Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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It might even be worth Norway adding Johaug to the sprint relay team if she's strong enough. Can have her on leg 1 and might be strong enough to break the others. Any other two options and not sure Norway might even medal there.
That was always a possibility, but now with none of the Norwegian women making it to the final, and their other distance women not performing well at all in the skiathlon, AND likely no Heidi Weng, it’s almost a must for them to put her in the team sprints, if they want something out of that race. I don’t see Falla or the Weng twins skiing well enough to even get Norway a medal there. Still time and the conditions could very well change, but the Norwegians not looking particularly good so far, women or men, apart from their two best skiers.

I know a few weeks ago there were talks of Karlsson possibly skiing the team sprint, but how strong Sundling and Dahlqvist are at the moment, it’s hard to pick anyone else, though even their two sprinters, Dyvik and Ribom could fight for a medal in the team sprint.
 
That was always a possibility, but now with none of the Norwegian women making it to the final, and their other distance women not performing well at all in the skiathlon, AND likely no Heidi Weng, it’s almost a must for them to put her in the team sprints, if they want something out of that race. I don’t see Falla or the Weng twins skiing well enough to even get Norway a medal there. Still time and the conditions could very well change, but the Norwegians not looking particularly good so far, women or men, apart from their two best skiers.

I know a few weeks ago there were talks of Karlsson possibly skiing the team sprint, but how strong Sundling and Dahlqvist are at the moment, it’s hard to pick anyone else, though even their two sprinters, Dyvik and Ribom could fight for a medal in the team sprint.
Johaug and Tiril Udnes Weng might be able to get a medal. Outside that, I'm not sure. Falla isnt skiing well enough to include her if they want to win.

I'd expect the Swedes to walk the gold but US and Russia are favourites over Norway for the next two medals imo. Johaug being strong enough to break the leg1 runners over multiple laps is their only chance.
 
Johaug and Tiril Udnes Weng might be able to get a medal. Outside that, I'm not sure. Falla isnt skiing well enough to include her if they want to win.

I'd expect the Swedes to walk the gold but US and Russia are favourites over Norway for the next two medals imo. Johaug being strong enough to break the leg1 runners over multiple laps is their only chance.
Almost all of the Finns are better in classic, and I expect to see much better from them in the team sprint. Matintalo, Pärmäkoski, Niskanen, those are three very strong classic skiers that also have pace, especially Matintalo. Kyllönen is a wild card, but I don’t see her doing the team sprint, she’s not as good in sprints as she was. The other option is Lylynperä, she was top 10 in Oberstdorf last year and made the quarterfinals today, but again, much better in classic. It will also depend on the 10km classic. A lot of combinations, two sprinters, two distance skiers or one of each. That said the sprinters can also distance ski well. I can possibly see them getting a medal, perhaps as good as silver.

I don’t know what to make of the Russians. Nepryaeva looked strong and very smart in the skiathlon. Today she looked tired in the prologue and in the quarters looked better but was too relaxed and waited too long. She needed to make a move on the back stretch. She generally gets better as the day goes, though they first semifinal was brutal, no guarantee she’d make it out of that heat. She’s likely a lock for the team sprint. Stupak on the other hand looked very good in the prologue, skiing to 4th and looking like she had more to give, then it seemed like she was a different skier in the quarters, even with Brennan and Lampič in her heat, I thought given her speed she should get through, but she just missed out on the lucky loser time. I don’t know what to make of those two, especially Stupak. Both of them will likely race the 10km, but Stupak clearly not in form. Apparently she had Covid not once but twice in the last year. The first one was this past summer. Not sure when the second one came but I am thinking the lack of preparation due to illness she’s not where she’s capable of being, and she’s capable of skiing for the podium, as she showed in Korea, winning bronze in tougher company with peak Nilsson and peak Falla.

The Americans will certainly be a contender, but classic is not their thing and they would have to really ski some of their best classic races to get in the medals, let alone beating the Swedes.

The rest? Well Fähndrich with a strong 5th today, just running out of gas in the final 200, is good enough in classic, but Van Der Graaff isn’t. Do they put Van Der Graaff in that race, or do they try with a younger skier in Alina Meier, who skied a solid race and was in 13th today? The Swiss are the opposite of the Finns, all of them are better skate skiers, just like the Slovenian women. Lampič was another disappointment today. Barely qualified, was fortunate to make the semis and then just didn’t have it. They have, IMO, no chance for a medal. Urevc had Covid a few weeks ago and she’s clearly not physically ready.

The Germans are another possible medal threat. They were ok today. I think they need to have Hennig in the team to have a chance to stay in the race. We’ll see what happens in the 10km in two days time.
 
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Perhaps. Also the snow conditions may change. If it’s slow like it was three days ago, that would benefit her. Today it looked like it was faster, so not really to her liking, but as I mentioned above, the Norwegians don’t have too many options at this time. Falla peaked at the right time last season in Germany and won silver, today she just wasn’t good enough, she may still have some speed, but her endurance isn’t there. The Weng sisters could ski the team sprint, but I don’t know. They are slightly better in skate. One of them did ski the team sprint with Falla last season, but they lost contact with the leaders on the last couple laps. Maybe it wouldn’t ne smart to burn Johaug in a team sprint where the chances of a medal are obviously much lower than her winning a medal in the 30km. I think in that 30km she’ll have to contend with the two Swedes, the two Americans and perhaps a Russian and a Finn. Heidi Weng not being in China is a bigger loss than first thought. The Norwegians will have to rely on Johaug to get medals for their women’s team. I don’t see anyone else figuring in, unless Fossesholm and Haga come to life, but 30km is too long for Fossesholm at this time and Haga isn’t in form. That’s why even a medal in the regular relay seems in danger.
 
With all the sand that there's in the snow (they are only 500kms away from the Gobi desert and it's really windy) t
Maltsev was very strong today, he didn’t have the punch to fight for a medal in the end (and he didn’t do Ustiugov any favors by his pace in the second semifinal heat, which knocked Ustiugov out) so he may have given himself a spot in the relay and even the 50km. On one hand he deserves a spot in both of those, but I am disappointed that Ustiugov is likely to miss out. Maybe they’ll give him a spot in the relay, since it’ll be Bolshunov and Terentjev in the team sprint, which Välbe just announced. Even though he won, Klæbo is not in his best form, which should give the Russians a great chance of getting gold, if Terentjev doesn’t burn out. We know that Bolshunov will push the pace to try and get rid of the Norwegians, as he did last season in Oberstdorf. Hopefully Terentjev will do better than Retivykh in the second leg. Ustiugov would have been a very strong card to play with in either leg if he was in form, but he’s not where I thought he woood he, even though he finished 8th and missing out on the final. I can’t say with certainty, but Ustiugov would have had a better chance than Maltsev and even Terentjev in the finals, but he didn’t make it and clearly Maltsev wasn’t playing any team games, though I think he should have just waited until the second gradual hill to push the pace, because then it should have been three Russians in the final instead of two.

And the rest and the 50km will be interesting. Yakimushkin may get a spot in both, depending on the 15km classic. Semikov could also be a joker in the 15km and first leg of the relay. I don’t think Chervotkin gets a spot in the relay as I don’t think he can all of a sudden go from being 24 or whatever he was after the classic portion of the skiathlon to someone that will challenge for the medals. Spitsov is a shoe in for the relay and 50km at this point.
Terentjev is better as a classsic skier than as a skating skier and he was 11th in that 15km classic FIS race in Finnland at the start of November where he finished just a few seconds behind Spitsov, I wouldn't underestimate him. He was also top 20 in the classic race at the start of the Tour de Ski, so he has some endurance.
Looking at his performance in the classic part of the skiathlon and the hard course I might even give Spitsov a spot in the 15km classic race. I'd bring him, Bulshunov, Yakumushkin and Semikov for the 15km classic.
Ustiugov didn't look great today, on the climbs he was already skiing asymetrical when the others where still double poling.
 
The way I see it Johaug wouldn't improve the chances of a medal for Norway in the team sprint and it would affect her chances in the 30k, which right now looks like one of few likely opportunities for individual gold medals for Norway.

Weng is not going to be able to compete in the olympics and there will be no replacement. Not impressed by the lack of reserves on standby with altitude training and tests that would let them travel.
 
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Johaug and Tiril Udnes Weng might be able to get a medal. Outside that, I'm not sure. Falla isnt skiing well enough to include her if they want to win.
Falla had some health issues the past days. She even cancelled her participation in the opening ceremony, where she was supposed to be the Norwegian flag bearer - so it must have been pretty bad, I guess. Considering that, today's performance was okay. Maybe there's room for improvement.
 
With all the sand that there's in the snow (they are only 500kms away from the Gobi desert and it's really windy) t

Terentjev is better as a classsic skier than as a skating skier and he was 11th in that 15km classic FIS race in Finnland at the start of November where he finished just a few seconds behind Spitsov, I wouldn't underestimate him. He was also top 20 in the classic race at the start of the Tour de Ski, so he has some endurance.
Looking at his performance in the classic part of the skiathlon and the hard course I might even give Spitsov a spot in the 15km classic race. I'd bring him, Bulshunov, Yakumushkin and Semikov for the 15km classic.
Ustiugov didn't look great today, on the climbs he was already skiing asymetrical when the others where still double poling.
I agree for the most part, and the coaches also have to monitor how each skier reacts to race efforts at altitude. Terentjev came to Beijing only three days ago, it didn’t seem to have too much effect on him, but how will he recover. I am not saying that Ustiugov would recover more and therefore is certain to ski faster than Terentjev, but you never know. Good observation on him switching to V1 while the others were V2ing up the first hill. What he needed to do was to try and stay at the front and control the pace, then accelerate over the top and make sure he’s first or second going into the gradual climb on the backstretch, that’s something that he often employs and it usually pays off. He didn’t do that today. Klæbo did that in the final and he was able to control things. Perhaps form and/or confidence didn’t allow Ustiugov to try that, but he certainly made tactical errors. Klæbo skied to his current form and won by controlling that long stretch before turning left into the final 100m.

This is likely Cramer’s last season with the Russians. I mean his contract expires at the end of the the season, and things were up in the air whether he would have it extended for another season, but now it seems inevitable that he will not be given another season, unless his three skiers really pick up their form and win medals, likely in the team events only. Matsokina is the fourth Russian in his group, but she’s been surprisingly poor lately. I wasn’t expecting her to fight for medals today, but her not making it into the top 30 is very, very surprising. Retivykh, Belov and Bessmertnykh haven’t had any results to speak off, particularly Belov and Bessmertnykh. Retivykh has had one maybe two finals, but no podiums. Maltsev is so far the only Cramer skier (from the Russians) that is skiing well at the moment. Of course injury and illness have played a big role, but Välbe will not look at those factors as excuses. As a fan of Ustiugov I really hope he gets a chance in the relay. The 50km will be tough but maybe he can go for that as well.
 
Falla had some health issues the past days. She even cancelled her participation in the opening ceremony, where she was supposed to be the Norwegian flag bearer - so it must have been pretty bad, I guess. Considering that, today's performance was okay. Maybe there's room for improvement.
Falla has been struggling all season. Actually several seasons. I don't see any miraculous recovery happening now, actually I think she will do worse in a team sprint in her current condition.
 
I agree for the most part, and the coaches also have to monitor how each skier reacts to race efforts at altitude. Terentjev came to Beijing only three days ago, it didn’t seem to have too much effect on him, but how will he recover. I am not saying that Ustiugov would recover more and therefore is certain to ski faster than Terentjev, but you never know. Good observation on him switching to V1 while the others were V2ing up the first hill. What he needed to do was to try and stay at the front and control the pace, then accelerate over the top and make sure he’s first or second going into the gradual climb on the backstretch, that’s something that he often employs and it usually pays off. He didn’t do that today. Klæbo did that in the final and he was able to control things. Perhaps form and/or confidence didn’t allow Ustiugov to try that, but he certainly made tactical errors. Klæbo skied to his current form and won by controlling that long stretch before turning left into the final 100m.

This is likely Cramer’s last season with the Russians. I mean his contract expires at the end of the the season, and things were up in the air whether he would have it extended for another season, but now it seems inevitable that he will not be given another season, unless his three skiers really pick up their form and win medals, likely in the team events only. Matsokina is the fourth Russian in his group, but she’s been surprisingly poor lately. I wasn’t expecting her to fight for medals today, but her not making it into the top 30 is very, very surprising. Retivykh, Belov and Bessmertnykh haven’t had any results to speak off, particularly Belov and Bessmertnykh. Retivykh has had one maybe two finals, but no podiums. Maltsev is so far the only Cramer skier (from the Russians) that is skiing well at the moment. Of course injury and illness have played a big role, but Välbe will not look at those factors as excuses. As a fan of Ustiugov I really hope he gets a chance in the relay. The 50km will be tough but maybe he can go for that as well.
I honestly think that Cramer has been building up the more international training group as a bit of a backup plan, if the Russians won't extend the contract.
 
I agree for the most part, and the coaches also have to monitor how each skier reacts to race efforts at altitude. Terentjev came to Beijing only three days ago, it didn’t seem to have too much effect on him, but how will he recover. I am not saying that Ustiugov would recover more and therefore is certain to ski faster than Terentjev, but you never know. Good observation on him switching to V1 while the others were V2ing up the first hill. What he needed to do was to try and stay at the front and control the pace, then accelerate over the top and make sure he’s first or second going into the gradual climb on the backstretch, that’s something that he often employs and it usually pays off. He didn’t do that today. Klæbo did that in the final and he was able to control things. Perhaps form and/or confidence didn’t allow Ustiugov to try that, but he certainly made tactical errors. Klæbo skied to his current form and won by controlling that long stretch before turning left into the final 100m.

This is likely Cramer’s last season with the Russians. I mean his contract expires at the end of the the season, and things were up in the air whether he would have it extended for another season, but now it seems inevitable that he will not be given another season, unless his three skiers really pick up their form and win medals, likely in the team events only. Matsokina is the fourth Russian in his group, but she’s been surprisingly poor lately. I wasn’t expecting her to fight for medals today, but her not making it into the top 30 is very, very surprising. Retivykh, Belov and Bessmertnykh haven’t had any results to speak off, particularly Belov and Bessmertnykh. Retivykh has had one maybe two finals, but no podiums. Maltsev is so far the only Cramer skier (from the Russians) that is skiing well at the moment. Of course injury and illness have played a big role, but Välbe will not look at those factors as excuses. As a fan of Ustiugov I really hope he gets a chance in the relay. The 50km will be tough but maybe he can go for that as well.
Ustiugov was given the 3 races condition - sprint, team sprint and relay. He said he didn't "qualify" for the 15km within the Russian team. It appears that there is also a possibility they'll give him the chance in the 50km.
 
So no Weng (I saw her IG post), or Kalvå? So then one of the Weng twins (likely Tiril), Johaug, Haga, and Fossesholm for the relay? A medal threat if in form, but apart from Johaug, none of them are in form, at least not as of today. If that doesn’t change, then that opens the door for the Finns, Americans and Germans. If Stupak can get her act together, then I think the Russians could really challenge the Swedes for the gold, both in the relay and team sprint, but as of now the Swedes are favorites for both of those races. Rygalina is something of a diamond in the rough. She’s only skied 10 WC races, is in her mid 20’s, spent the last couple seasons racing domestically and doing the Visma Ski Classics marathons, and this is her first real season on the circuit. She had a phenomenal skiathlon, finishing 8th with the 3rd fastest skate time (only behind Johaug and Diggins), and only 10 second slower than the American on that 7.5km portion. She may not get a place in the relay but you wouldn’t be wrong in picking her, and the 30km could be a surprise if she skis as well as she did in the skiathlon. The Russians need racers like her. Look at the Swedish sprint team, it’s like the 10000 immortals, Ingemarsdotter retires? No problem. Nilsson switches to biathlon? No worries. Svahn out for the season? We’re prepared. Hagström was left behind in favor of Dyvik. She very well could have contended today. They have a strong, deep team.
 
I honestly think that Cramer has been building up the more international training group as a bit of a backup plan, if the Russians won't extend the contract.
Hmmm, never thought of that. That’s interesting. I suppose it could happen. He could link up with the Germans and/or Swiss and stick with Stadlober. They all speak German so it would make sense. The two Italians don’t speak German, but they could train as they did with the Russians this season, at least at various camps in Italy or on the Dachstein, for example. He’s done a good job with the Russians though. It’s just that he’s been unlucky as his two strongest skiers, Stupak and Ustiugov have had health problems, Stupak these past few months and Ustiugov every season since 2018, so I don’t think he’s seen what Sergey’s full potential is, apart from 2016/2017. He did work before that with the Russians, but wasn’t as involved as he has been the last 5-6 years. My opinion is that they should give him one more season, as next year it’s the world championships in Slovenija. But I doubt Välbe has that much patience, especially if the results aren’t what they’re supposed to be.
 
Ustiugov was given the 3 races condition - sprint, team sprint and relay. He said he didn't "qualify" for the 15km within the Russian team. It appears that there is also a possibility they'll give him the chance in the 50km.
Yeah the original plan was to have Yakimushkin do the skiathlon, then he opted out, Cramer stepped in and they gave Ustiugov that opportunity. He then backed out because of the back problem, and Maltsev ended up with the final spot. Given his current form or uncertainty surrounding his form, I am not surprised if Ustiugov isn’t doing the 15km, but he finished 5th in Ruka on a tough course, and the only other 15km classic was the Val di Fiemme mass start. It’s hard to guess who will do what. Everything was in Ustiugov’s hands, but he skipped the skiathlon and didn’t make the final today. Plus Maltsev and Terentjev stepped up big time and now he’s in danger of only having the sprint from these Olympics. If that ends up being the case, that’s just sad. He’s only had one other race at the Olympics, and that was another skate sprint in Sochi. He deserves more than that.
 
Watched the heats again. Ustiugov, Nepryaeva and Stupak tactically skied poorly. These skiers are all excellent at distance, why they wouldn’t attack earlier or try to control the race and then respond to attacks is beyond me. Where are the coaches? So many talented and capable skiers in that team and only one medal out of the sprint. The only guy skiing with clear tactics today was Maltsev. Stepanova was smart and composed but just made small error on the back stretch in the semis, otherwise she could have beaten Diggins and who knows what happens in the final. She was only getting stronger.
 
Other than Yamamoto everyone else that matters is within 30 seconds of each other for the 10km NC. They should bunch up fairly quickly.
No idea who wins, Grabaak looked very fast last week so he has a decent chance to make up 76 seconds. Shame no Riiber (for him, not as a spectacle) anyone know if he makes the relay and the other individual event?
 

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