Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Startlist for now has him on with Retivykh against Klaebo/Valnes. Italians with De Fabiani and Pellegrino.
Yep. Watched an interview with Ustiugov after the race today and he said that he decided not to take part tomorrow because the leg injury he sustained two days before the sprint is still giving him pain, especially on the corners. That’s really disappointing. First of all for him because he’s had so many health issues the past couple of seasons. He made a great recovery from Coronavirus to getting himself to actually not only race, but to then make the World Cup team in Finland and Sweden, earn himself a ticket to Germany, getting fifth in the sprint... I really thought he’d be the X factor the Russians needed to challenge the Norwegians in the team events. Even an injured Ustiugov was better than everyone but three Norwegians and Bolshunov. I think without the injury he and Bolshunov would have had a shot at beating Klæbo and Valnes (or anyone else the Norwegians decided to put with Klaebo). I sincerely hope he’s in form and stays healthy next season and gets a medal or two in Beijing. He’s way too good not to have a Olympic medal. It may be his last chance.
 
Line-ups for team sprints are out.

So no Ustiugov. I thought he was rested from skiathlon with that purpose in mind, so does that mean his form isn't really good enough? Then Russia will need to make changes for 15 km given that behind Bolshunov others struggled. Belov will be left out of 15 km, I assume.

USA has no Diggins and has Brennan/Bjornsen instead (both of who rested today). A somewhat surprising turn of events. Also no Svahn for Sweden (which was perhaps expected based on sprint), which means that Sundling is probably likely to take the anchor leg of 4x5 km relay as well.

Anyway, quite a lot of team sprints have seen group finishes on world cup due to easy courses. Also Seefeld WCH was effectively a group finish. Given the conditions, I wonder if tomorrow gives the opportunity to create some gaps? As in Lahti '17/Pyeongchang '18 at least.
Ustiugov injured his left leg during a time trial two days before the sprint. He was in good form, judging from the sprint. I think his form was only going to improve with each day, unfortunately the injury prevents him from challenging. He said he was picked for the team but had to withdraw. Very surprising to see Brennan and Bjornsen. Clearly they are saving Diggins for the 10km (her best shot at a medal) and the relay. They probably hope that Brennan and Bjornsen can use their distance skills to improve with each leg and Bjornsen has a decent finish. Caldwell clearly not in form. She’s raced every single individual sprint at a major championship since 2013, but no team sprint.
 
Norway and Russia will be interesting to see how Klaebo and Bolshunov are recovered from today. Norway might have been better off since they have the depth to have let Klaebo or Iverson out of today and pair that person with Valnes. You'd still make Klaebo and Valnes favourites probably but I reckon Italy could pull an upset with a rested De Fabiani and Pellegrino
 
I don't understand the point of pairing Bolshunov with Retyvikh, especially giving Gleb the second leg. Retyvikh has since recently adopted the Borzakovskiy tactics of running at the snails pace in the beginning of every race and giving it all on the final stretch, however, that tactics is pointless in the team sprint because he'll just throw away any gap created by Bolshunov. I think they should've tried with Terentiev or even better with Maltsev. Oberstdorf sprint loop just doesn't suit Retyvikh at all.
 
I just noticed one completely ridiculous thing about the men's individual sprint final. Svensson actually didn't have bad skis, he had WRONG (skating instead of classics) skis . That's why he double polled the whole course and ended up dead last. Crazy mistake.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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I just noticed one completely ridiculous thing about the men's individual sprint final. Svensson actually didn't have bad skis, he had WRONG (skating instead of classics) skis . That's why he double polled the whole course and ended up dead last. Crazy mistake.
Yes they made the choice beforehand to try without wax. Futile in this course but I doubt he could have taken a medal anyway.
 
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I don't understand the point of pairing Bolshunov with Retyvikh, especially giving Gleb the second leg. Retyvikh has since recently adopted the Borzakovskiy tactics of running at the snails pace in the beginning of every race and giving it all on the final stretch, however, that tactics is pointless in the team sprint because he'll just throw away any gap created by Bolshunov. I think they should've tried with Terentiev or even better with Maltsev. Oberstdorf sprint loop just doesn't suit Retyvikh at all.
Yeah Ustiugov being out is a big loss for them. But it’s not like they don’t have other solid options. As you said, Terentjev and Maltsev wouldn’t have been bad choices. Terentjev has had good distance results so he has the endurance, he’s young, he’s fresh and he probably wants to do another race in his world Championship debut. Maltsev can sprint and he has the endurance as well, he already has a number of podiums in distance races, plus he is fresh and won the time trial before the opening race. A Terentjev and Maltsev pairing could get you a podium as well. After that you have Yakimushkin and Spitsov. Spitsov paired up with Bolshunov in Korea to win silver, skiing a very good final.
 
Battle between Norway and Russia in men's XC skiing, and Norway vs Sweden in the women's XC skiing reminds me a lot of the F1 battle between Mercedes and Ferrari in the recent years. Not only does Norway (Mercedes) have the stronger squad, but they keep winning the tactical battle as well. On an odd they when things don't go as smooth they'll make a mistake, but most of the time the mistakes are made by their opponents .

Just look at the Ustyugov example: they kept pressuring him to run the sprint, telling him that he can go home if doesn't run it etc... all it did was exaggerate his injury, eliminate him from the Team Sprint which was a far better race for them and the 15km where I think he really could've medaled and potentially giving him long term injury problems.
Now they put Retyvikh in the second leg with Bolshunov, additionally tiring Bolle in a pointless run for bronze medal at best! They don't put Spitsov in the skiathlon, but put an old guy Belov well past his prime who performed mediocre at best in the skating this season just because they have 3 groups and every group needs to be represented in a race. Just keep shooting themselves in the foot constantly.

EDIT: FIS did it again, men's Giant Slalom and Team Sprint collide, and once again Eurosport will broadcast the all important Giant Slalom race where you know Pinturault all but won both the small Crystal Globe in that discipline and an overall big Crystal Globe.

P.S. Speaking of F1, team USA surely looks really strong tomorrow - Schumacher and Hamilton.
 
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Battle between Norway and Russia in men's XC skiing, and Norway vs Sweden in the women's XC skiing reminds me a lot of the F1 battle between Mercedes and Ferrari in the recent years. Not only does Norway (Mercedes) have the stronger squad, but they keep winning the tactical battle as well. On an odd they when things don't go as smooth they'll make a mistake, but most of the time the mistakes are made by their opponents .

Just look at the Ustyugov example: they kept pressuring him to run the sprint, telling him that he can go home if doesn't run it etc... all it did was exaggerate his injury, eliminate him from the Team Sprint which was a far better race for them and the 15km where I think he really could've medaled and potentially giving him long term injury problems.
Now they put Retyvikh in the second leg with Bolshunov, additionally tiring Bolle in a pointless run for bronze medal at best! They don't put Spitsov in the skiathlon, but put an old guy Belov well past his prime who performed mediocre at best in the skating this season just because they have 3 groups and every group needs to be represented in a race. Just keep shooting themselves in the foot constantly.

EDIT: FIS did it again, men's Giant Slalom and Team Sprint collide, and once again Eurosport will broadcast the all important Giant Slalom race where you know Pinturault all but won both the small Crystal Globe in that discipline and an overall big Crystal Globe.

P.S. Speaking of F1, team USA surely looks really strong tomorrow - Schumacher and Hamilton.
Belov isn’t really that old. He’s 30. Cologna is 34, Roethe 32, Holund 31, Golberg 30, Sundby 36 (racing only because he’s the defending 15km champion, and to give him a nice send off before retirement). I expected him to be in the top 10, at least, so him not racing well is a surprise. He skied well in the time trial, he deserved a place in at least one race here. The surprise for me was Chervotkin. Should have only kept him for the 50km. Spitsov would have been a better choice, I think he could have kept the pace during the classic portion and been a factor in the skate portion. I don’t have a problem with that, but the time trial and giving Ustiugov the ultimatum that if he doesn’t race the sprint he would not race at all. Without the injury he races the team sprint which suits him more as it’s in skating and likely another race or even the relay. Ass you said, they aggravated the injury and now they are stuck with Retivykh who doesn’t have what it takes at this time. Hopefully Ustiugov’s injury gets resolved and doesn’t become chronic, because it could easily be career ending if it keeps recurring. Same thing in regard to Nepryaeva. IMO came back way too quickly. She fractured her hand in the Falun 10km on January 29 and less than a month later she’s racing. Doesn’t make sense to force it. They needed to put Stupak with Sorina or Matsokina. Nepryaeva didn’t need to race today if she was going to race tomorrow, and maybe Stupak should have skipped today’s race as well. The Swedes and Norwegians have two fresh skiers, so do the Swiss and the Americans. If they win medals in both the men’s and women’s races tomorrow I’ll be very impressed. Bolshunov may be what saves the Russians with his incredible consistency and strength.
 

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