Tag Archives: Fabien Claude

Biathlete23 Season Review 2019/20!

This season has been a strange one for biathlete23. It is the lowest points total so far but then there were three races less than other years with Olso being cancelled. There were no wins and only one podium but the points scoring was amazingly consistent. In fact out of 42 races there were only 4 where biathlete23 was not in the points! I am not one to name and shame but let’s just say Clare Egan, Scott Gow, Lukas Hofer and Selina Gasparin have a lot of work to do in the summer! 😉

For anyone unfamiliar with Biathlete23 (where have you been?!) this blog follows the results of whichever biathlete happens to be in bib23 for each race. It treats them like one athlete and adds up the score to see how this biathlete would have performed over the year.

So far in Biathlete23 ‘s career:
Year 1: 802 points
Year 2: 948 points
Year 3: 760 points
Year 4: 921 points
Year 5: 774 points
Year 6: 730 points (3 fewer races)

This season the points total was 730, made up of 386 for the men and 344 for the women. That would put biathlete23 in 17th place in the Men’s Overall between Lukas Hofer and Dmytro Pidruchnyi and 20th place in the Women’s Overall between Linn Persson and Mona Brorsson. It seems that Pidruchnyi and Brorsson are the benchmark as biathlete23 has finished alongside them both for two seasons in a row!

Way back in December in Oestersund Atrem Pryma was the first to wear the coveted bib23 in the sprint. He came 35th and Kamila Zuk was 28th in the women’s race. In the individuals Vetle Christiansen was 31st but Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht did the best coming 16th!

On to Hochfilzen where Clare Egan came 66th in the sprint but then Benedikt Doll was 11th! In the pursuits Lisa Vittozzi was 25th and Fabien Claude was 8th. A good round for the men.

Annecy saw 6 races starting with a 22nd place for Vladimir Iliev in the sprint which Emma Lunder followed with 36th for the women. Florent Claude was also 22nd in the pursuit and Janina Hettich was 31st. In the first mass starts of the season Vladimir Iliev was again in bib23 and finished 20th with Eva Kristejn Puskarcikova 15th!

After Christmas it was off to Oberhof! The sprint yielded 30th place for Larisa Kuklina and 12th for Benjamin Weger. In the mass start it was 27th for Lucie Charvatova and 28th for Felix Leitner.

Ruhpolding did not start well with 60th place for Scott Gow in the sprint. However Franziska Preuss was 14th to make up for it! In the pursuits Baiba Bendika was 26th and Raman Yaliotnau 27th. See what I mean about consistency!

Pokljuka was next on the calendar and in the men’s individual Evgeniy Garanichev was 35th but Selina Gasparin just missed out on points in 41st. Artem Pryma was 29th in the mass start and Katherina Innerhofer was 22nd.

In February we had the World Championships in Antholz. In the women’s sprint Mona Brorsson took 33rd place and then Tarjei Boe was 4th! So close to a medal – it was very exciting for a minute there! The pursuit saw Karolin Horchler take 15th place while Johannes Dale was 17th. In the individual Fuyuko Tachizaki was 34th and then Jakov Fak came …you guessed it ..4th! AHHH So close again! Can we make a medal for 4th place like tin or something?! Lastly came the mass starts and Ivona Fialkova finished in 25th and Ondrej Moravec was 11th. Points in every race at World Champs we can’t complain too much!

The 7th round of the World Cup was in Nove Mesto and finally, finally biathlete23 got a podium! It was home favourite Marketa Davidova who did it coming 3rd in the sprint! Unicorn power + bib23 = podium! Lukas Hofer however came 64th in the men’s race! Oh well swings and roundabouts! The mass starts saw Larisa Kuklina come home in 10th and Ondrej Moravec take 19th.

At the final round in Kontiolahti Klemen Bauer was 27th in the sprint while Aita Gasparin was 22nd. Jesper Nelin was 23rd in the mass start (a good place to finish!) and Lucie Charvatova was 28th.

Oslo was unfortunately cancelled due to the corona virus and I was tempted to give biathlete23 60 points for each race but in the end I decided that it wouldn’t be fair! 😉

Hopefully next season biathlete23 can get back to winning ways and maybe bag a few more medals!

See the full results on the Biathlete23 page of the blog.

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Season Review 2019/20: The Men!

Since when did the men’s overall title go down to the last race and be decided by 2 points! Never! (Well maybe it has but I am too lazy to actually check!) Normally it’s the women who take the total score right down to the wire but this season thanks to baby Boe it was the men who gave us the closest of finishes!

Little did we know back in December that this would be Martin Fourcade’s final season. Well maybe he didn’t either but guess what I haven’t checked! 😉 That made the battle between the Frenchman and Johannes Thingnes Boe even more special as it would be the last.

It looked like it would be another convincing win for Boe in the overall at the start of the season. Honours were even in Oestersund with Boe taking the sprint and Fourcade winning the individual but then Boe won 4 of the 5 next races with Fourcade not making the podium in any.

However after Christmas Boe took parental leave for the birth of his son Gustav (biathlon overall title winner 2043) and then Fourcade came alive. Without Boe racing he won all 4 events in Germany! The psychological effect on Fouracde was marked as with no Johannes he became the best again and showed it.

In Pokljuka Boe returned and won the individual beating Fourcade into second place and taking the mental advantage back.

After a win each at World Champs it was on to Nove Mesto where Boe won both races to close the gap in the total score. Then came Kontiolahti and the news that it would be final round of the World Cup and the final two races would determine the champion.

Boe won the sprint ahead of Fourcade which meant it would all come down to the pursuit. If Fourcade could win then Boe had to finish at least 4th to take the title. That’s exactly what happened. Boe was nervous and it showed in his shooting. Basically if he had missed just one shot in the final standing Fourcade would have been an 8-time world cup winner but somehow he hit all five and made it home in 4th place to take the big crystal globe by just 2 points! It was un-boe-lieveable! That makes it two in a row for the super talented Norwegian.

I am sure Fourcade would have loved to go out on the ultimate high of winning the overall but it was not to be! He did win the race which was a fitting end to a truly outstanding career. He won his first race in the Kontiolathi pursuit and his last both on the 14th of March!

He will be sorely missed on the World Cup next year but he has handed the French baton over to Emilien Jaquelin! It was a remarkable season for the 24-year-old. He won his first ever race which just happened to be at the World Championships in Antholz! He took gold in the pursuit and then went on to win gold in the men’s relay, bronze in the single mixed and bronze again in the mass start! He would also go on to collect the pursuit crystal globe after topping the standings in that event and finished 5th in the total score.

Martin Fourcade took home two small globes this season winning the sprint title and the individual. Johannes Boe was the winner of the mass start title.

Apart from Jacquelin there were no other first time winners on the men’s world cup but we had a couple of first time podiums. Matvey Eliseev was third in the Oestersund sprint and Fabien Claude was third in the Pokljuka individual. Maybe without Fourcade there will be more space on the podium steps for some new faces next season.

New faces like rookie of the season Nikita Porshnev. In Annecy he got his first top 20 finish coming 18th in the mass start and at World Championships he was 21st in the sprint but then set an new personal best in the individual of 11th.

Speaking of World Championships the men decided to share out the medals this year. Each race was won by a different biathlete which is unusual on the men’s side. Alexander Loginov won the sprint, Jacquelin took the pursuit, Fourcade the individual and Johannes Boe the mass start!

Relays

The men’s relay was a big fight between Norway and France all season long! Norway dominated the early exchanges winning the first three races of the season. France took the win in the fourth race in Ruhpolding and more importantly won at World Champs. It was their first relay win in 19 years and completed Fourcade’s collection of medals! Norway won the final race in Nove Mesto and they won the men’s relay world cup title.

The mixed relay was a bit more competitive across the teams with Italy winning the opening race in Oestersund, France on top in Pokljuka and Norway taking gold in Antholz.

Retirements

Sadly this season there were more retirements than just Martin Fourcade. Michal Slesingr decided to end his career at his home World Cup in Nove Mesto. It was such a shame that there was no crowd there to send him off but he will be remembered as trail blazer for Czech biathlon of course as a fantastic biathlete. Also hanging up his rifle is Mario Dolder. His best finish came in 2017 when he was 6th in the Oestersund sprint and he was a great servant to the Swiss team. As a biathlon23 interviewee he will obviously be missed more than the other two! 😉

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Pokljuka 2020: The Individuals!

The final round of the World Cup before World Champs got underway in Pokljuka on Thursday. The men’s individual was the race and the tracks are slightly different this year. I guess they had to make them harder for the World Champs next year!

It was business as usual for Johannes Boe after coming back after the birth of his first son Gustav. He shot 20/20 and as we know if he doesn’t miss a shot he wins! It was like he has never been away!

Second place went to Martin Fourcade who also shot the perfect score but isn’t fast enough to challenge Johannes on the skis. He finished 11 seconds behind the Norwegian.

In third place was Fabien Claude who also hit 20/20 to achieve his first World Cup podium and a new personal best. It’s actually a remarkable performance after the news that his father, is missing after his snowmobile crashed through ice on a frozen lake in Canada.

Philipp Nawrath also hit all the targets finshing fourth to collect his personal best. Johannes Dale was 5th with one miss and Uncle Tarjei was 6th also with 19/20.

The only other man to hit 20/20 was Kirill Streltsov. If you follow the juniors you will recognise the name and the talent! Coming 17th on your World Cup debut is pretty good! Jinle Tang and Simon Bartko also got their best results so far in 43rd and 44th.

On Friday the women raced in sunny conditions and this time a Norwegian didn’t win the race or even get on the podium! It was Denise Herrmann who took her first win in the individual shooting 20/20 for the first time in this race. Hanna Oeberg was second despite missing a target so she must be on incredible ski form finishing just under a minute behind Herrmann.

Third place went to Anais Bescond who hit 20/20 for her first podium of the season. Lisa Vittozzi hit 20/20 to take 4th which is good news for her with the home World Champs coming up soon. Franziska Preuss was 5th also hitting all the targets and Clare Egan was 6th with the perfect shoot to claim her best ever finish in an individual race.

Tiril Eckhoff missed 3 targets to finish 18th and Dorothea Wierer missed 4 to finish 23rd.

Aita Gasparin took a personal best in 9th with 19/20 as did Christina Rieder in 21st with a perfect shoot. Belgium’s Lotte Lie was 53rd on her World Cup debut hitting 20/20 and Irina Starykh was the only other women to hit 20/20 in 8th place.

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Ruhpolding 2020: The Sprints!

How can two venues in the same country be so different?! Gales and fog in Obehof, sunny calm conditions in Ruhpolding.

It was the women’s sprint on Wednesday that started this round of the World Cup. It was totally dominated by Tiril Eckhoff. No one could touch her! She hit 10/10 and skied so fast that she finished 30 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger! I don’t know what happened to Eckhoff over the summer but it seems she has finally learned that hitting targets on a regular basis is a good thing in biathlon! She now has 5 wins this season and has moved into the yellow bib!

Second place went to Hanna Oeberg who was also on great form shooting 10/10. Dorothea Wierer was third also hitting the perfect score but it wasn’t good enough to hold on to the yellow bib.

In 4th was a fantastic Hanna Sola who from bib 76 shot clean and smashed her personal best. Her previous best result was 30th! Paulina Fialkova was 5th also hitting 10/10. Marte Roeiseland was 6th and the only one in the top six to miss 1 target.

There were more great performances from Johanna Skottheim with her personal best in 13th, Elena Kruchinkina with hers in 16th, Suvi Minkkinen got her PB in 31st as did newcomer Michela Carrara in 55th.

The men’s sprint was on Thursday and had equally good conditions. That meant that perfect shooting was again required to win and that’s exactly what the top three did today.

Coming out on top for his 80th World Cup win was Martin Fourcade. It was close between him amd teammate Quentin Fillon Maillet in second though. There was only 3.1 seconds between them at the finish. Third place went to Benedikt Doll which was the same position he finished in here last year!

Fourth place went to Vetle Christiansen who might have won today if he hadn’t missed one target! Simon Desthieux was fifth as was Fabien Claude who finished in exactly the same time both with 1 miss. It was Claude’s personal best finish.

Getting another personal best in 7th was Philipp Nawrath who stepped up from the IBU Cup.

It now means that France have the top three positions in the Overall with Fourcade, Fillon Maillet and Desthieux 1,2 and 3! Mon dieu! 😉

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Oestersund 2019: The Individuals!

Mon Dieu, Zut alors, tres bien, restaurant and other French words!!! What a race in the Oestersund Individual for the French Men’s team! They took the top four places in one race which hasn’t been done since 2009.

Leading them was Martin Fourcade who took his first win of the season shooting 19/20. He looks in much better shape than last year thank goodness! Second place went to Simon Desthieux who also shot 19/20 but was 12.7 seconds behind Fourcade. Skiing like the wind in third was Quentin Fillon Maillet who missed 3 targets!

Fourth went to Emilien Jacquelin which is also his personal best with 2 misses. In fact 5 of the the top 7 were French with Fabien Claude coming home in 7th place with 18/20. We won’t mention the 6th member of the team though! We will mention the wax team however who prepared some excellent skis which worked really well in warming conditions.

Benjamin Weger had an excellent race in 5th and Tarjei Boe was 6th. Johannes Boe looked tired today but still finished 10th shooting 18/20. I hope he hasn’t got what Martin had last season!

There were only two men who shot clean and they were Anton Babikov in 14th and Krasimir Anev in 15th. China’s Fangmeng Cheng got a huge personal best in 22nd improving by around 60 places!!! I wonder if it has anything to do with his new coach! 😉

Jakub Stvrtecky was 32nd getting a personal best with 3 misses. Junior Champion Alex Cisar from Slovenia made his World Cup debut at 19 years old and was 92nd.

Unluckily for me I used up all my french words for the men but I should have saved some as the Women’s Individual also went to France. Justine Braisaz who had an awful sprint race on Sunday was fantastic missing 2 shots but still winning by just over 11 seconds. She came from nowhere to take her second World Cup win.

The only woman in the whole field to shoot 20/20 was Yuliia Dzhima and it was good enough for second place. Julia Simon got another podium for France and a personal best for herself in third with 2 misses.

Ingrid Tandrevold was 4th, Larisa Kuklina 5th with her personal best and Lena Haecki was 6th despite 3 misses.

Dorothea Wierer finished 7th, two places ahead of teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi who was 9th.

There were also personal bests for Tamara Voronina in 14th, Grete Gaim in 27th and Anastassiya Kondratyeva in 34th.

Next races in Oestersund are the men’s relay on Saturday and the women’s relay on Sunday. Man the Swedes must really love a relay as they are getting 4 this week! 🙂


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Holmenkollen 2019: The Mass Starts!

It wasn’t really the epic battle we hoped for between Dorothea Wierer, Lisa Vittozzi and Anastasiya Kuzmina to decide the winner of the overall title in the mass start. All three looked physically and mentally drained after a tough season. They finished with Kuzmina in 10th missing 6 targets, Vittozzi in 11th missing 5 and Wierer in 12th also missing 5!

It was more than enough though for Wierer to claim her and Italy’s first ever big crystal globe in the women’s event. It was very well deserved by Wierer as she has been in the fight from the start fighting with Kaisa Makarainen in the earlier part of the season, then against Vittozzi and then finally Kuzmina.

Back to the race and it was close after the first prone with Hanna Oberg, Dorothea Wierer, Paulina Fialkova, Kaisa Makarainen, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland and Tiril Eckhoff all shooting clean and getting themselves a small lead over the others.

At the second prone it was again Oberg who led out of the shooting range hit 5/5. The leading group was halved however with just Eckhoff and Fialkova matching Oberg with no misses.

The three arrived at the first standing and all three missed! Oberg and Fialkova missed 1, Eckhoff missed 2. That gave the chasers a chance to close the gap and that’s just what Clare Egan with 15/15 and Denise Herrmann with
13/15 did.

At the final stand Oberg missed one again but so did her rivals Egan and Eckhoff. Herrmann missed 2 and Fialkova 3. That left Oberg out in front but being pursued by Eckhoff and Egan. Egan caught and passed Eckhoff but possibly used too much energy doing so and the Norwegian repassed her and even had a go a catching Oberg for the win but she ran out of track.

It was Oberg’s first win on the World Cup and also saw her win the mass start crystal globe. It was a personal best and first ever podium for Egan in third.

Herrmann was 4th, Lisa Hauser 5th and Fialkova 6th.

Evgeniya Pavlova was crowned rookie of the year.

Who wins 16 races in one season? Johannes Thingnes Boe that’s who! What an unbelievable season it has been for the Norwegian and he capped it off with a hattrick of wins at home and shooting 20/20 in the mass start to secure the small crystal globe. He made a clean sweep of all the globes this year and he has been outstanding. Unlike his celebratory viking helmet!!! Not only historically inaccurate but not very well fitting either! 😉

In the race itself it was Antonin Guigonnat who took the lead after the first prone but he was followed very closely by Julian Eberhard, Vetle Christainsen, Boe, Sebastian Samuelsson and Arnd Peiffer.

At the second prone it was Christiansen who took on the lead with Boe, Peiffer, Phillip Nawrath and Fabien Claude behind him after they all shot 5/5.

Christiansen missed 2 on the first standing but Boe, Peiffer and Nawrath cleaned as did Bendikt Doll who was making up ground fast after an early mistake.

It was Boe who pulled out a lead before the 4th and final shoot of the season. He seems to have solved all his standing issues and cleaned and cruised off to victory. On the range Peiffer cleaned also hitting 20/20 to take second place. Christiansen made no mistakes this time leaving in third. Doll had 1 miss but came off the penalty loop right behind the Norwegian.

Christiansen couldn’t hold off the charging Doll however and he was passed on the tracks. Doll took the last place on the podium and Julian Eberhard came back to take 4th with Christiansen having to settle for 5th. Lukas Hofer took 6th but he and Simon Desthieux got tangled up on the small hill before the finishing straight and both fell. It was the Italian who recovered fastest to take the final flowers of the season!

Fabien Claude got his personal best in 12th and Lucas Fratzscher pushed his up to 13th.

Johannes Dale won rookie of the season.

And just like that the season was finished! It has been a historic and memorable one but more about that in my season reviews and there is the small matter of some awards to hand out too! 🙂

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Soldier Hollow 2019: The Sprints!

I know what you are thinking. Soldier Hollow – that is such a cool name for a venue! It must have some interesting history from the days of the old west where soldiers maybe made their last stand in a hollow or something like that. Well no – they just made it up for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics! Still a cool name though!

In fact biathlon hasn’t been back here since 2002! But now it is and we kicked off with the women’s sprint on Thursday – Valentine’s Day! So who would feel the love? It was Marte Olsbu Roeiseland which is appropriate as she just got married last year.

It was her third win of the season and she shot clean and skied really well to win by 11.5 seconds. Behind her in second place was Kaisa Makarainen who missed one shot but also skied super fast. It was a surprise after her huge journey to get from Canmore to Utah which took her via Toronto and Atlanta after her initial flight to Seattle was cancelled.

Third place went to biathlete23!!! It was Franziska Hildebrand who got on the podium shooting clean for a great result. Flowers for bib23 on Valentine’s Day – how romantic! 😉

4th place went to Monika Hojnisz, 5th to Anastasiya Kuzmina and 6th to Kamila Zuk which was her best World Cup result to date shooting 10/10.

There were also personal bests for Tuuli Tomingas in 14th and Thelka Brun-Lie in 26th.

Dorothea Wierer stretched her lead in the Overall finishing 8th with teammate and rival Lisa Vittozzi in 12th.

The men’s sprint on Friday was also won by a Norwegian! No not him! It was Vetle Christiansen! After his second place finish in the Canmore Individual he went one better here taking his first ever World Cup win. He shot clean and won the race by just 1.3 seconds.

Simon Desthieux finally got on the podium after being in great form all season. He missed 1 but skied really well to get so close but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Third place went to Roman Rees with his first podium on the World Cup also missing 1.

Erik Lesser was 4th hitting 10/10, Johannes Boe was 5th after missing 4 on the standing shoot and Quentin Fillon Maillet was 6th with 9/10. Boe skied super fast as usual to get 5th and it was enough to give him the small crystal globe in the sprint.

There were some more great performances in the field from Johannes Dale in 10th getting his PB, Scott Gow in 14th equalled his PB from the Olympics, Fabien Claude was 16th his best result so far and Aidan Miller hit 10/10 to move his PB from 81st to 20th!!! Thierry Chenal was 31st for his top World Cup finish.

I don’t know what it is about Norway and North America but they have won all the races here apart from the women’s relay in Canmore when they were second! Maybe because they both start with NOR? 😉

Both pursuit races are on Saturday! Can Norway win them both too?

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Biathlon Books!

What did you get for Christmas? Martin Fourcade’s autobiography? Maybe J.J Hensley’s ‘Bolt Action Remedy’? Scott Dixon’s ‘Pup The Brave’? That’s right 2017 was the year of the biathlon book! Never one to miss out on a trend this year’s Christmas holiday post will guide you through the most famous of biathlon books. However I’m not sure how many of these are available to buy in the shops! 😉

Lord of the Olympic Rings:
One man’s amazing adventure to collect the five Olympic Rings! It details his perilous journey through Lillehammer, Nagano, Salt Lake City, Turin and Vancouver. Not only does he find the rings in order to destroy them so no one can beat his records but he also wins 6 gold medals, 4 silver and a bronze. Aided by his small, big footed Norwegian colleagues and fighting against Orcs with French, German and Russian accents Ole Einar Bjorndalen has a difficult task. Luckily he never gets any older and so expect sequels from Sochi, 2 more gold medals,and PyeongChang.

The Snowman:
A young Norwegian detective with amazing hair, let’s call him Emil, sets out to discover a murderer in snowy Oslo. The only clue is that he leaves a snowman outside the house of his victims with a World Cup winners medal around its neck. The action is spread across the city but comes to a shocking conclusion at the Holmenkollen arena. Will Emil find the murderer in time?

The Three Musketeers:
You may know them as Porthos, Athos and Aramis but we know them better as Florent, Fabien and Emilien Claude! Florent is called back from Belgium by his brothers to help fight their arch enemies! That’s right the Gasparin sisters – Selina, Elisa and Aita! A swashbuckling battle begins to decide whose family has the best three biathlon siblings. The action moves from France to Switzerland, from Annecy to Lenzerheide. Which family will survive and who will be in the firing line?

Fakenstein:
Dr. Jakov Fakenstein decides, a bit gruesomely, to take parts from various biathletes to make a super biathlete. For example he uses the eyes of Nadezhda Skardino for shooting, the legs of Julian Eberhard for skiing, the brain of Laura Dahlmeier, the shooting speed of Simon Eder, the beard of Michael Roesch, one arm each from the Semerenko twins and the torso of Simon Fourcade.
However things go terribly wrong and he ends up creating a monster. He calls him Klemen. Dr. Fakenstein’s choice of name definitely not mine! 😉

BrendANN of GREEN Gables:

Brendann, a young orphan from Hay River, is sent to Prince Edward Island to work on the Arendz family farm. At school he meets Rosanna who teases him and he immediately dislikes her! However it is school so secretly they are of course in love. The book chronicles their adventures as they both take up biathlon and travel the world competing for Canada. AWW!

The Bjorn Legacy:
When you are bourne (see what I did there) into the family your future is already decided. No not the Mafia – the Bjoerndalen’s! Yes this is the story of Dag Bjoerndalen, his little brother Ole Einar and his son Dag Sander and their obsession with biathlon. It tells their life stories and how they passed on the ‘family business’ to young Dag to race in the Youth/Junior World Championships. There is a lot, and I mean a lot of shooting, in this one!

The Other Bølyn Boy:
A tale of two brothers who vie for the affection of King Harald of Norway. First the elder brother Tarjei wins his favour by winning the World Cup and everything is going well. But then younger brother Johannes arrives at court and tries to impress the King with his speed and shooting skills. Who will come out on top? Who will the King choose as his favourite? I do hope no one loses their head!

A Song of Ice and Fire:

She is Gabriela of the House Koukalova, the First of Her Name, Czech born, Queen of the tracks, the range and the podium, Queen of Make Up, Khaleesi of the Great Snowy Mountain, Protector of the Rifle, Lady Regnant of the Seven Biathlon Kingdoms, Breaker of Ski Poles and Wearer of Earrings.

Yes this is the tale of Gabi Koukalova. Her epic tale of trying to rule the seven kingdoms of biathlon. Aided in quest by her loyal team of Michal Snowsingr, Ned-ezdha Stark-dino, Lukas Hodor, Direwolf-gang Pichler, Pod-chufarova, Iryna Varys-nets, Lord Lowell Baelish, Jo-anne-jen Reid, Sebastian Samwell-son and Tommen Lahaye-Goffart.

She has to fight many battles to win the Crystal Globe and maybe even some Olympic medals! She sings some songs along the way too. There is also a dragon even if it does just appear on Anton Shipulin’s rifle!

(I’m warning you now this is a long read! Currently in 5 weighty tomes and unfinished so you might not want to start it!)

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Season 2016/17 Preview: Men

Oestersund, Pokljuka, Nove Mesto, Oberhof, Ruhpolding, Antholz, PyeongChang, Tyumen and Olso! Are you ready? It’s almost time for the new biathlon season to begin! That means it must be time for a season preview too so here it is!

Looking back over previous previews they all read more or less like this. Martin Fourcade is the red hot favourite. If he stays fit and healthy all season he will win the Overall Title for the 6th year in a row. Potential challengers are Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tarjei Boe, Emil Hegle Svendsen, Simon Schempp and Anton Shipulin. They are all capable of beating Fourcade in a single race but don’t seem to have the consistency over a whole season to win the big Crystal globe.

Preview finished!

Only joking! As the top places are nearly always the same for the men I decided that this year’s preview should move away from the elite and see what’s happening a little bit behind them. Who are the up and coming biathletes to look out for? Who could get their first win or first podium? Who should be doing better? That’s what I am going to look at before season 2016/17 gets under way.

It’s sometimes hard to believe but there are some well established biathletes who have yet to win a race on the World Cup. The most famous is probably Simon Fourcade. He has achieved many podium results but never higher than second. Surely this season he will get to the top step. Fellow Frenchman Quentin Fillon Maillet has also come within a toenail of winning but again second place is his best result. Germany’s Benedikt Doll will be hoping to grab his first win. Tim Burke is another who will want to come first instead of second place as will Sergey Semenov and Benjamin Weger.

Expect a strong season from the Austrian team. Simon Eder was 5th last season in the overall title and Dominik Landertinger was 9th. With Julian Eberhard getting his first win and Sven Grossegger achieving a personal best of 5th they will be a dangerous squad this year.

Hoping to get their first taste of the podium are Andrejs Rastorgujevs who has a few 4th positions to his name already. Klemen Bauer also has a personal best of fourth as does Simon Desthieux and Krasimir Anev.

Scoring points on a more consistent basis will be the goal for biathletes like Mario Dolder, Leif Nordgren, Macx Davies, Kalev Ermits and Martin Otcenas.

Make sure you look out for some of the younger biathletes this season who will be trying their best to impress their coaches and the fans. Watch out for Sean Doherty to continue his rise to the top. The likes of Rene Zahkna, Rok Trsan and Fabien Claude will be pushing hard to do well. Keep an eye out too for Sebastian Samuelsson who has been picked for the Swedish team to make his debut in Oestersund and Felix Leitner who will start his first World Cup race for Austria.

On the other hand it’s about time Freddie Lindstrom had a better season. We haven’t seen him on the podium since 2013. Lukas Hofer didn’t have a great season individually either and it would be good to see him back on form. Jakov Fak will be hoping to improve as will Ondrej Moravec.

There are many more biathletes to watch out for but too many to mention here. The Germans are always dangerous with Peiffer and Lesser showing some good form in patches last time.

Last but not least expect new dad Ole Einar Bjoerndalen to pop up with a few podium finishes and don’t be surprised if he adds more World Championships medals to his vast collection in Hochfilzen. That’s if he can cope with the sleepless nights of course!

Hopefully it will a great season with some more first time winners and some great races. The title race might not be close but we can look forward to some great battles in individual races. Bring it on boys!!!

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Scott Dixon: The Interview 2!!!

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Back by popular demand -well he is popular so I demanded it – it’s Scott Dixon! The 21-year-old Brit has made a few changes over the summer in his residence and his coaches and is looking forward to the new season. He kindly took some time before the season gets under way to tell us all about his training and his goals for the World Cup.

You can follow Scott’s progress on his Facebook page: Scott Dixon Biathlete.

First and most importantly you turned 21 over the summer. Did you get any good presents? Did you celebrate with a wild party?

Well, I have never been much of a crazy party animal, but I was lucky enough to move to a beautiful location in France (Aix-Les-Bains) with my girlfriend. We are both able to train in the area as Katie competes in Figure Skating and there are good facilities in Annecy. I am able to train in La Féclaz which is a relatively new development and the set up there is of a very high standard.

You have 3 new coaches in France one of whom is Alexis Boeuf. What are they like as coaches and what have you learned from them?

I really like all of my coaches. They are all very helpful and have a lot of knowledge to share. It has been interesting for me to see how differently two great Biathlon nations operate and learn how two different approaches to training can be so effective.

You went to Corsica for the French Summer Roller Ski Championships. How did that go? I believe you were caught up in an accident there also – what happened?

I was training on the beautiful island of Corsica with my team and unfortunately, I was caught up in an accident. I was there to compete at the French National Summer Roller Ski championships. The Island is criss-crossed with great roads to explore on roller skis, and about 40 minutes into a 55km loop, a group of over 8 of us came quickly upon a very hard corner at 45kmph. The man who cycled the course the previous day had forgotten that the corner was that soon in the skate. There was no time to react and about six of us piled into the debris at the side of the road, including rocks. I lost a lot of skin! Two athletes were taken to hospital by ambulance and I was taken back to our accommodation to be bandaged up. I didn’t sleep much that night and racing was a nightmare two days later with a lot less skin left on my left leg!

Last year you had the very uncommon compartmental syndrome in the abdominal muscles and this summer a double pole machine fell on your head! Why do these things happen to you?!

Well the list of unfortunate things doesn’t stop at compartmental syndrome and hostile gym machines.

My list is disturbingly long. It has come to a point in my process as an athlete when I have to ask myself if these incidents have come around due to my own stupidity or lack of restraint in certain situations. I think there is an element of that, I must admit, but I also think I have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time a few times. On the other hand a lot of luck has come my way, and I tend to forget that in the face of all my bad luck. It’s generally how I confuse ‘sod’s law’ for just life as it comes in general.

You were also competing in Arcon against all the French Biathletes recently. How was that experience?

Arcon was interesting. I shot 80% which was slightly disappointing and I skied very slowly compared to my expectations. It was very soon after my injury so I was told not to see it as a negative and more as an experience. However, I couldn’t help feeling I had let myself down somehow. Any athlete can relate to this I am sure.

What are your goals for this season?

I am now hoping to maintain my World Cup qualifier by competing well on World cup instead of having to re-qualify on the IBU cup. I know I am capable of this as I did so twice at last year’s World Championships. The qualification points are harder to achieve with the new IBU points system, but I am hoping that with good improvement from last year I will be ready to achieve this goal.

What are your strengths as a biathlete and what are your weaknesses? Do you have anything that you specifically want to improve before next season?

My main strength is my shooting. Last year I finished the season with an overall hit rate of 85% and managed to clear 20/20 and the next day 10/10 which is a clear personal best for me. My ski speed however is a big weakness. With so many setbacks, my progress is not where I hoped to see it at this point. If everything goes to plan in the coming months, I will see improvements in my ski speed. I will be working extremely hard to improve this aspect of my performance.

British Biathlon is looking for new sponsorship again. How will it affect you if it doesn’t get the funds it needs? Will you be able to go to the North American rounds for example?

I try to keep the issue out of my mind because there is very little I can do to affect it. I will not attend the races in North America due to this funding issue which is a shame, but it may also mean more time to get in good shape for the World Championships. So despite the clear negative there is a very clear positive I can take from it. I also believe with the passionate team that is the BBU that sponsorship will be found soon.

Lee Jackson and Kevin Kane have both retired. What affect will that have on the team and on you personally?


I was sad to see them both retire. Kevin was somewhat of a mentor for me in my first few years, keeping me under control and trying to pare down some of my typical teenage bad habits. So now at 21 I feel a bit old for my age, when new guys are selected for the team and I find myself pointing out things that I was guilty of not so long ago (mainly Biathlon related as I am still an ”admin case” around the house). Jackson is now working closely with the IBU cup team and is still very much in the system. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him race again. That applies for both of them in fact, as we don’t have enough people qualified for a relay without them.

Will we see you and Amanda Lightfoot in the Single Mixed Relay this season? They are on the same day as the Mixed Relays again but you two could do really well in it I think.

Sadly not this season, unless attending North America becomes an option, as that is the only remaining Single mixed relay this season. However, I believe that this is the event of the future for Amanda and me. Is a podium possible in the future? I don’t see why not!

We know you are a bit of a biathlon geek! Do you have any predictions for who you think will do well this season and maybe a younger biathlete we should be keeping our eye on?

Of course I am, like everyone I know who started watching casually and fell in love with the sport. I have a strong suspicion that Simon Schempp will be the Overall World Cup winner this year. I believe that Jean-Guillaume Beatrix will win a pursuit or mass start competition this season, and hopefully more than one. Andrejs Rastorgujevs will be one of the fastest on the track over the whole season with a podium finish and Tarjei Bø will be top three in the Overall World Cup rankings at the end of the season. Keep an eye on Fabien Claude, he is extremely fast, just a bit older than me and more consistent in his shooting. He will be one of the top names on World Cup in the coming years. Look out for Justine Braisaz (also French) for the women. With several World Cup starts already she has a big future ahead of her I think.

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