Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Brusson. Better tracks, it is A lot closer to Milano and has a biathlon venue, too. Would make so much more sense.
Problem is they already have two regional authorities involved in Lombardia and Veneto, and Brusson would necessitate a third (Aosta). Plus, you know full well that if they do go to Aosta they're more likely to let the biathletes have Brusson and put the XC in Cogne.

Val di Fiemme also has a biathlon venue - it hosted the Universiade in 2013, I believe, when the competition was relocated to Trentino. In fact, if Val di Fiemme also held the biathlon it would probably be the best thing for the XC, as the biathlon range is in the field adjacent to the main XC stadium, and would render it impossible to do the little loop they do that puts the Zorzi climb in at the end of the course. That could enable them to put more focus on some of the better climbs in the Val di Fiemme complex, such as Pojer, which I am a fan of. It's one of those where it looks like you can see the top when you're going up there but it's almost an optical illusion that means you get to the top and there's somehow a bit more to do. The flip side of this would be that the biathlon would be absolutely horrid, because they'd wind up going through the XC stadium to get to the biathlon range, leading to almost half a kilometre of flat entering the range - no thanks - and the stands would be a long way from the range, killing the atmosphere in what is likely to be the most popular event for the crowds in a Nordic discipline, unless some Italian interest develops in XC shortly.

The one thing that could really work for XC in Val di Fiemme in 2026, however, is if they are going to insist on maintaining the current format and doing the long distance race in mass start... Lago di Tesero is only just across the road from Cavalese, right? They could always just do the stadium part of the course a few times (preferably incorporating as many climbs as possible to keep it as tough as they can) then skiing along the Pista Ciclabile Valli di Fiemme i Fassa for 5km or so as they usually do from the stadium in the Alpe Cermis pursuit race, but instead following the Marcialonga course and finishing with the Salita della Cascata. You sure as hell won't see any sprint that way if they make the race properly hilly first.
 
Problem is they already have two regional authorities involved in Lombardia and Veneto, and Brusson would necessitate a third (Aosta). Plus, you know full well that if they do go to Aosta they're more likely to let the biathletes have Brusson and put the XC in Cogne.

Val di Fiemme also has a biathlon venue - it hosted the Universiade in 2013, I believe, when the competition was relocated to Trentino. In fact, if Val di Fiemme also held the biathlon it would probably be the best thing for the XC, as the biathlon range is in the field adjacent to the main XC stadium, and would render it impossible to do the little loop they do that puts the Zorzi climb in at the end of the course. That could enable them to put more focus on some of the better climbs in the Val di Fiemme complex, such as Pojer, which I am a fan of. It's one of those where it looks like you can see the top when you're going up there but it's almost an optical illusion that means you get to the top and there's somehow a bit more to do. The flip side of this would be that the biathlon would be absolutely horrid, because they'd wind up going through the XC stadium to get to the biathlon range, leading to almost half a kilometre of flat entering the range - no thanks - and the stands would be a long way from the range, killing the atmosphere in what is likely to be the most popular event for the crowds in a Nordic discipline, unless some Italian interest develops in XC shortly.

The one thing that could really work for XC in Val di Fiemme in 2026, however, is if they are going to insist on maintaining the current format and doing the long distance race in mass start... Lago di Tesero is only just across the road from Cavalese, right? They could always just do the stadium part of the course a few times (preferably incorporating as many climbs as possible to keep it as tough as they can) then skiing along the Pista Ciclabile Valli di Fiemme i Fassa for 5km or so as they usually do from the stadium in the Alpe Cermis pursuit race, but instead following the Marcialonga course and finishing with the Salita della Cascata. You sure as hell won't see any sprint that way if they make the race properly hilly first.
Tanks a lot for your long and detailed answer. I fear the wont change an anything for 2026 and Keep the current tracks, though. Cogne would be better, too. I know organizing Winter Games these days is hard, but the Distance between the venues in 2026 is just awful. Milano to Val di Fiemme is 300km. That is lunacy. To Brusson it is only 160km. Still a lot but way better. The Milano Madonna combination is beyond ridicilous.
 
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Well Libertine, tomorrow may be the last opportunity for Diggins to lose time and for the Russians and Swedes to make inroads, particularly Stupak and Nepryaeva (who skied a very intelligent race today to get the win and made significant inroads in the fight for the top spots). I thought there was a chance for Diggins to lose more time, like 30+ seconds on skiers like Andersson and Stupak, but didn’t quite happen. Brennan meanwhile lost her chance today. She was 2 minutes back and is now in 7th overall, after starting 2nd.

Bolshunov is the favorite tomorrow, maybe Retivykh could challenge, Pellegrino...but the tour is won anyway, unless he blows up on the final climb.
 
Tanks a lot for your long and detailed answer. I fear the wont change an anything for 2026 and Keep the current tracks, though. Cogne would be better, too. I know organizing Winter Games these days is hard, but the Distance between the venues in 2026 is just awful. Milano to Val di Fiemme is 300km. That is lunacy. To Brusson it is only 160km. Still a lot but way better. The Milano Madonna combination is beyond ridicilous.
The overall concept of the 2026 Olympics is actually not bad. They gave the events to places that are already hosting WC races on a regular basis and/or have the infrastructure in place, so that the costs will be minimized.

The Alpine Skiing fans will have something to cheer, the men get to ride downhill and Super-G in Bormio one one of the hardest downhill slopes, while the women get to ride on Cortina, one of the most iconic downhill slopes in women's skiing.
 
Curious to see that cross-country skiing and biathlon will be held in two different venues. Its the first time that I remember it happening.

Speaking about biathlon, it seems that the these Norwegian podiums will start to become the 'new normal' with Samuelsson losing some of his shape and French still too erratic. At least Johannes Boe has been shooting poorly which is allowing an incredible Sturla Laegreid to give him a good fight for the overall with Dale and Tarjei not too far behind either.

In the women's, Eckhoff continues her victorius run and she is now second overall not too far from Olsbu. Nice to see Hauser getting a podium too.
 
Curious to see that cross-country skiing and biathlon will be held in two different venues. Its the first time that I remember it happening.

Speaking about biathlon, it seems that the these Norwegian podiums will start to become the 'new normal' with Samuelsson losing some of his shape and French still too erratic. At least Johannes Boe has been shooting poorly which is allowing an incredible Sturla Laegreid to give him a good fight for the overall with Dale and Tarjei not too far behind either.

In the women's, Eckhoff continues her victorius run and she is now second overall not too far from Olsbu. Nice to see Hauser getting a podium too.
Although they were held in the same cities, Sochi-Laura and Pyeongchang-Alpensia both had separate stadia for biathlon and XC skiing. 2006 was the last time they were held in entirely separate venues, however, with biathlon in Cesana-San Sicario and XC at Pragelato.

With Germany lacking in superstars for the moment and Loginov below par, the men's has largely been a battle of Norway vs. France with the former coming out on top this season. Peiffer and Samuelsson have interjected a bit, but Sweden don't have a full top-down strong team to counter the Norwegians and French. As ever the women's competition is more open, it's just that two of the three strongest on the World Cup this season are Norwegian (at least since Tiril's comedy show in the first Kontiolahti weekend), and this impression is helped by iniconsiistent or under-strength shownigs from Wierer and Herrmann and the anonymity of previously significant contenders like Vittozzi and Fialková, and the Ukrainian team as a whole since it's more or less unchanged in a decade and they're all growing old together, like happened to German XC skiing.
 
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Well, Norway has achieved 38 podiums out of possible 78 this season in biathlon world cup. And if you factor out relays in which it's possible to get "only" 1 podium out of 3, then in individual races the podium-ratio for Norway has been just above 50%. Not sure if that has ever happened before.

Meanwhile in XC Maja Dahlqvist is the "Ebba Andersson of sprints" - lots of podiums, but no victory.
 
The Swedes were always going to be tough to beat in sprints, not a surprise to see them win. Not very good tactics employed by Stupak in the semis and Nepryaeva in the final. Rarely does one hold off those behind when there is such a significant draft effect. I also think the Swedes had the best skis all day.

Libertine, I am with you, I can’t stand Diggins’s fake expressions. It’s cringe.
 
And the men’s race was a bit of a circus in some of the heats, where nobody wanted to lead off the final descent into the stadium. Manificat may have secured a podium spot by finishing in 15th, on the flip side, Yakimushkin survives the falls in his heat but didn’t advance and Spitsov didn’t even make the top 30. Still, 5 seconds separate 2nd and 4th, and Spitsov is in 5th, 28 seconds behind Manificat. Cologna qualified solidly, but opted out of the heats due to not feeling great. He said he wasn’t sure if he’d start tomorrow. While he will be disappointed, I am sure he won’t be too distraught, he’s won the tour 4 times and he’s targeting the World’s next month. Plus he’ll be 35 in two months and he can’t recover as fast as he did 10 years ago.

I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, except that Bolshunov will easily win his 2nd tour.

On the women’s side Diggins has a 54 second lead over Stupak and 1:51 over Parmakoski, who has quietly moved up with each stage. Parmakoski is coming back from sickness earlier in the season and is a good climber, but Stupak has been very good in skate races this season and is in decent form. After that it’s Nepryaeva who had surprisingly strong climb up the Cermis last season to finish in 2nd overall, holding off Østberg and Weng. If she climbs like that again tomorrow, she may end up on the podium again. Andersson withdrew before the final stage last season due to a cold, when she had a shot at the podium. She’ll have another shot tomorrow. Wouldn’t be shocked to see her attack right from the start of the final climb. Sorina is the big unknown, but she looked good today, is light and has climbed well this season.
 
I think Spitsov will win tomorrow and move into 2nd overall. I wouldn't be surprised if he deliberately didn't make the heats.

On the women side, I have no idea who'll win. Maybe Stadlober or Sorina. Diggins is a big favorite to win the Tour, 54 seconds in a mass start is too big of an advantage IMO.
 
Mike Dixon was doing Eurosport International solo on the pursuits yesterday. It was a vast improvement as by and large he covered the action that was happening. Patrick is back today, and by the end of lap 1 he has:
  • explained that as Tandrevold has not yet won a race on the World Cup, she should take inspiration from Rosie Brennan
  • told Mike how he has been so impressed by Clare Egan this season and begged an explanation for why she fell 25 positions in the pursuit after a really good sprint
  • explained that she must have been staying up late to watch the highlights of the Tour de Ski and take inspiration from the American cross-country skiers.
  • completely ignored the shooting that is going on in order to talk about Diggins' and Brennan's results in the Tour de Ski.
It may be a bit of a misnomer because the American team was anonymous in the pursuit as Egan fell away from contention and Dunklee hadn't qualified for the pursuit, but the difference was night and day.
 
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I really dislike this change to a mass start format over the pursuit. Not as fun if a race at all.
They also widened the course and made it easier, the middle parts of the climb don’t seem to be as tough as they were, or maybe that’s just me. The mass start is actually harder for someone like Andersson, who can only really start to make inroads during the climb, whereas in a handicap start, she can start fast and try to keep that pace.

Unbelievable race from Claudel, it’s as if she was specifically targeting this race.
 
Mike Dixon was doing Eurosport International solo on the pursuits yesterday. It was a vast improvement as by and large he covered the action that was happening. Patrick is back today, and by the end of lap 1 he has:
  • explained that as Tandrevold has not yet won a race on the World Cup, she should take inspiration from Rosie Brennan
  • told Mike how he has been so impressed by Clare Egan this season and begged an explanation for why she fell 25 positions in the pursuit after a really good sprint
  • explained that she must have been staying up late to watch the highlights of the Tour de Ski and take inspiration from the American cross-country skiers.
  • completely ignored the shooting that is going on in order to talk about Diggins' and Brennan's results in the Tour de Ski.
It may be a bit of a misnomer because the American team was anonymous in the pursuit as Egan fell away from contention and Dunklee hadn't qualified for the pursuit, but the difference was night and day.
I wouldn’t bother watching British Eurosport, try finding a stream, try YouTube, the Russians usually post live coverage of the races, Eurosport and Match Tv. I can only imagine how much Dixon, Winterton and Goldstrom were hyperventilating during the tour, especially today. They don’t cheer on Musgrave and Young as much as they do Diggins and the Americans.
 
They also widened the course and made it easier, the middle parts of the climb don’t seem to be as tough as they were, or maybe that’s just me. The mass start is actually harder for someone like Andersson, who can only really start to make inroads during the climb, whereas in a handicap start, she can start fast and try to keep that pace.

Unbelievable race from Claudel, it’s as if she was specifically targeting this race.
Yup, I also find it entertaining to see the larger ones like the sprinters struggle going uphill and getting passed out by the better climbers. Don't really get that in the mass start. Bad decision to change that imo.
 
The Swedes were always going to be tough to beat in sprints, not a surprise to see them win. Not very good tactics employed by Stupak in the semis and Nepryaeva in the final. Rarely does one hold off those behind when there is such a significant draft effect. I also think the Swedes had the best skis all day.

Libertine, I am with you, I can’t stand Diggins’s fake expressions. It’s cringe.
Can we get Ustigov to put some glitter on his face and pull the same stupid faces when he comes back? That would be hillarious.
 

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