leading the World Cup. So yeah... considering that Johannes is currently peerless in terms of ski speed, he would have to flop hard in some race to lose the overall. So in the end missing the German races haven't prevented him from reaching the top again.
 
the entire Norwegian cross country team will skip the trip to Canada/USA, if I understand this correctly

 
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Oh. This will mean that the North American races could be cancelled? This is really pushing FIS if the biggest stars are missing.

In biathlon I think Kontiolahti will still go ahead, but not convinced about Holmenkollen.

The winter season ends with a whimper. It's been a poor season anyway in terms of snow with the majority of events held with basically no natural snow. Now add the virus to cap off the season.

Nordic Combined season is already completed with another event cancelled at the end of the season. So in summary Riiber won almost everything, bar a few exceptions. And in races the podiums usually consisted of 2 Norwegians and 1 German. Only late in the season there were some exceptions to this trend.
 
Very surprised. I could understand the Italian team staying put, but the Norwegians? Didn't think that would happen. The Swedes and the Russians are already in Quebec, so they obviously didn't plan on skipping unless FIS and the organizers cancelled. What will FIS do now? I honestly don't think they will cancel or move it somewhere else. Holding the races in N. America was to boost the popularity of the sport there, especially in Minnesota, Diggins' home state.
 
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In fairness, Covid cases in Norway are skyrocketing. When you divide cases with population they are already in 3rd position among countries. I suspect Holmenkollen biathlon WC will be called off, so Kontiolahti is crucial in the outcome of the overall cup.
 

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