December 6, 2021 Power Rankings

Also a last reminder while I try to justify these choices these are fairly subjective. Also I try to be fairly reactive with rankings so especially early in the season you’ll see people going up and down pretty quick. That definitely holds true this week. Some newcomers (who in all honesty should have been on last week) and some rapid risers and fallers! Also the complete and appropriate disappearance of Tiril Eckhoff for the first time in the brief history of this site. Okay lets do it!

Women’s Power Rankings:

1. Marte Olsbu Røiseland (Last week: 3) Her results alone probably don’t justify being moved all the way to the top spot. However with her history of 3 straight finishes in the overall top 5 she has something none of the other women here have. When I think of my principal of “lining up today who would I think can win” Røiseland takes my top spot.

2. Elvira Öberg (4) – She doesn’t have a win…yet. But it has to be coming right? Her speed is just on another level so if she is anywhere close to clean shooting then she’s going to have a chance to win. She’ll reach the top step of the podium soon enough.

3. Lisa Theresa Hauser (6) – Anybody who has followed my account for any amount of time knows that Lisa Hauser is one of my favorite biathletes. So its really hard for me to not put her #1. I mean she’s #1 in the overall standings and just had a W this past weekend. To do it though she had to be absolutely clean and Elvira Öberg had 4 misses and she still won by less than a penalty loop’s time. Fortunately she’s a solid bet to be a great shooter and she’s improved her shooting speed to be even better than usual. She’s going to win many more times this season and has a chance to be #1 overall in both the real standings and this one.

4. Dzinara Alimbekava (1) – She didn’t have a bad weekend. In fact she had yet another 4th place finish making it 3 in total for the season now. I just feel like this is the right spot for her.

5. Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet (Unranked) – Yeesh not sure how she didn’t make my top 10 last time. Part of that was leaving Tiril Eckhoff on the list for 1 more week but part of it was pure oversight. Two podiums already this season and you could argue she might even be a little higher on this list.

6. Franziska Preuß (9)
7. Hanna Öberg (7)
8. Denise Herrmann (8)
All 3 had solid if not spectacular weeks. Preuß had multiple near misses being approximately 1 miss off the podium in both solo events on the weekend. She ended up with 5th places finishes in each event. Hanna Öberg does have a W on the season so you could argue she should be a little higher but when they all line up on the start line I just don’t have faith that she’s going to be able to shoot that well and her shooting is fairly average this season. Herrmann just keeps plugging away with 3 top 10’s including a season opening 3rd place finish. 8th place just seems about right (especially considering her last 2 finishes were 8th and 9th!).

9. Marketa Davidova (2)
10. Hanna Sola (Unranked)
I feel that Davidova and Sola slot in pretty closely. Unfortunately Davidova hasn’t been able to recapture the magic since her season opening W regularly finishing in the mid-teens. But she does have the W while Sola has a 5th and 3rd in the Sprint races this season so Davidova get the edge.

Men’s Power Rankings:

1.Sebastian Samuelsson (Last week 1)
2. Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen (8)
These two are very close and have a fairly similar season story so far: not great Individual race followed by spectacular results since. Samuelsson has gone 1, 1, and 2 in those starts while Christiansen has gone 2, 5, and 1. Christiansen’s superior Individual race gives him the Yellow Jersey but Samuelsson gets the edge for me. His ski speed so far has been on a different plane from everybody but maybe Jacquelin. But Christiansen has been shooting better while not exactly being sluggish. I am hoping both keep the performances rolling this weekend!

3. Emilien Jacquelin (Unranked)
4. JT Bø (2)
Jacquelin is like Chevalier-Bouchet in that he absolutely should have been ranked last week and I’m not sure what I was thinking. I was probably just scared off by his horrendous shooting in the Individual. Since then though he’s been 4th, 2nd, and 3rd. He’s going to get a W if he keeps giving himself these chances! JT Bø meanwhile has gone 5, 3, 9, 8. It’s not like he’s been bad but his skiing hasn’t been as good this season yet as he has always been. Likely just building into the season. His shooting has been about the same as last season. At the start of the race though I still feel like he’s got a chance. Any weekend could be the weekend he finds himself back on the top of the podium.

5. Sturla Holm Lægried(5)
6. Tarjei Bø (4)
Lægried had the season opening win, a head scratching 37th and then a 6th. And then he took the rest of the weekend off while feeling sick. I don’t think I can drop him but I’m really not sure what we’ll see next weekend. Tarjei has given himself a couple of chances this season, coming in 2nd in the Individual behind Lægried and a top 10 in the sprint this weekend. He’s also had a couple of average finishes. When things break right for him though he can still find the top of the podium.

7. Quentin Fillon Maillet (Unranked)
8. Eduard Latypov (9)
9. Simon Desthieux (3)
For varying reasons all three of these gentlemen are slotted together. QFM felt like he had turned the corner with a good Sprint race and a solid last leg of the relay but then just didn’t have it in the Pursuit. Latypov has been pretty steady between 4th and 11th all season. And Desthieux started out with a terrific weekend before having a regression this weekend. QFM comes out on top due to superior pedigree and his generally trajectory pointing upward.

Simon Eder is in the mix in a sprint…and didn’t come in last!

10. Simon Eder (Unranked) – For me this really came down a Eder vs. Bakken and Claude. I wouldn’t be particularly confident in any of the 3 actually winning but I’ve seen Eder get in the top 10 on fairly regular basis. He’s going to excel in Mass Starts and Pursuits and to a lesser extent Individual races. But in those races if he goes clean, which isn’t exactly a rare event, he will be in the mix for a top 5. I also wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate him because I feel like he’s pretty universally liked by fans but won’t regularly be on top 10 lists so here he is!

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