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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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It's perhaps a bit early to distribute the relay legs (apart from Kläbo taking leg 4). Both Norway and Russia have easily at least 6 skiers, who can fit well into the relay team on their day. It will be a tough choice for both nations. And will be most likely decided based on the results at the world championships. For example you can't justify leaving out someone, who wins/podiums in skiathlon or 15 km. And we still have to wait and see, what Falun individual races bring. However, it does look like it's curtains for Ustiugov for this season. On this form he can't make it even into Russia's world cup team, let alone WCH team, where the national quota is smaller anyway.

Norway is in the same way spoilt for choice in men's biathlon, where they have 6 skiers, who can regularly compete for top 10 positions. Looks like Christiansen/Bjöntegaard may not get any races in WCH at all, unless one of the top 4 men in the world cup flops completely in sprint and pursuit, which of course can't be ruled out.

In women's competition it looks a bit more straightforward for the relay. TU.Weng, Johaug, Fossesholm, H.Weng for Norway with perhaps leg 1 being open here. Kalla, Karlsson, Andersson, Svahn for Sweden, with again perhaps leg 1 being open. I thought Kalla was completely out of it due to covid, but seems like she is firmly back in contention now.

Leg 1 is very open for the Norwegian woman's relay. T.U. Weng was unimpressive this weekend and there are a few contenders. Anna Svensdsen is good at classic and the distance suits her. The same with Katrine Harsem. Then there is Falla who seem to get in to form for the WCH as usual. I think the team management is still scratching their heads. What ever they end up with it will probably be good enough to beat Sweden.
 
Perhaps Krüger will be snubbed again, as he was 2 years ago, didn’t get to race the skiathlon or the relay. Iversen and Klæbo were taken for the skiathlon. And instead of Sundby (who took the second leg in Seefeld) it’ll likely be Golberg, which means Iversen for leg 1, Golberg 2, Røthe 3 and Klæbo 4. Maybe Iversen and Golberg swap places, maybe Holund is figured in, or Krüger, but I think that’s the most likely quarter at the moment, even with over a month to go before the relay.

The Russians have the same problem. Bolshunov like Klæbo is a shoe in, but after that who knows. On a pure talent level, I’d put Belov, Bolshunov, Spitsov and Ustiugov as the anchor. If fit and with optimal glide, they are more than capable of beating whatever team the Norwegians come up with.

I can't see past Semikov in the first leg. The guy is an absolute beast in the classics . No one can ski away from him in 10km surely.
 
I can't see past Semikov in the first leg. The guy is an absolute beast in the classics . No one can ski away from him in 10km surely.

That’s the thing though, they have options in both classic and skate. Larkov skied the opening leg the last 3 championships. Now that he’s just coming back from illness it’s unlikely he’ll be fit enough to race in Germany, which of course means no relay. I think he is even more solid than Semikov in that sort of situation. For classic you could put virtually anyone besides Spitsov and Melnichenko, though they’ve had some good classic races as well. That means Belov, Bolshunov, Semikov, Larkov, Yakimushkin, Chervotkin, Poroshkin (who has a 5th at the World Cup and was 9th in the Ruka 15km this season). Ardashev I thought would be another guy to be in the mix but he hasn’t had a great year and apparently he’ll focus on u23’s. He dominated the U23 15 km classic race last season, winning by a minute. Ustiugov, if he was healthy and fully fit could actually do a good classic leg, likely the scramble leg, but I doubt he’ll ever be put on one of the classic legs, even if he was fully fit. Bessmertnykh was sick as well (not from COVID) and he too hasn’t skied great, but could you imagine the dilemma with that many racers fully fit and able to race at a potential medal winning level? I still think Spitsov over Melnichenko/Yakimushkin/Belov/Chervotkinfor the third leg. What will they do with Bolshunov? Put him on the 2nd classic leg to break up the field (if it isn’t by the end of the 1st leg) and try to put time on Norway or to make up ground if the scramble leg skier loses touch? Or the third leg? Or the fourth leg where he is clearly the 2nd best distance finisher on that team after Ustiugov? That’s assuming that Ustiugov doesn’t make the team (that seems likely after his relay leg yesterday).
 
That’s the thing though, they have options in both classic and skate. Larkov skied the opening leg the last 3 championships. Now that he’s just coming back from illness it’s unlikely he’ll be fit enough to race in Germany, which of course means no relay. I think he is even more solid than Semikov in that sort of situation. For classic you could put virtually anyone besides Spitsov and Melnichenko, though they’ve had some good classic races as well. That means Belov, Bolshunov, Semikov, Larkov, Yakimushkin, Chervotkin, Poroshkin (who has a 5th at the World Cup and was 9th in the Ruka 15km this season). Ardashev I thought would be another guy to be in the mix but he hasn’t had a great year and apparently he’ll focus on u23’s. He dominated the U23 15 km classic race last season, winning by a minute. Ustiugov, if he was healthy and fully fit could actually do a good classic leg, likely the scramble leg, but I doubt he’ll ever be put on one of the classic legs, even if he was fully fit. Bessmertnykh was sick as well (not from COVID) and he too hasn’t skied great, but could you imagine the dilemma with that many racers fully fit and able to race at a potential medal winning level? I still think Spitsov over Melnichenko/Yakimushkin/Belov/Chervotkinfor the third leg. What will they do with Bolshunov? Put him on the 2nd classic leg to break up the field (if it isn’t by the end of the 1st leg) and try to put time on Norway or to make up ground if the scramble leg skier loses touch? Or the third leg? Or the fourth leg where he is clearly the 2nd best distance finisher on that team after Ustiugov? That’s assuming that Ustiugov doesn’t make the team (that seems likely after his relay leg yesterday).

Poroshkin has a problem, apparently Russia can only register 12 athletes in men races at the World Champs.

  1. Bolshunov
  2. Yakimushkin
  3. Maltsev
  4. Spitsov
  5. Belov
  6. Chervotkin
  7. Melnichenko
  8. Semikov
  9. Retykikh

are locked

then you have

10. Ustyugov

and only 2 places left for Terentiev, Ardashev, Larkov and Poroshkin.


Considering Poroshkin's main goal of the season is the 50km classics. I think he gets the 11th place, but still stays out of the relay.

About Bolshunov, I'd even consider not putting him in the relay at all if Ustyugov is in any kind of decent form. Bolshunov is not going to beat Klaebo in a sprint after 10km, he can't ski away from any of the Norwegians too. Best scenario with him is a silver medal, but after what he's done yesterday and having in mind that he'll race all the indivual races in the WC, it could be the best to leave him out.
 
About Bolshunov, I'd even consider not putting him in the relay at all if Ustyugov is in any kind of decent form. Bolshunov is not going to beat Klaebo in a sprint after 10km, he can't ski away from any of the Norwegians too. Best scenario with him is a silver medal, but after what he's done yesterday and having in mind that he'll race all the indivual races in the WC, it could be the best to leave him out.

If Bolshunov is going to skip a race in WCH, I think it would make most sense if it was team sprint. Also just like in Seefeld skiathlon and team sprint are in consecutive days in Oberstdorf. And in Seefeld both Kläbo and Iversen were basically walking through the skiathlon at pedestrian pace to save energy for team sprint. I hope this time countries are going to make more sensible decisions with their selections for races. There is no point in exhausting someone in everything and skiers not giving their all in some disciplines.
 
If Bolshunov is going to skip a race in WCH, I think it would make most sense if it was team sprint. Also just like in Seefeld skiathlon and team sprint are in consecutive days in Oberstdorf. And in Seefeld both Kläbo and Iversen were basically walking through the skiathlon at pedestrian pace to save energy for team sprint. I hope this time countries are going to make more sensible decisions with their selections for races. There is no point in exhausting someone in everything and skiers not giving their all in some disciplines.

What you're saying makes perfect sense, however, the only person Bolshunov actually has any kind of relationship in the team is Retivykh. He basically doesn't even communicate with most of the other athletes from Russia (that also has a lot to do with them having different training groups within their squad, but also with his personality). For example, most of them didn't even congratulate him when he won the World Cup last season. And after the events from yesterday, he does have to endure some kind of penalty from Russia as well, even though they're not going to say it so openly. I still think Vyalbe will punish him in some way.
 
What you're saying makes perfect sense, however, the only person Bolshunov actually has any kind of relationship in the team is Retivykh. He basically doesn't even communicate with most of the other athletes from Russia (that also has a lot to do with them having different training groups within their squad, but also with his personality). For example, most of them didn't even congratulate him when he won the World Cup last season. And after the events from yesterday, he does have to endure some kind of penalty from Russia as well, even though they're not going to say it so openly. I still think Vyalbe will punish him in some way.
Yeah, during the last few years I got the feeling that Ustigov for example likes Klaebo more than him. From what Ive heard from Cramer Bolshunov has actually calmed down a lot after getting married, the guy is impulsive and super competitive.
Before you couldnt even speak to him for a few hours after he lost a race.
 
Yeah, during the last few years I got the feeling that Ustigov for example likes Klaebo more than him. From what Ive heard from Cramer Bolshunov has actually calmed down a lot after getting married, the guy is impulsive and super competitive.
Before you couldnt even speak to him for a few hours after he lost a race.

Usyugov maybe likes Iversen more, but definitely not Klaebo. He holds quite a few grudges against him as well. He did something similar to Bolshunov's bodycheck to Klaebo in Seefeld after he cut him and eliminated him in the semis at the World Champs, only he just kinda shaked Klaebo a bit, not a full force impact like Alex.
 
Usyugov maybe likes Iversen more, but definitely not Klaebo. He holds quite a few grudges against him as well. He did something similar to Bolshunov's bodycheck to Klaebo in Seefeld after he cut him and eliminated him in the semis at the World Champs, only he just kinda shaked Klaebo a bit, not a full force impact like Alex.
Yeah, no idea if they they were able to talk that one out, Cramer himself called it a normal racing incident. Before that one I remember Ustigov congratlating Klaebo for winning the Tour de Ski. Clearly they weren't as close as Ustiugov and Pellegrino, but I always had the feeling that he'd rather loose to him than to Bolshunov.
I refuse to believe that anyone actually likes Iversen, I kinda dislike the guy.
 
Yeah, no idea if they they were able to talk that one out, Cramer himself called it a normal racing incident. Before that one I remember Ustigov congratlating Klaebo for winning the Tour de Ski. Clearly they weren't as close as Ustiugov and Pellegrino, but I always had the feeling that he'd rather loose to him than to Bolshunov.
I refuse to believe that anyone actually likes Iversen, I kinda dislike the guy.


Ustyugov talks how Iversen sends him some pictures :D
 
Bolshunov's statement about the incident:

"Of course. I understand that it was wrong to do what I did after the finish. I regret what I did, this will not happen again.

When I crossed the line, I wanted to talk to Mäki about what happened before that and why he did what he did. The skis rolled fast, and when I tried to stop, the mount was broken. I wasn't going to bump into him, I just wanted to talk.

I saw a record of how Mäki acted before the finish, and I don’t think it was fair play. He deliberately blocked me, which is not fair. I still think so."

I think the story is done now.
 
Again, not even giving Mäki a verbal warning is ridiculous. He moved over purposely to his right when he saw that Bolshunov was coming faster on that side. I don’t know what Mignerey and the jury were thinking about. Perhaps Bolshunov’s reaction to it is what prompted them to do nothing. I think if Bolshunov just got on with it and the Russians filed a protest they could have had a shot at convincing the jury to penalize the Finn.
 
Poroshkin has a problem, apparently Russia can only register 12 athletes in men races at the World Champs.

  1. Bolshunov
  2. Yakimushkin
  3. Maltsev
  4. Spitsov
  5. Belov
  6. Chervotkin
  7. Melnichenko
  8. Semikov
  9. Retykikh

are locked

then you have

10. Ustyugov

and only 2 places left for Terentiev, Ardashev, Larkov and Poroshkin.


Considering Poroshkin's main goal of the season is the 50km classics. I think he gets the 11th place, but still stays out of the relay.

About Bolshunov, I'd even consider not putting him in the relay at all if Ustyugov is in any kind of decent form. Bolshunov is not going to beat Klaebo in a sprint after 10km, he can't ski away from any of the Norwegians too. Best scenario with him is a silver medal, but after what he's done yesterday and having in mind that he'll race all the indivual races in the WC, it could be the best to leave him out.

Bolshunov needs to be in the relay. Its a more important race than the team sprint and he is Russia's best skier and the only one that can put a sizeable gap on the Norwegians. However I think that their best strategy would be put him in the second leg and then hope that the last skiers are anle to hold the gap, in this scenario Spitsov and Ustuygov at their would be quite important although the latter one is very far from that point.

Regarding the Norwegians I am actually curious to see if they will send both Klaebo and Iversen to the skiathlon and team sprint or if Iversen decides to skip the team sprint or Klaebo the skiathlon (although its probably his best shot of winning a long distance race in a World Championships).
 
Bolshunov needs to be in the relay. Its a more important race than the team sprint and he is Russia's best skier and the only one that can put a sizeable gap on the Norwegians. However I think that their best strategy would be put him in the second leg and then hope that the last skiers are anle to hold the gap, in this scenario Spitsov and Ustuygov at their would be quite important although the latter one is very far from that point.

Regarding the Norwegians I am actually curious to see if they will send both Klaebo and Iversen to the skiathlon and team sprint or if Iversen decides to skip the team sprint or Klaebo the skiathlon (although its probably his best shot of winning a long distance race in a World Championships).


Klaebo said he plans to participate in all events except the 15km individual. I expect Klaebo and Valnes to team up in the Team Sprint.

It's very interesting how he chooses the races he wants to take part in all the while the rest of the team need to battle it out in the Norwegian Champs and the World Cup races for the place in the race.
 
Well, two years ago in Seefeld, Bolshunov did every single race. The coaches and he decided to enter the 50km at last minute, hence he was wearing bib 22, and he was the strongest skier in the race, only poor tactics by the Russians prevented him from winning the race, with due respect to Holund. He raced the sprint when there was no real reason. Yes he can challenge in skate sprints as well, as we’ve seen plenty of times, but that was his worst race at a major championship, he barely qualified (29th) and he was eliminated in the semis. Ustiugov voluntarily took himself out of the team sprint as he felt he wasn’t going to be good enough for the classic races, and Bolshunov was the next obvious choice so he was moved to the anchor leg. He should have missed the sprint and focused on the skiathlon which was the race after the sprint. This time around it’ll be a classic sprint so he’s got a better chance but I don’t see anyone beating Klæbo, the second steep climb and the subsequent downhill into the finish straight suits Kæbo to a T and if his skis are as they usually are he’ll win it. I think if Bolshunov misses a race it’ll be the team sprint or sprint, maybe even both. He’ll want an individual gold and team gold so they’ll want to keep him fresh, but again, he was more than good enough to win at least one race in Seefeld. He lost the skiathlon, team sprint, and 50km due to poor tactics.

If the pace is high throughout the skiathlon and 50km, I don’t see how Klæbo will contend in either of those two. The Oberstdorf classic portion is tougher than the Seefeld classic portion so I could see the group splintering earlier than normal. The relay will be played out as normal, if Klæbo is the anchor. The Norwegians won’t really attack, they’ll just make sure that Klæbo is with the leaders and wait for the sprint. Ustiugov was sick during the relay in Seefeld and Klæbo hardly had to do anything.
 
It's perhaps a bit early to distribute the relay legs (apart from Kläbo taking leg 4). Both Norway and Russia have easily at least 6 skiers, who can fit well into the relay team on their day. It will be a tough choice for both nations. And will be most likely decided based on the results at the world championships. For example you can't justify leaving out someone, who wins/podiums in skiathlon or 15 km. And we still have to wait and see, what Falun individual races bring. However, it does look like it's curtains for Ustiugov for this season. On this form he can't make it even into Russia's world cup team, let alone WCH team, where the national quota is smaller anyway.

Norway is in the same way spoilt for choice in men's biathlon, where they have 6 skiers, who can regularly compete for top 10 positions. Looks like Christiansen/Bjöntegaard may not get any races in WCH at all, unless one of the top 4 men in the world cup flops completely in sprint and pursuit, which of course can't be ruled out.

In women's competition it looks a bit more straightforward for the relay. TU.Weng, Johaug, Fossesholm, H.Weng for Norway with perhaps leg 1 being open here. Kalla, Karlsson, Andersson, Svahn for Sweden, with again perhaps leg 1 being open. I thought Kalla was completely out of it due to covid, but seems like she is firmly back in contention now.

On the biathlon, whilst I think Laegreid, Tarjei and JTB are instant picks (although mixed and single relay will be interesting on which they choose), I think Dale won't race every race. I could easily see Christensen taken over him in the individual and relay. Dale's recent relay performances have been poor.
 
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On the biathlon, whilst I think Laegreid, Tarjei and JTB are instant picks (although mixed and single relay will be interesting on which they choose), I think Dale won't race every race. I could easily see Christensen taken over him in the individual and relay. Dale's recent relay performances have been poor.

I think it will depend on the outcome of sprint/pursuit. If Dale medals there, Norway can't in any way justify leaving him out of the team. Usually relay selections are made based on current form, or at least the most recent evidence of current form. Jacquelin also had some relay blunders early in the season, but he wasn't going to be left out of the team.

If Dale struggles to get into top10 in sprint/pursuit, I can see Christiansen taking over for individual. And if he gets into top 6 there, this may open the door for him for relay. But first we have to wait and see the outcome of races. It's biathlon after all, which means anything can happen (well, almost).
 
True. If I was them, I'd go Christensen and put him on leg 1 where his lesser ski speed isn't as much of an issue. He's a better shooter and more reliable. Same with the individual but does depend on the sprint and pursuit of course which Dale will race.

Bjoentegaard is gone to the European Championships so I'm assuming he's been told he won't be making the team for the Worlds and probably go the IBU cup races instead in that period.
 
Once again those big, bad, dirty Russians. Nobody else involved in the 25 years Besseberg was president. Not the Germans, or Norwegians or French or Swedes, nobody, just Russians. And all of this, once again, close to another major championships, and a year before the next Olympics. What sort of penalties will the IOC, Wada, the US and UK dish out this time?

Who were those that retired suspiciously early? Ekholm? Neuner? Soukalova? Dahlmeier?
 
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Once again those big, bad, dirty Russians. Nobody else involved in the 25 years Besseberg was president. Not the Germans, or Norwegians or French or Swedes, nobody, just Russians. And all of this, once again, close to another major championships, and a year before the next Olympics. What sort of penalties will the IOC, Wada, the US and UK dish out this time?

Who were those that retired suspiciously early? Ekholm? Neuner? Soukalova? Dahlmeier?

Well. He might not be a skier, but there seem to be a dirty norwegian involved.

I realize now I should probably have posted this in the XC skiing clinic thread, but I wasn't really thinking about
actual doping as much as the dirtyness of Anders Besseberg.

Should I delete post or can a mod move it?
 
Well. He might not be a skier, but there seem to be a dirty norwegian involved.

I realize now I should probably have posted this in the XC skiing clinic thread, but I wasn't really thinking about
actual doping as much as the dirtyness of Anders Besseberg.

Should I delete post or can a mod move it?

Probably, but it’s funny how that report seems more fixated on Besseberg’s extra curricular activities rather than his Biathlon activities. LOL
 
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Huge gaps today. You dont see gaps leke that in a 15km race too often anymore. Still I dont understand why this cant be a 30km race. You have a 15km race tomorrow. For gods sake mix it up a little bit. It`s so boring.

That's what moden skiing has become.
Interval starts and longer distances are quite revealing, mass starts masks the huge differences in quality.
Anything to desperately keep up some interest outside 2 or 3 nations.

Extremely impressive by Bolshunov. As per usual.
I have a strong feeling the podium in the World Championships will be the same as today with the same winner if waxing doesn't become an issue.
 
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