help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

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help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby JeffOYB » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:26 pm

i see the only youtube videos of the latest hochfilsen biathlon world cup have the racers starting based on some kind of unexplained handicap. ... how was this derived? why does J. Boe get a head start? the only time in modern skiing that this happens is in the pursuit -- when the race result of one type of skiing is used to determine the start order of another. i do not see how this fits with biathlon. help? i googled biathlon and came up w the wiki entry which does not mention anything like the pursuit format i am seeing... i see the pursuit listed as a biathlon event. but i can't find any explanation (tho apparently a million europeans are aware of it). biathlon is not skied in multiple formats so i don't see how a pursuit could be configured. there is perhaps a mass start and an interval. but that doesn't seem to fit... googling for 'biathlon pursuit' isn't helpful -- i guess it's just common knowledge for everyone but me. ...as for me, i see a race that starts w J. Boe having a lead that nobody can reduce. how he got the lead from whatever previous race is unknown... the deutsch commentary doesn't help. ah, now i found it! it is in the wiki -- the starting order is sorted 'most commonly by a sprint.' well that's something! if it's most commonly a sprint, i wonder what else might be used? all biathlon is skating, so they can't use classic.
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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby zzzz » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:38 am

Complete descriptions of the different disciplines are here:

http://www.biathlonworld.com/about-biathlon/

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Neuro » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:11 pm

Yeah it's from the sprint result, but it's such a bizarre competition, especially when it's allowed in major championships like World Championship and Olympics. I mean, in what sports do some people get a head start and others start with a handicap ? It's totally unfair, against all sporting ideals and shouldn't be allowed.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby MN Hoser » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:04 pm

I can't for the life of me understand what's unfair about a pursuit. It's a two day competition, right. XC used to have it too (i.e. two competitions on two days, with one overall result). Golf plays 4 days. You could even point at a 7 game series like baseball or hockey as similar.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Neuro » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:49 am

Fair if it's one competition over two days, but it's not. It's two separate competitions.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby MN Hoser » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:30 am

Ok, I get it. There’s a sprint winner and a pursuit winner. So if you shoot clean in the sprint, you’ll likely have a good pursuit too.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Loran » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:41 am

I understand it as two separate competitions, but they are as follow :

Competition one : Sprint (One day event).
Competition two : Sprint + Pursuit (Two days event).

Biathlon is extremely well thought to balance skiing ability and shooting abilitiy.
Some competitions tend to penalize poor skiing performance : Relays (allowing to pickup extra bullets; resulting 5s to 10s penalty each miss) . One tends to penalize poor shooting performance : 20km individual (1 minute penalty each miss). 20 km is also physically demanding though.
Some others *try to* achieve balance : mass-start, sprint, pursuit (one loop penalty i.e ~20s penalty) . But nervous shooters will feel the pressure of a pursuit. The mass-start also put pressure on the leaders when shooting.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Neuro » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:55 am

I remember how one American journalist mockingly described the Olympic event as 'where they hand out a set of medals half-way in the race', and unfortunately it's true.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Loran » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:55 am

It's not true and it's very well thought.

Think about classic + skate events :

First day event : classic race
Second day event : skate, in pursuit mode

You can have three podiums :
- Best classic skiers
- Best overall skiers (obvious at the end of the second race
- Best skate skiers. one can finish, say, 4th place, at the second event and still be best skater. BUT there's the drafting and group skiing problem during the pursuit. Ususally the front group will ski slow neutralizing themselves until the end (where Petter Northug would then win) and then some obscure 20th or so skier wins the skate race because he skated hard from start to end. That third podium IS stupid.

In general I.B.U thinks a lot better than F.I.S that's why I.B.U does not that third podium whereas F.I.S does.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Neuro » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:48 am

Yes, having a separate World Cup race within another World Cup race like they do with the best times in the XC pursuit is also slightly bizarre.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby MN Hoser » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:56 am

From the racer’s perspective, I get it. When I skied xc pursuits, the racers knew who won the first day and the second day, and even at the awards, they’d often mention that, but only give out awards for the combined. If they award the sprint, they really should award the pursuit separate from the sprint and then combined (a larger award). I guess that’s my “I know nothing about biathlon” opinion, which means nothing.

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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby JeffOYB » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:09 am

i thot pursuit developed as a way to make it easier to have a combi event. for awhile didn't they do it without stopping? they'd do, like, a classic race then switch gear to skating at halfway point. so the formal pursuit measures the gaps at the halfway then restarts with those gaps so they don't have to do a hasty gear-change.

pursuit also makes sense to me for a narrow course where passing wd be hard. an interval format wd seem to have a more orderly start good for narrow trail -- however, it usually has the fastest seeds at the end so there is passing: bad for narrow. a pursuit is kind of a reverse interval start. ...with the gaps being tracked.

oh well... event theory...
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Re: help -- how does biathlon get a pursuit aspect?

Postby Neuro » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:54 pm

Yeah the classic to skate style (skiathlon) is continous, but just like you say there's talk of making it a two-day pursuit event which sounds good. Modern tracks are not as narrow as to be a problem with overtaking, but pursuit has been openly said to be about making exciting TV, just as why the mass start was introduced too.

Real pursuits like final day in Tours (f.i. Tour de Ski final day) can be very exciting, but it is very grating to have pursuit as a standalone competition, especially in major championships like I said.


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