March 9, 2021 Power Rankings

After a fun week of racing we’re going to see one really seismic change and then a bunch of little changes. Everybody can probably guess what the big seismic change is going to be so I won’t delay any further!

A reminder on the ranking philosophy… Basically the way I think about it is that if there were a race today the person ranked #1 would be my favorite to win. If the person in slot 1 were removed from the race then #2 would become my favorite and so on. Of course its not perfect because somebody who might be the favorite in a Sprint might not be your favorite for an Individual race. I’m not going to get that specific. Fair warning these are almost entirely subjective. If you’ve got disagreements I want to hear about it! Without further ado..

Women’s Power Rankings:

1.Tiril Eckhoff (last week 1)
Tiril Eckhoff is the Queen and ruler of IBU World Cup biathlon for the foreseeable future. Unless somebody does something truly ridiculous over the next two weekends I’m not sure there is any chance Eckhoff loses the top spot until November 2021. Since the second weekend in Hochfilzen she has 7 wins and hasn’t lost a sprint. I repeat she hasn’t lost a sprint! The lesson as always: Don’t bet against Tiril Eckhoff.

2. Lisa Theresa Hauser (2)
Yes I had her ranked as a disappointment yesterday. Yes she holds on to the #2 spot. Find me somebody who has been more consistent over the several months, I’ll wait. I can’t justify moving her down 38th in sprint or 45th in pursuit. Now if this coming weekend looks the same I’ll have to do it. So please don’t disappoint me!

3. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (6)
4. Franziska Preuss (5)
Last week there was a bit of a traffic jam with these two ranked alongside Hanna Öberg and Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet. Roeiseland and Preuss pushed their noses ahead just a touch with their performances this past weekend but no significant difference between the two with Roeiseland going 7th and 3rd in sprint/pursuit and Preuss finishing 8th and 5th.

5. Denise Herrmann (unranked)
On Sunday night when I made my first run through of these rankings Herrmann was much lower on the list. Then I went back and reviewed her recent finishes vs Öberg, Tandrevold, Wiere, and Chevalier-Bouchet and she stacks up very nicely. Over the last 2 weeks in individual races she’s 4, 8, 15, 10, and grabbed 2nd in pursuit to close the first weekend in Nove Mesto. It might be too high too quickly but I’m comfortable with it.

6. Indrid Landmark Tandrevold (9)
Just like with Herrmann I initially had Tandrevold lower but really over the last 2 weeks of competition she’s been very steady. It’s not even a mild surprise anymore seeing her solidly top 10 and it’s just a matter of time before her next podium and first win.

7. Hanna Öberg (3)
8. Dorothea Wierer (7) 
9. Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet (4)
Not much to say here. Each of these woman clearly has the talent to win any given race. And they each show on a fairly regular basis that they should be kept in mind when making your pre-race top 5/10. However they’ve also each thrown in some real clunkers recently. They might all have a higher top end than Herrmann or Tandrevold but they haven’t performed like it recently. Thus they end up together here.

10. Yulia Dzhima (unranked)
Dzhima deserves to be rewarded after going 2nd in sprint and 6th in pursuit. Her sprint finish was just 9 seconds behind Tiril Eckhoff and hey that’s saying something these days!

Dropped: Markéta Davidová and Julia Simon

Men’s Power Rankings:

1.Sturla Holm Lægried (2)
2. JT Bø (1)
This is the big moment and I don’t believe it is undeserved. At their peak JT undoubtedly still has the highest gear. And you can’t doubt his drive and determination. When they line up at the start of the race though I just no longer have the confidence that he’s the favorite. Lægried’s best is good enough and his consistency of late has been better. I know I keep harping on this but check out the race for the overall crystal globe. It is wildly close and Lægried has been making up ground. It’s probably a toss up at this point but if forced to make a call I would probably bet Lægried will win it. (Everybody go place your best on Bø now as I probably just gave Lægried the kiss of death!)

3. Quintin Fillon Maillet (3)
4. Simon Desthieux (10)
5. Emilien Jacquelin (4)
QFM didn’t have an outstanding week but hard to call 7th and 6th in sprint and pursuit respectively a bad week. Certainly no reason to bump him down. Desthieux was the man of the week and earned every bit of his rise up the rankings with his win in the sprint and backing it up with a 3rd in pursuit. I mentioned it in my weekend wrap up but he’s had a very good last couple of events. Jacquelin very much like QFM…with an 8th and a 7th no reason to move him down or up. Now why does Desthieux split the two? Just because.

6. Sebastien Samuelsson (7)
7. Tarjei Bø (unranked)
8. Arnd Peiffer (8)
These three were all together in my mind as I could make the argument that any one of them could/should be with the group ahead. But I ultimately couldn’t pull the trigger on it. Samuelsson is up a spot this week after his second place in the sprint. He couldn’t back it up with the pursuit but finishing just 2.2 seconds from the top spot on the podium is a good weekend. Tarjei Bø did actually get the win in the pursuit but he hasn’t been consistent enough to go much higher. Arnd Peiffer had a similar story as the two above with a 3rd place in sprint and 10th in pursuit. He also was a part of the overwhelming victory for the German relay team. I try not to let relays play too much of a role in individual power rankings but I allow myself an exception every now and then. Should he be higher on this list? Maybe.

9. Johannes Dale (5)
Dale just wasn’t a major player in the proceedings this week. I’m not going to move him all the way off the list like some others but he didn’t do anything to keep his spot either.

10. Jakov Fak (unranked)
Great week for Fak! He’s going to struggle to make podiums with his slower legs but I love seeing him succeed. 9th in sprint and 4th in pursuit plus 4th place in the relay for Slovenia adds up to a top 10 ranking for Mr. Fak. Happy to be able to have him here.

Dropped: Ponsiluoma + Eder

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