Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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From the Russians guys like Maltsev and Spitsov who'll only race 1 or 2 races at the Olympics are the only ones who should race the whole Tour.
Yes, I think those two will be good candidates to do the whole tour, at the same time though, the format doesn't suit either of them too well, particularly Spitsov. Two distance skate races, both of them mass starts, a skate sprint in Lenzerheide, classic sprint in Oberstdorf, classic individual start in Lenzerheide and a classic mass start in Val Di Fiemme. This is the sort of format that suits skiers that can sprint and do distance, like Bolshunov, Klaebo and Ustiugov. Spitsov has had some good success in sprints, particularly at the TDS, and Maltsev has made finals in sprints, but perhaps one less sprint and one more skate distance race or skiathlon would have suited them a bit more. That's the issue I have with FIS these days, 90% of the weekends, the races are sprints and 15km's (10 for the women), that's extremely repetitive and monotonous. They only have two skiathlon races on the WC this season, and one of them was scraped because of snow. The other one will be at the Pre-Worlds in Planica next month. But how many top racers will actually be there? That's the last WC before the Olympics, less than two weeks before the first races in China. I don't you'll see too many contenders there. Maybe the Norwegians will not send anyone at all to Slovenija.

What I am very surprised is the poor form that the top Russian women have showed today. Stepanova had another very good race today, if not great. Everyone else was below or far below what I expected, given their abilities and the way they skied yesterday and in the Lilehammer relay. Sorina started well, but maybe too fast and dropped out of the top 10 by the finish. Nepryaeva also skied within the top 10 for the first half, then finished 17th. Racing at altitude is not her strength, but I expected a top ten for sure, given her form improvement since Ruka. Stupak was never in contention, finished 33rd, 1:30 out of first. That's quite a loss for someone that skis very well at altitude and that's had podiums in skate distance races before, including a second in Davos last year. I read that she and Sorina had COVID during the Summer, plus Sorina had a shoulder injury after a rollerski crash in September, but it still doesn't explain the poor performances today. Stupak actually trained in Davos, prior to the first world cups to get some more altitude training in. I wonder if they did a bit too much of that this pre-season. Qualified in 9th and finished in 11th yesterday. Today, well below that. Very strange what's happening from one race to another. The next period of WC racing, up until the French WC's in mid January will say a lot, IMO. If they are still struggling, either with consistency, where they are top 10 one race, and outside the top 20 or even 30 in another, then I am afraid they've messed up their training for this season. Stepanova is very talented, but there's no way Stupak should be 50 seconds behind her in any distance race, certainly not now, when Stepanova is just beginning her world cup career.
 
Klæbo was a surprise today, usually for him getting top10 in an individual skating race is already a good result so to get second is a great result although I think that the fact that we are in an Olympic season makes this kind of result a bit more likely. He could have a shot at a medal in all of them but I think that the 50km skating may be a step too far and it will be almost impossible for him to get gold in the 15km classic so maybe he skips it.

The Russians were disappointing for sure apart from Ustiugov which could fight for the overall World Cup even if he doesn't finishes the Tour. Bolshunov is too far behind but the cold probably affected him so he should now forget the third title and focus entirely in the Olympics where like Klæbo he also has a medal shot in all races (sprint will be difficult). I agree that the big 3 Russian women have been disappointing this season even if I think that they favour classic a bit. Stupak especially has been a shadow of herself so even after managing to win Lillehammer's relay they should not sleep on that result as the Norwegians seem to be getting stronger and the Olympic harder course should favour them.
 
Klæbo was a surprise today, usually for him getting top10 in an individual skating race is already a good result so to get second is a great result although I think that the fact that we are in an Olympic season makes this kind of result a bit more likely. He could have a shot at a medal in all of them but I think that the 50km skating may be a step too far and it will be almost impossible for him to get gold in the 15km classic so maybe he skips it.

The Russians were disappointing for sure apart from Ustiugov which could fight for the overall World Cup even if he doesn't finishes the Tour. Bolshunov is too far behind but the cold probably affected him so he should now forget the third title and focus entirely in the Olympics where like Klæbo he also has a medal shot in all races (sprint will be difficult). I agree that the big 3 Russian women have been disappointing this season even if I think that they favour classic a bit. Stupak especially has been a shadow of herself so even after managing to win Lillehammer's relay they should not sleep on that result as the Norwegians seem to be getting stronger and the Olympic harder course should favour them.
Yeah, the 50km should probably be the one race that Klaebo skips. The question is who'll take his spot? Krüger and Holund are probably a given, I guess Roethe should also be on the team and Amundsen is the young up and coming skating specialists who I'd mainly bring for this race.
 
Yeah, the 50km should probably be the one race that Klaebo skips. The question is who'll take his spot? Krüger and Holund are probably a given, I guess Roethe should also be on the team and Amundsen is the young up and coming skating specialists who I'd mainly bring for this race.
Well, I think the names you mentioned are the top candidates to start that 50km. If Klæbo doesn’t race it, my guess is Roethe, if he’s in form. The other options are Nyenget, who was third in Lillehammer, and who just missed out on making the word championship team last season, and perhaps Toenseth, who is coming into shape this season. Obviously there’s a while to go until February, but those are the logical picks given current form and past results. The other outsider is Iversen. But unless the pace is pedestrian, he may not last long enough to see a sprint for the medals in that race.
 
Røthe would be an obvious choice I'd have thought if he's at anything approximating decent form. Iversen may work primarily as a diversion, disrupting others' willingness to help chase if you see a move like Holund's in Seefeld. Although Bolshunov would probably get on the front and do all the work regardless of who gets a free ride, because he's Bolshunov.
 
So not only is Bolshunov racing in the TDS, he’ll also race in Dresden. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind that. What does he gain by racing in Dresden, on a pancake flat skate sprint, after dealing with a cold last week, and struggling with his form after a bike crash in the Summer and multiple jaw surgeries in the Fall, in an Olympic year?
 
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So not only is Bolshunov racing in the TDS, he’ll also race in Dresden. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind that. What does he gain by racing in Dresden, on a pancake flat skate sprint, after dealing with a cold last week, and struggling with his form after a bike crash in the Summer and multiple jaw surgeries in the Fall, in an Olympic year?
Very strange decision indeed. He is taking a huge risk in my opinion. Going to Dresden is just plain silly to be quiet honest. I just don`t get it.
 
Well if he finishes the Tour de Ski and then goes to Les Rousses or Planica (or both) he will probably win the World Cup again as Klæbo will surely drop many of these events, but probably destroying his Olympic chances in the process. To me he seems more and more as the Russian Justyna Kowalczyk which might not be great for his longevity in this sport.
 
The fact that Borodavko, his coach, told him it would be a bad idea to race the 15km on Sunday, should tell you a lot, because Borodavko tends to have his skiers get in shape through races. Vaelbe was also against him racing. It’s perplexing. You have the biggest races in your life coming up in two months (even less than that now), and you risk your health by racing in meaningless city sprints. He’s already won the overall WC twice, the distance cup three times, the TDS twice…why go for it again when you have so little to gain and everything to lose?

Sense may be prevailing over in the Ustiugov camp. He’s not racing in Dresden (that was never the plan), and it looks like he’ll miss the TDS. He had some lower body pain in the last lap of the 15km and you could see him clutching his hips and side after the race. Even without that, given his other health problems and the leg injury just before the World’s last year, it’s smart to let him take it easy and train, and get ready for the January world cups and the Olympics.
 
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Well if he finishes the Tour de Ski and then goes to Les Rousses or Planica (or both) he will probably win the World Cup again as Klæbo will surely drop many of these events, but probably destroying his Olympic chances in the process. To me he seems more and more as the Russian Justyna Kowalczyk which might not be great for his longevity in this sport.
Exactly. Kowalczyk comes to mind. She won plenty in her career, but could have and should have won more. Her obsession in winning the World Cup and the TDS prevented her from properly challenging and most likely beating Bjoergen at the major championships more than Bjoergen beat her. Bjoergen was able to race until she was almost 38, whereas Kowalczyk was dangerous until 32 or so.
 
The fact that Borodavko, his coach, told him it would be a bad idea to race the 15km on Sunday, should tell you a lot, because Borodavko tends to have his skiers get in shape through races. Vaelbe was also against him racing. It’s perplexing. You have the biggest races in your life coming up in two months (even less than that now), and you risk your health by racing in meaningless city sprints. He’s already won the overall WC twice, the distance cup three times, the TDS twice…why go for it again when you have so little to gain and everything to lose?

Sense may be prevailing over in the Ustiugov camp. He’s not racing in Dresden (that was never the plan), and it looks like he’ll miss the TDS. He had some lower body pain in the last lap of the 15km and you could see him clutching his hips and side after the race. Even without that, given his other health problems and the leg injury just before the World’s last year, it’s smart to let him take it easy and train, and get ready for the January world cups and the Olympics.
That sounds like such a Bolshunov thing to do. At least Cramer and his training group have some common sense and are able to learn from mistakes. You'd think that someone would tell Bolshunov to take it a bit easier right now.
That said, with nobody really racing the Tour he could probably just use it to get in shape and still win it, but why even bother with Dresden?
Stay in Switzerland from Davos until the start of the Tour, less travelling and you can train at altitude.
 
Looks like JTB has his groove back. Still not at his best skiing wise, but an almost certain win for him, and it looks like Norway will have everyone within a minute for the pursuit. What has happened for Dale?
 
Looks like JTB has his groove back. Still not at his best skiing wise, but an almost certain win for him, and it looks like Norway will have everyone within a minute for the pursuit. What has happened for Dale?
It was certainly a good race and an important victory for Johannes Boe, he can still fight for the overall but with the speed that Fillon Maillet and Jacquelin have been showing I still give them a slight upperhand in the overall unless they just peaked for this part of the season. Samuelsson is the one that seems to be losing a bit of steam as expected but he might still be a factor for the overall if he keeps his good shooting just like Christiansen. Latypov with another great race too.

As for Dale, I don't know what happened to him but with Bakken doing a good season (even if today he had a bad race) and with Filip Andersen reaching his first career podium ever today he hasn't been really missed and even if he comes back in the German rounds is chances of going to the Olympics are quite slim I reckon.
 
So it seems IBU has decieded to award the World Overall 2014 to Berger. Mäkäräinen won on the tracks but later Zaitseva was DSQ from all races and they move each racer behind her up a place and have now recounted the points and it turns out Berger benefitted enough to go past the finn.

Just wow.

Imagine doing this in cycling and rearranging the order based on bonus seconds or something like that. Just pointless and unfair to Kaisa.
 
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It was certainly a good race and an important victory for Johannes Boe, he can still fight for the overall but with the speed that Fillon Maillet and Jacquelin have been showing
JTB is actually skiing faster than FM and is only 0.1s per km slower than Jacquelin. And his trend is on an upward trajectory. I expect him to be fastest again by the new year. And if he keeps hitting 93% and 87% he is going to walk it.
I hope someone does challenge him though, last season was much better when he wasn't winning 10-15 races a year.
 

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