Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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The majority of biathletes started off as xc skiers. Quite a few moved on because they simply weren’t competitive enough either at the National or international levels. You can visually see the ski speed differential. Yes, we discussed this last season and I haven’t changed my mind. As far as Egan is concerned I think it’s best left for the clinic, as would Dunklee from 3-4 years ago.
 
I just think you overrate the depth of cross-country skiing. Of course the best cross-country skiers are better skiers than the best biathletes, but the drop-off after those first few talents is huge in the women's field, and a lot of the biathletes fit into that area. I mean, I know it's impacted by the fact that Finland (praise be to Finland!) are still loyalists to classic technique and distance skiing, but Mari Eder frequently beats all their World Cup names in sprints and her average ski rank in biathlon is 22.15, setting one (1) best ski time, back in 2016-17. In Norway or Sweden biathletes may come from uncompetitive cross-country skiers, but in most of mainland Europe it's simply not the case, and you'd have to be a cross-country outlier to the extent of Justyna Kowalczyk to justify not considering picking up the rifle if you're not from one of the countries with a huge budgetary advantage. Célia Aymonier was around the 25th kind of level as a XC skier, and her average course time rank as a biathlete was 9th. She improved from her first season to her third and then she stayed at around that level.

It also appears that you 'freeze' an athlete's development at the point they leave cross-country until shown otherwise such as with Egan, so that Herrmann must have consistently skied at her 2015-16 level as a biathlete (as well as overrating her skiing as a biathlete). Why couldn't she have returned to her 2013-14 level? She improved her skiing relative to the field from 2016-17 to 2017-18, then has stayed at a similar level with the retirements of Kuzmina and Mäkäräinen nudging her up the charts, before dropping away this year. Aymonier's big improvement comes in 2017-18, rather than in 2018-19 as we might expect were those retirements the cause, so she clearly took a step up in her ski level in her third season as a biathlete.

Marte Olsbu Røiseland and Tiril Eckhoff are two of the fastest biathletes out there, and they would have no business being part of a Norwegian XC relay. But for Germany, or Italy, or the Czech Republic, or Belarus, or Austria, or Slovakia (at least until this season)... hell, maybe even France, I reckon at least one biathlete would improve their XC women's relays, and potentially considerably.

The American ability to be completely anonymous all season and then raise their abilities for major championships is suspect as all hell, Hochfilzen 2017 was particularly notable for that, though at least Bailey needed the 100% shooting for his gold. Bearing in mind how completely abysmal Dunklee has been this season, if she pulls her usual trick and starts to be setting top 10-15 ski times in Pokljuka then we can meet in the Clinic for sure.
 
I'd think Eckhoff and JTB would compete relatively well in cross country tbh. Neither makes the Norwegian teams, bar maybe odd races, but I think both would grab some top 10s if racing regularly there. I'm pretty sure some of the faster skiers for countries with not as much talent there would make their teams. Thinking likes of Hofer for Italy or Ponsilouma would make their teams never mind athletew from smaller countries like Davidova
 
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Célia Aymonier was around the 25th kind of level as a XC skier, and her average course time rank as a biathlete was 9th.
I think that's a pretty decent guesstimate, where the biathletes could sit as XC skiers. They aren't going to threaten podiums, but a number of them would be achieving world cup points. It's not that difficult to reach top 30 on XC world level these days, as long as you are a reasonably decent skier.

For example looking at France, they have only one decent female XC skier currently in Claudel. The rest of the 4x5 km relay team could easily consist of Simon, Braisaz and Chevalier (well, on second thoughts, maybe not for the classic leg...). It's not like other French women are scoring world cup points these days. Also for example Davidova would give Razymova a run for her money in terms of who would be the best Czech XC skier. Etc.
 
I think that's a pretty decent guesstimate, where the biathletes could sit as XC skiers. They aren't going to threaten podiums, but a number of them would be achieving world cup points. It's not that difficult to reach top 30 on XC world level these days, as long as you are a reasonably decent skier.

For example looking at France, they have only one decent female XC skier currently in Claudel. The rest of the 4x5 km relay team could easily consist of Simon, Braisaz and Chevalier (well, on second thoughts, maybe not for the classic leg...). It's not like other French women are scoring world cup points these days. Also for example Davidova would give Razymova a run for her money in terms of who would be the best Czech XC skier. Etc.
Maybe in skate races could Davidova challenge Razymova, but what about classic? And French xc is losing a lot of their skiers to biathlon, likewise other countries.
 
I'd think Eckhoff and JTB would compete relatively well in cross country tbh. Neither makes the Norwegian teams, bar maybe odd races, but I think both would grab some top 10s if racing regularly there. I'm pretty sure some of the faster skiers for countries with not as much talent there would make their teams. Thinking likes of Hofer for Italy or Ponsilouma would make their teams never mind athletew from smaller countries like Davidova
Hofer was mentioned by Roland Clara as one of the Biathllon guys who could make it in XC skiing and let's not pretend that the Italian XC skiing team has more depth than the Biathlon team.
The Austrians Eberhard and Landi (before his back problems) would also have been on the XC skiing team (not that impressive, the men haven't been great since Joe Dürr and we all know what happened when they were decent...).


So someone from Austria has suddenly improved massively in an endurance sport again. Wonder how long it's gonna take this time.
Biathlon isn't XC skiing, so the Austrian's should be fine, fingers crossed.;)
 
Hofer was mentioned by Roland Clara as one of the Biathllon guys who could make it in XC skiing and let's not pretend that the Italian XC skiing team has more depth than the Biathlon team.
The Austrians Eberhard and Landi (before his back problems) would also have been on the XC skiing team (not that impressive, the men haven't been great since Joe Dürr and we all know what happened when they were decent...).



Biathlon isn't XC skiing, so the Austrian's should be fine, fingers crossed.;)
Depth wise it probably ain't much different at the top level at least on the men's side.

It's basically Pellegrino and de Fabiani Vs Hofer and Windisch. Women are much stronger in biathlon
 
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Yeah now Hauser doesn’t need to hit clean to get on the podium. What was her ski time, I wonder?
Course times:
1 Denise Herrmann 37'18,0
2 Marte Olsbu Røiseland +4,9
3 Tiril Eckhoff +7,8
4 Lisa Theresa Hauser +20,7
5 Dorothea Wierer +34,8
6 Katharina Innerhofer +41,6
7 Lisa Vittozzi +47,3
7= Julia Simon +47,3
9 Dzinara Alimbekava +50,3
10 Franziska Preuß +51,1

Real outlier for Lisa, though, before this season she'd set 9 top 20 course times, the pursuit in Kontiolahti earlier this season was her first top 10 although it's worth noting the frequency of top 20s had been improving over the last year or two. She normally settles lower end of the top 10 for ski time this season so this is an outlier. Innerhofer was also noticeably quick which could suggest good skis in the Austrian team as well, but she's typically in the 10-20 ski time area and erratic in the range. Historically she skis above her norm in Individuals, however, so she's probably better at dealing with the distance. The whole women's team has raised its game this year though.
Maybe in skate races could Davidova challenge Razymova, but what about classic? And French xc is losing a lot of their skiers to biathlon, likewise other countries.
Sure, but when we're judging the standards of biathletes as skiers we can only really judge their skate because they don't train for classic, and so in terms of judging them, we're better off going from the viewpoint of drafting them in as a ringer in a 15/10 free or on a skate relay leg, since those are where biathletes are most likely to be effective in cross-country, and where they have by and large been deployed in the past. Davidová's classic technique would not be of any more relevance than Razymová's shooting unless she chose to become an XC athlete full time because the Czechs would be insane to use her in Classic races unless it was an obligation thing to get her into the race she was targeting, like how you have to do the road race to enter the time trial in the Olympics. A bit like how some XC skiers are specialists in classic technique, or only enter distance races, or only enter sprints, biathletes could get some good results if deployed favourably.

Regards the French, this is precisely illustrating the point - all of the French biathletes mentioned would improve the current French XC team, and could score a decent haul of World Cup points, but not threaten more than the occasional bottom end top 10 if conditions fell right on the day or in one of those World Cups after the Tour de Ski or before a major championship where some of the elites don't compete. And rather than be a sport for failed XC skiers, these are skiers who would be among France's elites but are targeting biathlon; instead, recently, we've actually seen the French XC team attempting to replenish its number out of failed biathletes, which is an alarming sign.
 
Course times:
1 Denise Herrmann 37'18,0
2 Marte Olsbu Røiseland +4,9
3 Tiril Eckhoff +7,8
4 Lisa Theresa Hauser +20,7
5 Dorothea Wierer +34,8
6 Katharina Innerhofer +41,6
7 Lisa Vittozzi +47,3
7= Julia Simon +47,3
9 Dzinara Alimbekava +50,3
10 Franziska Preuß +51,1

Real outlier for Lisa, though, before this season she'd set 9 top 20 course times, the pursuit in Kontiolahti earlier this season was her first top 10 although it's worth noting the frequency of top 20s had been improving over the last year or two. She normally settles lower end of the top 10 for ski time this season so this is an outlier. Innerhofer was also noticeably quick which could suggest good skis in the Austrian team as well, but she's typically in the 10-20 ski time area and erratic in the range. Historically she skis above her norm in Individuals, however, so she's probably better at dealing with the distance. The whole women's team has raised its game this year though.

Sure, but when we're judging the standards of biathletes as skiers we can only really judge their skate because they don't train for classic, and so in terms of judging them, we're better off going from the viewpoint of drafting them in as a ringer in a 15/10 free or on a skate relay leg, since those are where biathletes are most likely to be effective in cross-country, and where they have by and large been deployed in the past. Davidová's classic technique would not be of any more relevance than Razymová's shooting unless she chose to become an XC athlete full time because the Czechs would be insane to use her in Classic races unless it was an obligation thing to get her into the race she was targeting, like how you have to do the road race to enter the time trial in the Olympics. A bit like how some XC skiers are specialists in classic technique, or only enter distance races, or only enter sprints, biathletes could get some good results if deployed favourably.

Regards the French, this is precisely illustrating the point - all of the French biathletes mentioned would improve the current French XC team, and could score a decent haul of World Cup points, but not threaten more than the occasional bottom end top 10 if conditions fell right on the day or in one of those World Cups after the Tour de Ski or before a major championship where some of the elites don't compete. And rather than be a sport for failed XC skiers, these are skiers who would be among France's elites but are targeting biathlon; instead, recently, we've actually seen the French XC team attempting to replenish its number out of failed biathletes, which is an alarming sign.
Well we won’t know because the vast majority of biathletes that switched from xc switched in their teenage years, and they rarely ski against their xc counterparts. Sometimes the Norwegian biathletes show up in Beito in mid November.
 
too bad Russian media doesn't have this with Loginov

Pavlova is pretty funny, she would probably be quite popular if she could speak English or German. Most of the Russians from east of the Urals don't speak any other languages though, whereas people like Eliseev, Babikov and Yurlova-Percht do their interviews in English and take part in the IBU's little light relief segments which means they get to show a bit more personality to the general audience.
 
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Well we won’t know because the vast majority of biathletes that switched from xc switched in their teenage years, and they rarely ski against their xc counterparts. Sometimes the Norwegian biathletes show up in Beito in mid November.
We've seen in the past Bjoerndalen and Berger compete decently in races when pulled in to XC and if anything cross country is weaker now on the men's side so I see no reason JTB couldn't come in and race a freestyle leg of the relay and be competitive. Not sure he can do a Berger and win a gold at the individual race in the world's but I think he'd definitely be very competitive.
 
Pavlova is pretty funny, she would probably be quite popular if she could speak English or German. Most of the Russians from east of the Urals don't speak any other languages though, whereas people like Eliseev, Babikov and Yurlova-Percht do their interviews in English and take part in the IBU's little light relief segments which means they get to show a bit more personality to the general audience.
yeah, the comment was more about Loginov than her (I liked the gif, and that's basically all I know about Pavlova), as there were some stories in Russian media over the past days, that they expect Italian police to turn up and apologise to Loginov, and stuff like that. So them celebrating Loginov's win in a bit of a cheeky way would have been quite fitting
 
Ronny Andre Hafsås won a 15km at the Beito World Cup in 2009, the very first race of the season in the WC. He also skied on the winking relay team the next day. Lars Berger won the 15km at the Sapporo Worlds and the relay, and also won gold in the 2005 relay in Oberstdorf. Also raced in the Vancouver relay where the Norwegians finished 2nd. Bjørndalen won a 15km in Gällivare in 2006 and the relay the next day, if memory serves me right. Also raced the 30km in Salt Lake in 2002. Frode Andresen did some WC races as well.
 
Fossesholm away. Heidi settling in in her usual place among the first set of chasers. Very few Norwegians in the Nepryaeva/Parmakoski group, otherwise it'd absolutely be normal service resumed, except Fossesholm is in Østberg's usual spot. Eurosport blaming the skis for why Diggins isn't winning, again.

Heidi trying to get away and lock out the podium... she doesn't, but she wins the sprint for 3rd anyway.
 
Fossesholm away. Heidi settling in in her usual place among the first set of chasers. Very few Norwegians in the Nepryaeva/Parmakoski group, otherwise it'd absolutely be normal service resumed, except Fossesholm is in Østberg's usual spot. Eurosport blaming the skis for why Diggins isn't winning, again.

Heidi trying to get away and lock out the podium... she doesn't, but she wins the sprint for 3rd anyway.
I'll say this, at least Fossesholm has great technique and looks smooth on the skis.
 
Johaug won. Color me surprised. Diggins had some of the best skis race after race, and she had optimal skis today as well. But it’s predictable that Dixon and Winterton would blame the skis/wax. I am surprised that Diggins stuck in there the whole of the classic portion. Nepryaeva looked good during the classic half, but it’s obvious her form still isn’t where it needs to be or where she’s capable of being. Very impressed by Kalla. She had a tough spell with the Coronavirus from what I’ve heard and she’s already back in the thick of the action on the WC. The relay tomorrow should be interesting. By the looks of it the Norwegians are favorites, as long as whoever they put in the first classic leg (or second, depending on which one Johaug does) doesn’t lose too much time. The Americans have two top 10 women in Brennan and Diggins but without Swirbul and Bjornsen (she’s coming back next week in Falun) I don’t see how they’ll figure in the medals. No Karlsson for Sweden but they’ll be in the mix. Then it’s Russia and Finland. That’ll be the top five, with Norway winning, I am certain.

Just looking at the start lists last night, apart from the Germans (and there’s only a few of them in Lahti) there were no Central Europeans. Only 49 women in the final result. There are a lot of reasons for that or potential reasons.
 
Also some new from Russia, just a couple days ago they announced that Stupak caught a cold so she’s staying home and will come back in Falun. Zhambalova had two tests for Corona and both came positive (asymptomatic) so she’s in quarantine. Sorina injured her knee while jogging. She may be out for the rest of the season or best case scenario she makes it back for the World championships in one month. Three of their top women and likely their relay quarter for Germany is missing. The other woman that hasn’t been back yet on the WC is Sedova (now Kuleshova). Sedova is a big miss for them, even with Sorina being such a revelation this season.
 
We're now being told the reason the Norwegians stopped coming to the World Cup is because they were mortified at how lax the Covid controls were in Ruka. Which is interesting because obviously the Ruka season opening also includes ski jumping and NoCo, and the Norwegians didn't disappear from the World Cup in either of those sports, so if there was any issue with FIS' care it is given the lie by the other groups falling under the Norwegian ski federation continuing to compete... and if it was to do with the organisers of those specific events, it is given the lie by them then not competing at all until the World Cup returns to Finland.
 
I've ccome to the conclusion that the races in Toblach would be much better if they did the long lap the other way around, the 3 longer climbs would come in the 2nd half of the lap.
So far the Germans are looking pretty good in the classic part of the Skiathlon, 4 guys in the top 20.
 

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