Tag Archives: Ruhpolding 2020

Ch-Ch-Changes!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
There’s gonna have to be a different schedule!

Well I hate to say I told you so but I did warn you back in August that there could be big changes to the biathlon schedule this season and it has happened.

Firstly the Junior Cup has been cancelled almost entirely with just the Youth/Junior World Championships surviving in February 2021. These will be held in Obertilliach.

Next the IBU Cup rounds in December have been cancelled with the season starting in January in Arber. There will only be 5 rounds in the season, 2 in Arber, 2 in Brezno-Orsblie and 1 in Ridnaun, with the Open European Championships going ahead in Duszniki Zdroj in January.

The para-biathlon World Cup has also been moved and will now start in January too. Oestersund was due to host the first round in December but it has been moved to January and will become the second round after Planica in Slovenia. The World Championships are in Lillehammer in February and the final World Cup will be in Beijing on the 2020 Paralympic tracks in March.

The World Cup will now be the only biathlon to take place before Christmas. Oestersund has been cancelled and replaced by Kontiolahti which will host the ‘season opener’ and then World Cup 1. Annecy is cancelled and replaced by Hochfilzen which will now host World Cup 2 and 3.

The World Team Challenge which is held in Gelsenkirchen at the Schalke football stadium will not take place over the Christmas break this season.

In January there will be two visits to Oberhof for World Cups 4 and 5 with no Ruhpolding this season. Antholz will host World Cup 6 as scheduled.

The World Championships in Pokljuka will go ahead in February.

The rest of the calendar will be confirmed in November. We should be going to Beijing for the Olympic test event followed by Nove Mesto and then Holmenkollen.

I imagine that Beijing will have to stay on the calendar as the facilities and tracks have to be tested before 2022 and the athletes need to try the course and range.

However anything could happen with Nove Mesto and Holmenkollen. I suspect like the other decisions they will choose one to host 2 races to reduce travel and as Holmenkollen didn’t go ahead last season it would be the likely choice.

However it does depend if the venues are available to hold two events in a row. Apparently they sometimes use them for other sports – outrageous!

There was a lot of surprise when Oberhof was announced as hosting 2 World Cups as it is becoming known as ‘No-snowberhof’ but as it is the venue for the 2023 World Championships it would be difficult to skip it.

As for spectators at the World Cup it is basically out of the IBU’s hands. It will depend on the national governments rules in each country. Even if crowds are allowed I would imagine it would be at a reduced capacity not a full house.

So December is going to be dismal with only the World Cup to watch. I love the World Cup but it’s just not enough biathlon! However it is 2020 so we should probably just be grateful that there is any biathlon at all!

All of the above is still subject to possible ch-changes!

(I must credit David Bowie for helping with the opening paragraph!)

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Ruhpolding 2020: The Pursuits!

Well the pursuits are supposed to be exciting aren’t they? Not if bib number one wins them both!

So it maybe wasn’t such a great race to watch in the women pursuit at the front but behind Tiril Eckhoff it was all to play for.

Miss Eckhoff had a great race missing just 1 target and with a 30 second lead at the start her lead was unassailable. It’s her 6th win this season and she has won every pursuit race so far. Could she win the Overall? If she keeps this form up of course!

Behind her it was a tight race between Hanna Oeberg and Paulina Fialkova. They both hit 18/20 and left the final standing together but Fialkova was the stronger skier today and grabbed second with Oberg third.

Johanna Skottheim was amazing in 4th hitting 19/20 and getting a new PB and her first world cup flowers. Linn Persson was 5th and Denise Herrmann went from 19th to 6th.

Vita Semerenko was the only woman to shoot the perfect score and moved from 34th to 8th.

In the men’s race it was close at the front between Martin Fourcade and Quentin Fillon Maillet who matched each other shot for shot up until the third shoot. Fillon Maillet missed one while Fourcade cleaned to take a decisive lead. He would go on to shoot 20/20 for his 81st win.

The excitement came in the race for third with Simon Desthieux, Vetle Christiansen and Benedikt Doll leaving the final shoot close together. It came down to a ski race which Christiansen won on the line just beating Desthieux.

Doll was 5th, Emilien Jacquelin 6th and Antonin Guigonnat 8th meaning there were 5 Frenchmen in the top 8!

Tarjei Boe went from 28th to 7th, Ondrej Moravec hit 20/20 to go from 30th to 18th and Lars Birkeland was the only other man to hit all 20 moving from 41st to 20th.

The World Cup now moves on to Pokljuka for Individuals, Mass Starts and the Single Mixed and Mixed Relays.

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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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Season Preview 2019/20: The Men!

The light bulbs in the floodlights have all been replaced in Oestersund, the fog machines have been serviced in Oberhof (you didn’t think that was real fog ,did you?) and the Kontiolahti Wall has been made a little bit steeper. All of which can only mean one thing – the biathlon season is about to start!

The schedule is a little different this year with Oestersund, Hochfilzen and Annecy before Christmas. Then comes Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Pokljuka. The World Championships are in Antholz and then we have three more World Cup rounds in Nove Mesto, Kontiolahti and Oslo.

The big question on everyone’s mind on the men’s World Cup is which Martin Fourcade is going to show up in Sweden? Will it be 7 times champion Martin Fourcade or 2018/19 Martin Fourcade? Fingers crossed it’s the former. It’s about time we had a proper head to head clash on the men’s World Cup.

Last season was fantastic for Johannes Boe. He won the big crystal globe with 1262 points which was 408 points ahead of his closest challenger Alexander Loginov and almost double the tally of Fourcade. Fourcade had many issues last year but he still had a great season by “normal biathlete” standards. However he is not a normal biathlete as we know and if he comes back with his old form we could have a battle between himself and Boe the likes of which we haven’t seen since Troy.

Of course there is an “Achillies Heel”! Johannes Boe is set to become a father for the first time in January. Obviously baby Boe has priority so it could mean him missing some races which could impact a close title fight. And there is Trojan Horse of injury and illness that could sneak up unexpectedly!

Won’t there be any other challengers for the title I hear you ask? No, probably not! There are many biathletes who ski as fast as Boe and Fourcade and many who shoot as well as them too. However there are none who can do both on such a consistent basis as our two favourites.

It is shaping up to be a fight between Norway and France not just via Boe and Fourcade but also with the rest of the guys too. Last season Quentin Fillon Maillet was excellent and finished third overall and Simon Desthieux was fourth. Tarjei Boe was sixth and Vetle Christiansen took a big step forward winning his first World Cup race. Antonin Guigonnat had a great season and Erlend Bjoentegaard will be looking to impress. So the relays could get very exciting as well as the individual races.

Who else should we be looking out for to do well this season? Who could taste victory for the first time and who could make the jump up onto the podium?

There is always a lot of attention on Sebastian Samuelsson after his Olympic successes but he is yet to win a race. I think people forget that he is still a biathlon “baby” aged just 22. He got his first World Cup podium last season and it would be great to see him make the jump up to the top step.

Johannes Keuhn had a great start last season getting a second place in the first race. However he faded a bit after the initial glory but it could be his chance this time to take a maiden victory.

Remember Michal Krcmar? He disappeared last season along with the rest of the Czech men’s team. The year before though he excelled so if he can get that old form back a win could be his for the first time. And let’s face it his rifle deserves a victory!

A surprise winner at the World Championships, it would be good to see Dmytro Pidruchnyi bring that confidence and attitude with him on to the World Cup this season and hopefully gets some more wins under his belt.

Johannes Dale is one to watch for possible podiums this season. He did really well debuting on the World Cup last year and has the ski speed to get among the top finishers. It would also be good to see Sean Doherty live up to the potential he showed as a Junior. 10th is his personal best so far but after joining the army this summer maybe a bit if discipline and a good haircut can propel him up the field! Attention!

Tero Seppala didn’t have the best season in 2018/19 but he had good results the year before so hopefully he can also take a step forward. Christian Gow had a fantastic season with two Top 10 finishes and he could be a good bet to grab Canada a podium this time round.

The men’s season for the Overall Title begins with the Sprint race in Oestersund on the 1st of December. The World Cup opens on the 30th of November with the single and mixed relays.

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