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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Libertine Seguros said:
The snow in Oberhof issue has been brought up a few times. With regards to the keeping of snow for biathlon and the Tour de Ski not getting it, there are two factors to remember here.

1) A lot of the surplus snow used for the biathlon came from Gelsenkirchen, used at the Veltins-Arena events. Those were coterminous with the TdS in Oberhof so they couldn't use it. Now, there was some snow that was kept in reserve in Thüringen, but not all of what you see in Oberhof this weekend will be snow kept away from the Tour de Ski deliberately.

2) The organisers at the DKB Arena prioritise ensuring the Biathlon World Cup goes off without a hitch over ensuring the Tour de Ski goes off without a hitch, and no matter what the Norwegians may think, rightly so. The arena is looking at renovation in the next few years, and funding this is a very important part of their considerations at present. The biathlon World Cup provides a much, much bigger source of revenue for them. The crowds are bigger, the audience share at home is bigger, and sponsors are willing to pay more as a result. Prioritising the biathlon is, in Oberhof, the only sensible thing to do. Now, the fact that this is not the first time snow in Oberhof has been an issue in recent years means that not only should its position in the Tour de Ski perhaps be challenged (and indeed it seems like it has been), but perhaps the ordering of the traditional block of post-Christmas biathlon events ought to be reconsidered. Logistically Oberhof-Ruhpolding-Antholz makes sense, but bearing in mind the altitude of Antholz (highest altitude regular venue for the World Cup, just above Pokljuka) maybe Antholz-Ruhpolding-Oberhof would be more sensible in future - however it would move Oberhof out of its ideal almost-holiday-season position for the crowds. For the sake of increasing transport distances and also the clash with the Four Hills taking place nearby, I don't see opening the triple-header at Ruhpolding as an option.

Also, because of the nature of biathlon, awful skiing weather, fog and strong winds actually add to the mystique of competition at Oberhof in that sport, whereas in XC, horrible snow conditions and poor visibility are a real detriment to the spectacle. The relays in 2011 and 2012, for example, were spectacular. The men's relay in 2011 had Christoph Stephan drop to last place in shooting 1, then hit 5/5 in perfect conditions in lane 20-something while the big guns shot like Lars Berger firing a paintball gun blindfolded at the top of the range. Evgeniy Ustyugov missed all 8 targets, and one of his colleagues (Tcherezov?) spent over 2 minutes just over his 3 spare rounds. Then a year later, Italy won seemingly out of nowhere by being just about the only team to avoid the penalty loop.

Oberhof shouldn't host a Tour de Ski Stage in the first place. Glad they move to Oberstdorf next year.
 
Bavarianrider said:
Oberhof shouldn't host a Tour de Ski Stage in the first place. Glad they move to Oberstdorf next year.

I always thought Oberhof was a weird choice. Too far south to guarantee snow like the Nordic countries, too low altitude to guarantee snow like the Alps. A specialist biathlon venue seems like a strange place to start an XC "tour". Oberstdorf seems much more sensible. I guess they wanted something a bit further north to try and increase potential audience, or by increasing the geographical spread to try to increase the "tour" feel to the event, but I don't think Oberhof was right for them. Oberhof is right to prioritise the biathlon, but FIS should be considering why it is using a venue for the Tour de Ski where they will always come a poor second in the organisers' eyes?

See, to my mind, this is where a sprint actually would seem sensible and of actual value. I would consider having a city prologue and city sprint to open up the Tour de Ski over two days (they can then move from city to city or venue to venue like cycling tours do) before moving on to the specialist skiing venues and the unique Tour de Ski races (the Toblach-Cortina point-to-point race, Alpe Cermis). There would be no sprints after that first city sprint, and there would be more Classic stages. Ideally, there would be a climb other than Cermis every so often. Still a "mountaintop finish", but not always the same one, as although Cermis is a bit artificial and gimmicky, it is at least something genuinely unique in the sport that gives the Tour de Ski (which is plenty gimmicky in and of itself anyway) a bit of its own identity.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
I always thought Oberhof was a weird choice. Too far south to guarantee snow like the Nordic countries, too low altitude to guarantee snow like the Alps. A specialist biathlon venue seems like a strange place to start an XC "tour". Oberstdorf seems much more sensible. I guess they wanted something a bit further north to try and increase potential audience, or by increasing the geographical spread to try to increase the "tour" feel to the event, but I don't think Oberhof was right for them. Oberhof is right to prioritise the biathlon, but FIS should be considering why it is using a venue for the Tour de Ski where they will always come a poor second in the organisers' eyes?

See, to my mind, this is where a sprint actually would seem sensible and of actual value. I would consider having a city prologue and city sprint to open up the Tour de Ski over two days (they can then move from city to city or venue to venue like cycling tours do) before moving on to the specialist skiing venues and the unique Tour de Ski races (the Toblach-Cortina point-to-point race, Alpe Cermis). There would be no sprints after that first city sprint, and there would be more Classic stages. Ideally, there would be a climb other than Cermis every so often. Still a "mountaintop finish", but not always the same one, as although Cermis is a bit artificial and gimmicky, it is at least something genuinely unique in the sport that gives the Tour de Ski (which is plenty gimmicky in and of itself anyway) a bit of its own identity.

I think the date of the Tour de Ski is also a problem. During Christmas holidays it's simply not that easy to find hotel rooms for the huge XC skiing circus. I guess there aren't too many cities that really want a world cup during that time or have the capacities to host it. For example my home region is trying to get a world cup some day ( we have a Continental Cup this year, during the olympics, great timing:rolleyes:), however never ever could there be a world cup here during the christmas holidays. There simply aren't the capacities to host it during this time period. Therefore, i guess Fis is happy with every town that wants to host Tour de Ski. They don't really care if it makes sense. They are simply happy that somebody does it.
 
@Libertine

Thanks for the info. It's the Germans who wanted Oberhof. I don't know why, or how the decision is made. Perhaps if FIS insists on something else, the Germans might agree? I don't know.

Anyway the reasons for Biathlon having snow, just shows they prioritize Biathlon, hence they shouldn't have the XC since they are not willing/able to cater to it's needs.
 
It was probably inevitable, but shortly before the men's pursuit at Oberhof Miriam Gössner confirmed that she is calling a close to her season, and will not go to Sochi. She has not been able to make the hoped-for progress in her recovery and is not going to be able to produce a worthy level of performance at the Olympics. It must have been a difficult decision, but she will now focus on resting up and allowing herself to recover for 2014-15. After all, she's still only 23, and there is plenty of time left for her.

Sad news, but probably necessary news.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
It was probably inevitable, but shortly before the men's pursuit at Oberhof Miriam Gössner confirmed that she is calling a close to her season, and will not go to Sochi. She has not been able to make the hoped-for progress in her recovery and is not going to be able to produce a worthy level of performance at the Olympics. It must have been a difficult decision, but she will now focus on resting up and allowing herself to recover for 2014-15. After all, she's still only 23, and there is plenty of time left for her.

Sad news, but probably necessary news.

I think it's good news. Nrk's range man had talked to her and it sounded like she was in constant pain. If she had kept pushing it, she might have made it worse, and forcing herself to train when she is in pain could ruin it for her in the future. It's better that she focuses on getting better.



As for today, again I was hoping for Ole Einar, but his nerves probably got to him.

I think Fourcade had worse skis than the Norwegians since he was loosing time on every downhill. Compensating for that with more effort probably affected his shooting as well.
 
ToreBear said:
I think it's good news. Nrk's range man had talked to her and it sounded like she was in constant pain. If she had kept pushing it, she might have made it worse, and forcing herself to train when she is in pain could ruin it for her in the future. It's better that she focuses on getting better.

It's not good news, because even if it is good and sensible that she focuses on getting better, it's still bad news that a previous potential podium candidate won't be able to participate at an event that only comes once every four years, it's bad news that an athlete who's struggled with injuries all her career will miss half a season of a sport in which selection is often as volatile as her performances, it's bad news that her recovery has not been able to make the progress that had been hoped for, and it's bad news that even though doctors had previously told her that competition wouldn't worsen the injury, the pain is still too great for her to bear in competition despite her determination.

Gössner's always been a very emotional competitor, and apart from when things have really gone awry and the tears have come (mixed relays at Pokljuka 2010 and Nové Mesto 2013 for example) she's always been ready with a smile and an amusing, upbeat attitude, and poking fun at her own misfortunes or her own weaknesses. She'd already managed to get through a lot of illnesses and injuries to get to where she was before the accident, and then done it all again to get to where she was in the recovery process, so it must have been a very difficult and painful (in both senses) decision to make.

Now, is it the right decision? I'm a big fan of hers and I consider the decision to be saddening and disappointing. But of course it's the right decision and I only see it as disappointing in the sense that she will, i.e. that she will be disappointed that she has now had to give up on a career goal. What's more, with a sheltered range and super difficult trails, Sochi would have been ideal for her. She may never get a better chance for an Olympic gold than she had as of April 2013 (i.e. with the Sochi venue coming up, as a joint leader of the German team, and in perfect health at the time - remember she's lost time due to surgeries in the last two offseasons before this too), and that may hurt in years to come. But better that pain than the constant physical pain when it is now clear that there is no chance of her producing a representative performance of Miriam Gössner at her best in Sochi.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i have managed to stay away from this thread a whole day :) , {had to do some real skiing instead of yapping :p, and so what do I find ?

1. Geez, snow in oberhof is a big deal… why ? i have posted here the reports that it will be so last year. everyone following both sports knows damn well, when fis will be able to gather as many gemans to the obehof stadium as the ibu does, they'll get equal treatment.

2. man's 10k at the tds today...many impressions.
1st, the amazing recovery by martin. he left everything yesterday in the snow, and today he shined again. simply stunning. that the norges took the entire podium is of little surprise. it was obvious, (torebear take a deep breath :p) they paid off polto to withdraw and, as an added benefit, to deprive cherno and legkov. of forming a troika to chase down sundby recall, in my stage 5 preview posted earlier, i expected that others wont cooperate and thus made the emphasis on the cherno-legkov-polto plan. this part is serious, but the previous was a joke. the norwegian earned the sweep. a combination of good skis, lack of seriou competitors to the a-team and the tired competition, all produced the effect.

legkov is obviously shut. his coach said yesterday that his shape entering the tds was meant to peak in sochi. it sounds logical but i think there is more here looking at how well cherno does, boh trained by reto. i would not be surprized that legkov got burned by an extra sprint or his own nerves. if i was his coach, i would advise him to withdraw to spare the embarrassment tomorrow in the discipline he supposed to dominate. pay attention to duerr tomorrow. last year on the purely climbing part of alp cemis, he was second fastest (to helner )and even beat legkov. His surge in the last 2 days is phenomenal. sundby got the tour in the pocket and now has to show northug that he is the NORGE numero UNO :D.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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finnish girls superb today !

and dear therese, i love you princess, but, imo, you flirted with a red card for skating at one point. it was not the usual lane change or a gentle turn where it would be tolerable. whatever...
 
Strange that the one person to fall (except for Bø in the range, but that wasn't anything to do with conditions, that was treading on his own skis) was the one person who you would have expected to be the most comfortable with Oberhof's conditions, Andrea Henkel, who's been skiing this course for over 20 years, 15 of them at the World Cup level.