Tag Archives: Biathlon World Cup

Targeting success! Season Preview: Men

biath

It’s that time of year again folks! After an eternity (well just summer and autumn really) biathlon is back! The season kicks off on Sunday in Oestersund with the mixed relay followed by the Individual,the Sprint and finally the Pursuit. So the boys will be back on track with all guns blazing-literally! It’s a big season for everyone with the Olympics starting in a mere 3 months so what can we expect form the men’s side this year?

Well as you might have guessed the big favourite has to be Martin Fourcade. Five Chrystal globes last season and a handful of medals from the World Championships makes him the guy they will all be gunning for. Unfortunately for the others like a French wine he seems to be getting better with age.

What about his main competition this season. Well the top two on his tail have to be the Russian ladies favourites from Norway Emil Hegle Svendsen and Tarjei Bø. These boys will be very hard to beat as illness hit seasons for both of them last year were still better than most others full seasons.

Beyond these three who else is left to challenge. There is a whole team from Russia who can do well but with their main aim the home Olympics in Sochi I can’t see them putting too much effort into winning a Chrystal Globe. Elsewhere we have the Germans. A poor season last year by their own high standards should see a highly motivated Peiffer, Birnbacher and co. launch a major attack on the podiums this year.

We should also see continually improving athletes like Jakov Fak and Dominik Landertinger being a challenge to Fourcade’s dominance and closer to home he will have to watch out for his French teammates and of course his own brother. Have I forgotten someone? Oh yes – young Ole Einar Bjørndalen! You can never count him out for a race win but a Globe will be much more difficult.

What I like best though about the opening round of the IBU World Cup is that no one really knows what shape they are going to be in at the start and it can throw up some unexpected results. Take the first Sprint podium last year which saw JP Le Guellec win his first race and Alexis Boeuf and Cristoph Sumann take second and third.

So who is going to win the prizes this time round? Well looking into my Chrystal Globe I can see victory for……now that would be telling!!! All I know for sure is that it’s going to be one hell a season with so many male biathletes at the top of their game and all competing for the few Olympic medals on offer. My advice – just sit back and enjoy the show and whoever wins the Globes and medals will thoroughly deserve them all!

Good luck guys!

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Almoukov:The Blizzard of Oz!

Almoukov

When you think about Australia the first things that come to mind are sun, sea, sand, barbeques, corks on hats and deadly animals. If you think about Australian sport you might come up with Aussies Rules, Rugby Union, cricket and surfing. What doesn’t immediately spring to mind though is biathlon.

Biathlon I hear you cry! But it doesn’t even snow in Australia so how can they do biathlon? Well it does and they do! Not only that but they also have athletes who compete on the IBU World Cup. One in particular made history last season by becoming the first Australian male biathlete to finish in the Top 40 and score World Cup points. His name is Alex Almoukov.

Yes I know what you are thinking, Almoukov? Isn’t that a Russian name? Well of course it is and in fact Alex was born in Russia in Solobo to Russian parents and moved to Australia when he was six. Let’s face it it’s no bad thing to be Russian if you want to do biathlon! But he competes for Australia and considers it his home having spent the majority of his life there.

The 23 year old has recently graduated from University and is a fellow WordPress blogger. You can follow him here and on Facebook. It is an interesting insight into how the other half live. By the other half I mean the biathletes who struggle to get sponsorship and funding rather than the more fortunate who get a lot of support (you can find them at the top of all the standings!). It’s not easy when you compete for one of the countries whose Winter Sports teams are not well supported. Travel costs are high as are equipment costs especially ammunition.

Alex seems to progressing really well despite all of these hardships. He took part in the last Olympics and has shown good improvement especially in the Individual event. However it’s not easy to gain experience on the World Cup circuit as competition is fierce and chances to race are limited due to only the Top 60 or Top 30 being able to start the Pursuit and Mass-Start respectively.

This year the Australian team have been able to go to Russia for some summer training which will be a great help. Unfortunately if you are an Australian biathlete you tend to live in eternal winter. You spend winter in Europe competing and go home where it’s winter again. On the plus side you can spend the “summer” training skiing on real snow in Australia in places like Whisky Flats rather than on roller skis.

So what about next season for Alex? Well he did pretty well in Sochi last season so I am sure he will want to improve on his placing there in the Olympics. A good season for him I think will be to build on his progress from last year and try to break into the Top 40 more often. So next time you are watching biathlon look out for Alex and cheer on The Blizzard of Oz!

You can find Alex on Facebook or read his blog http://almoukov.wordpress.com.

For more information on Australian biathlon see http://www.biathlon.asn.au/

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Lander-trigger!

landi

Dominik Landertinger is an Austrian biathlete, born in Braunau am Inn on the 13th of March 1988. A member of the Austrian military, he currently lives in Hochfilzen.

It can’t be an easy thing competing in a winter sport for a country like Austria. Steeped in a tradition of producing some of the best skiers ever and treating winter sports like most countries treat football there is a lot of pressure on the athletes. On the other hand they have some of the best facilities and coaches in the world. So far it doesn’t seem too much of a burden to Dominik.

At 25 he has already won a silver medal in the Olympics in the relay, 1 world championship gold in the mass start and silver again in the world championship relay. Last season (2012/13) he started the season with a 2nd place in Oestersund and finished with a 2nd in Khanty-Mansiysk. During the season he had 2 fourth placed finishes in Oslo and Sochi in the sprint. Maybe not quite what he was hoping for but not bad in a season dominated by a few biathletes.

Obviously he must be a little disappointed with how the World Championships went in Nove Mesto even though he finished in the top 10 in 3 events. However biathlon is a hard game especially when a couple of missed shots can cost you dear. Decidedly stronger in the prone position, he made need to improve his shooting in the stand if he wants to be in with a chance of medalling in Sochi next year.

It seems as though Dominik is a good starter and finisher of a season so maybe if he can peak at the right time for Sochi he may have a better chance than many people think of winning something. Russia looks like a good hunting ground for Landi as he does well in Khanty and a 4th in Sochi this year is a good sign for the Olympics. In fact if they were being held in Khanty I’m sure he would be very happy!

Fingers crossed Landi can produce something great next season for Austrian biathlon. His teammates are very experienced and he can learn a lot from them but with the advantage of youth I think he is their best hope for the coming season.

So if you are a fan of Dominik you can find his page on Facebook and check out his website (if you speak German!) http://www.dominik-landertinger.com

Hopefully there will be a lot of good news to follow next season!

Selected results:
2nd Mass Start 2012/13 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
2nd Individual 2012/13 Oestersund (SWE)
3rd Individual 2010/11 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Mass Start 2009/10 Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)
2nd Sprint 2009/10 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3rd Pursuit 2009/10 Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3rd Pursuit 2008/09 Ruhpolding (GER)
1st Mass Start 2008/09 Pyeong Chang (KOR) World Cup.