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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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More Covid. Hagström is also positive and out Gällivare and Östersund. In Norway Andersen, Björnstad & Tiller are all infected and out of the Nordic Combined in Lillehammer.
 
Time to bring in the Ski Classics specialists.
In all seriousness, at least on the women's side Gällivare is going to be hugely watered down. Between the Russians (I will never normalize their absence), half the Swedish team, no Swiss, Niskanen, Tiril Weng, etc, it's just ridiculous. I know the racers can only beat who shows up but a top 30 definitely isn't carrying the same weight right about now
 
In all seriousness, at least on the women's side Gällivare is going to be hugely watered down. Between the Russians (I will never normalize their absence), half the Swedish team, no Swiss, Niskanen, Tiril Weng, etc, it's just ridiculous. I know the racers can only beat who shows up but a top 30 definitely isn't carrying the same weight right about now

There were quite a few women’s races last year where everyone that finished received World Cup points. That’s a tell tale sign.

Skiing has gotten really expensive and the only ones that will likely be able to afford it in the future are the Scandinavians.
 
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Klaebo is on the startlist at the Norway Cup races this weekend. Let see if he will start the sprint prologue that gets under way in about 30 minutes.
 
Where have these Norwegian women come from that i've barely heard of? It's like Olsbu and Eckhoff haven't been missed.
In fairness Johansen and Arnekleiv were both decent juniors, but nothing that would suggest this was possible. It's not uncommon since they don't contest the Junior World Cup for Norwegian skiers to disappear a bit between their junior days and hitting the World Cup seemingly fully-formed, or athletes who were in the World Cup team reaching around 25-26 before they hit peak performance levels (see for example Tora Berger, who had two anomalous podiums - a sprint-pursuit double 2nd - until her first win at 25 years and 11 months - an age at which, for example, Magdalena Neuner and Laura Dahlmeier had both already retired). Skogan's Individual was shockingly good as she has never really stood out at any level and reached her mid-20s but it was built on strong shooting and she was barely scraping into the points today.

Knotten is the weirder one, she's more established than either MKJ or Arnekleiv, but she has been around a few years as one of those "slower athletes you hide on leg 1 of the relay" and reached 28 years of age before she has suddenly leapt up in skiing level this past off-season. It's not as marked as, say, Synnøve Solemdal going from being around 40th in ski time to outskiing Magdalena Neuner over the 2011 offseason, or Marte Olsbu going from being a "shoot first, ski second" athlete to becoming one of the fastest in the world over the course of about three weeks ahead of a home World Championships, but it is a marked improvement nonetheless.

What is worth noting however is that for the first time this year, the team went with a fully meritocratic selection process from the Sjusjøen events, without having athletes who were pre-selected, as with no Eckhoff and no Røiseland, plus Lien injured, they were basically left with nobody other than Tandrevold who would be available for Östersund who had auto-qualified anyway. There has been some criticism of Skogan making the World Cup over the likes of Kirkeeide who are on the IBU Cup, more promising and several years younger, plus people like Erdal and Kalkenberg who are, if unspectacular, at least more reliable and proven at a similar age, but that's what happens when you say specifically that one weekend's racing will select the competitors. The other thing is that it means people on the fringes of selection have to hit peak form at that point, so they may well have been peaking for those. After all, at those Sjusjøen races the German team were absolutely obliterated, but two weeks later they appear to be hitting the ground running too, so we might reasonably anticipate that Johansen and Arnekleiv will tail away somewhat - it's just figuring out what kind of level they will be at when they regress to whatever their new mean is. Knotten is far more experienced and I think her base level will likely still be relatively high. After all, a few years ago we had Synnøve Solemdal wearing the yellow bib for a race or two early in the season only to quickly revert to her latter career struggles, and Ann-Kristin Flatland managed an early season win in 2013-14 before never being remotely close to that level again all season - but at the same time, Tiril Eckhoff was very consistently just below the top tier level for the whole 2013-14 season, being bottom of the top 10 of the World Cup overall but with hardly any podium results; she rocked up to 2014-15 - so a similar age to where Arnekleiv is now - skiing at a considerably stronger level than before, but she maintained that improved level all the way to her retirement last year.
 
I have also been surprised by the Norwegian women. Relay win and 4 athletes in the top10 on both the individual and the sprint is quite unexpected. I think they might fade a bit later in the season though.

Knotten also takes the yellow bib tied with Preuss, who is looking in great shape too.
 
In fairness Johansen and Arnekleiv were both decent juniors, but nothing that would suggest this was possible. It's not uncommon since they don't contest the Junior World Cup for Norwegian skiers to disappear a bit between their junior days and hitting the World Cup seemingly fully-formed, or athletes who were in the World Cup team reaching around 25-26 before they hit peak performance levels (see for example Tora Berger, who had two anomalous podiums - a sprint-pursuit double 2nd - until her first win at 25 years and 11 months - an age at which, for example, Magdalena Neuner and Laura Dahlmeier had both already retired). Skogan's Individual was shockingly good as she has never really stood out at any level and reached her mid-20s but it was built on strong shooting and she was barely scraping into the points today.

Knotten is the weirder one, she's more established than either MKJ or Arnekleiv, but she has been around a few years as one of those "slower athletes you hide on leg 1 of the relay" and reached 28 years of age before she has suddenly leapt up in skiing level this past off-season. It's not as marked as, say, Synnøve Solemdal going from being around 40th in ski time to outskiing Magdalena Neuner over the 2011 offseason, or Marte Olsbu going from being a "shoot first, ski second" athlete to becoming one of the fastest in the world over the course of about three weeks ahead of a home World Championships, but it is a marked improvement nonetheless.

What is worth noting however is that for the first time this year, the team went with a fully meritocratic selection process from the Sjusjøen events, without having athletes who were pre-selected, as with no Eckhoff and no Røiseland, plus Lien injured, they were basically left with nobody other than Tandrevold who would be available for Östersund who had auto-qualified anyway. There has been some criticism of Skogan making the World Cup over the likes of Kirkeeide who are on the IBU Cup, more promising and several years younger, plus people like Erdal and Kalkenberg who are, if unspectacular, at least more reliable and proven at a similar age, but that's what happens when you say specifically that one weekend's racing will select the competitors. The other thing is that it means people on the fringes of selection have to hit peak form at that point, so they may well have been peaking for those. After all, at those Sjusjøen races the German team were absolutely obliterated, but two weeks later they appear to be hitting the ground running too, so we might reasonably anticipate that Johansen and Arnekleiv will tail away somewhat - it's just figuring out what kind of level they will be at when they regress to whatever their new mean is. Knotten is far more experienced and I think her base level will likely still be relatively high. After all, a few years ago we had Synnøve Solemdal wearing the yellow bib for a race or two early in the season only to quickly revert to her latter career struggles, and Ann-Kristin Flatland managed an early season win in 2013-14 before never being remotely close to that level again all season - but at the same time, Tiril Eckhoff was very consistently just below the top tier level for the whole 2013-14 season, being bottom of the top 10 of the World Cup overall but with hardly any podium results; she rocked up to 2014-15 - so a similar age to where Arnekleiv is now - skiing at a considerably stronger level than before, but she maintained that improved level all the way to her retirement last year.
Thank you, as always, for being so articulate and (unnecessarily) knowledgeable.
 
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I dont follow biathlon that close, but after the Norwegian opening on Sjusjøen there was a lot of talk in the media how the Norwegians had so much better skis than the germans and Vittozi. Apparently it was clear to see in the masstart race, and some of the experts were talking about how the Norwegians were miles ahead of Germany/Italy in this new Fluor free world of waxing.
But then it seems like the Norwegian men are not as impressive in the skiing times as previous seasons, so it’s probably hard to argue that the Norwegian biathletes have superior skis.

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About Gallivare:
That was a quality performance by Diggins. This is a course that fits her well, short hills and a lot of corners. No surprise she’s demolishing Andersson here.