Well we have one exciting week of racing in the books and now its time for some completely irresponsible rankings!
A reminder on the ranking philosophy… Usually 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.
This week though I’m doing things a little differently. It is far too early in the season for me to even make wildly subjective rankings so what I’m going to do is just throw up my gut top 10 rankings for men and women. Usually I might try to argue for why somebody deserves to be in one particular spot, or use the rankings as a way to talk about somebody I didn’t get to in the weekly recap. I don’t have enough to go off of now so I’m not even going to try to justify these! If you’ve got disagreements I want to hear about it! Without further ado..
Women’s Power Rankings:
- Dzinara Alimbekava
- Marketa Davidova
- Marte Olsbu Røiseland
- Elvira Öberg
- Tiril Eckhoff
- Lisa Theresa Hauser
- Hanna Öberg
- Denise Herrmann
- Franziska Preuß
- Mona Brorsson
As I said before these are primarily subjective rankings. I’m trying to go a bit based on priors and a bit based on the results of the first weekend. The top 3 I can make solid arguments for. Coming in at the top spot: nobody was more consistent than Alimbekava just missing the podium in both races. She seems primed for a very good season this year. Davidova grabs the 2nd spot as she had what I considered the most impressive win of the weekend. She also seemed ready for a breakout season and already has a W. I think we’ll see more of that as the year goes along. Røiseland like Alimbekava was very consistent in the first weekend. Preseason I would have predicted her to be top 3-5 and even challenging for the #1 overall spot so this is a natural place.
After the top 3 though things get a little…shaky. I can still argue for 4 and 5. Personally I was very impressed with Elvira Öberg. She had an 8th in the sprint with 2 misses. The next closest person with 2 misses was Brorsson in 18th. Elvira’s ski speed has been terrific this opening weekend so she grabs #4. As for Eckhoff, even after a rough weekend I have a tough time knocking the queen out of the top 5. I still wouldn’t be surprised with anything she does.
Lisa Hauser had a very good start to the season with a 2nd in the Individual race followed by 21 in sprint which was okay for her. She was 10th in the Sprint standings last year. Hanna Öberg followed a very disappointing Individual 74th with a win in the Sprint. I have no idea which Hanna we’ll see next weekend. Herrmann and Preuß both had decent weekends and I would expect to see the in and around the top 10 all season. Finally Mona Brorsson was the most consistent of the rest.
Men’s Power Rankings
- Sebbe Samuelsson
- JT Bø
- Simon Desthieux
- Tarjei Bø
- Sturla Holm Lægried
- Sivert Bakken
- Fabien Claude
- Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen
- Eduard Latypov
- Christian Gow
Sebastien Samuelsson will lead off the season in the #1 overall spot. He was only 40th in the Individual race but he was so completely dominant in the Sprint race that I have to give it to him. If he can stay close to clean on the range he’s going to be in for an amazing season. He did start off last season well before sagging in the middle of the season. If he can avoid the mid season dip he’s going to be in the mix for the top 3 overall this year. That isn’t any brilliant insight but I’m just really excited about his potential!
JT Bø and Simon Desthieux were easily the most consistent men on the weekend each with a 3rd and a 5th. Jt Bø gets the nod over Desthieux based on his long history of dominance over the sport. Desthieux though isn’t without pedigree considering he has a handful of top 10 overall finishes in the World Cup including as high as 4th. He could be starting another highly successful campaign. Tarjei Bø, like the two above, was consistent but just not quite as consistent as the two above him.
Why is Lægried 5th where Samuelsson was 1st? Excellent question. I think for it is because his Sprint performance was an absolute head scratcher. He had just 1 miss but finished 1:44 down on Samuelsson. He rode clean shooting and merely decent speed to his Individual win. He clearly is looking to work his way into peak form likely aiming towards a peak in February.
Sivert Bakken had a remarkable opening weekend finishing 6th and 8th in the two races. In a deep Norwegian team he almost needed to to ensure that he keeps his place on the team! In all seriousness he didn’t miss on the weekend. Unless he’s the 2nd coming of Simon Eder he’s going to need to pick up his ski speed just a touch to maintain this position.
Claude, Christiansen, and Latypov all were quite consistent including a 2nd place in the Sprint for Christiansen. I don’t know if I would count on these three sticking in the top 10 all season but I do believe we’ll see them pop up on in the top 10’s of races throughout the season.
Lastly, Christian Gow (and Scott Gow) had a terrific weekend. I’m not sure if I actually believe that he’s more likely to win a race than say QFM or Jacquelin but I think after his performances this weekend he more than earned this spot.