Biathlon World Cup heating up

Rabbitz Roar Guru

By Rabbitz, Rabbitz is a Roar Guru


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    As the Biathlon World Cup series moves into its Christmas hiatus, it is an ideal time to review the state of play.

    The third round of the World Cup has been run and won with some very interesting results in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

    Women’s competition:

    The beginning of the season promised to be the most open in some years. Tora Berger (Norway) has featured on the podium in most races so far. Berger leads the overall World Cup point score with 388 points.

    Second in the points tally is Gabriela Soukalova (Czech Republic). Soukalova, who finished 93rd in the World Cup last season, is proving to be a bit of a dark horse this season with three podium finishes including her maiden World Cup win.

    Miriam Gössner of Germany is in third. Gössner has surprised with her ski speed which has allowed her to stay in touch with the leaders despite indifferent form on the rifle range.

    Andrea Henkel (Germany) and Darya Domracheva (Belarus) round out the top five.

    The Russians have shown very patchy form but are traditionally slow starters. I wouldn’t write off Olga Zaitseva or Olga Vilikuna just yet.

    Kaisa Mäkäräinen (Finland) has shown good speed across the snow but has struggled in the shooting and is currently in 12th.

    Krystyna Palka (Poland), Nadezhada Skardino (Belarus) and Marie Dorin-Habert are knocking on the door of the top five.

    Men’s competition:

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, Martin Fourcade (France) leads the tally with 392 points.

    Fourcade was blistering in the opening rounds but faded to finish with two third places and a fourth in the third round. The time off could not have come at a better time for Fourcade.

    Emile Hegler Svendsen (Norway) is in second place on 307 points with Andrea Birnbacher (Germany) third on 293. Evgeny Ustugov (Russia) and Jakov Fak (Slovenia) complete the top five.

    A number of the pre-season favourites are struggling, but with six rounds to go there is time for a late season recovery.

    Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway) has started to recover some of his magic, which was missing last season, although currently in 19th he is showing enough form to be encouraging. He is chasing his 94th World Cup win.

    The next World Cup round kicks off in Oberhof, Germany on January 3rd with the Women’s 4x6km relay.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Guru

      December 19th 2012 @ 7:42am
      Rabbitz said | December 19th 2012 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      I should have mentioned the lone Aussie in the World Cup field:

      Alex Almoukov has had four starts in the World Cup this year.

      20km Individual in Sweden finished 76 of 104 Starters
      10km Sprint in Sweden finished 67 of 104 starters
      10km Sprint in Austria finished 58 of 107 starters – This finished qualified him for the Pursuit where only the top 60 go through.
      12.5km Pursuit in Austris finished 58 of 60 starters.

      Given Alex has to fund his own campaigns and does not have the backing of the dozens of ski technicians, caoches and (literally) truck loads of equipment that the major teams has these are very credible performances.

      Just qualifying for the World Cup circuit is a feat as the IBU Cup (the feeder competition) is massively competitive.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:04am
      jameswm said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Hi Rabbitz. It’s funny – I’ve skied though never XC and am anti-guns, but I find Biathlon truly fascinating. Martin Fourcade is a dead set champ, ditto Magdalena Neuner, the German who killed them all before retiring prematurely aged what, about 25?

      We’ve got it all on tape and have some catching up to do, but you should make sure there is a preview of the Tour de Ski (cross country). That’s also fascniating. How good is Petter Northug Jnr? Great to watch.

    • December 19th 2012 @ 10:20am
      nickoldschool said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      Love the sport, so much more entertaining than cross country skiing IMO. I like Martin Fourcade as an athlete but felt he was too cocky last year as he pretty much said he was going to win everything full stop. It’s great that we can watch all those winter sports on Eurosport these days. Plus it’s a good reason to watch Swedish, Norwegian and other Nordic female athletes ( and Lindsay Vonn, the queen)

      • Roar Guru

        December 19th 2012 @ 10:27am
        Rabbitz said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Well without being too politically incorrect, some of the ladies are fine fit girls which I think is attractive, added to their tough and competitive natures I bet it would be fun on tour.

        • December 19th 2012 @ 11:28am
          nickoldschool said | December 19th 2012 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          Plus they are usually well spoken.

          The other aspect that I like about winter sport is that it seems like a family touring the world, well mostly Europe and north America, and there is still an amateur feeling about it. Call it the ‘cirque blanc’ for this reason in French, its like a circus touring the snowy white world.

          Money is present for sure but besides the Vonn, Hoefl-Riesh, Ligety, Fourcade and a few others, most of them are what we could call semi-professional having fun doing the sport they love. They all tour together, catch up after the events they compete in etc. great stuff really.

    • Roar Guru

      December 19th 2012 @ 10:24am
      Rabbitz said | December 19th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      G’day James,

      I don’t follow XC that closely (lack of time being the main reason) but the few races I have seen Northug in he just seems so effortless.

      I’ll try and get a handle on the Tour de Ski, but I will be in Vanuatu for the start so it might be a bit scratchy 🙂

      Neuner was 24 when she retired, Gossner (who roomed with Neuner on tour) seems poised to take up the slack.

      For me, Fourcade is the guy I like to hate – in a nice way. Over confident and a bit of a show pony, but geez he is strong and focused so you have to admire him anyway.

      • December 20th 2012 @ 11:37am
        jameswm said | December 20th 2012 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        Yeah I lived in France for a year in ’99, so I have a bit of an affinity for the French athletes. I like that cockiness.

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