Mastering the Cycle of the BMW IBU World Cup 2018/2019 Season
At the end of the 2011/2012 season Martin Fourcade of France wondered how on Earth did he manage to win Overall Title, his first, for it took so much physical and emotional energy out of him that if left him exhausted. And absolutely empty.
While spending hours and hours of the chosen solitude in the preparations for the season 2012/2013 he concluded there is only one thing creating more pain and is much harder to take than winning Overall Title.
Not winning one.
Observing his professional surroundings he also realised - very early in his career - that most of his colleagues do not or cannot comprehend the consistency as profoundly as he does.
Consistency, of course, is the virtue of the biggest champions in any sport. It is shown in the number of olympic and world championships medals won, in the number of races won, in the number of podiums achieved. In biathlon, it is foremost shown in the number of Overall Titles won.
Fourcade has won seven in a row. Nobody has done that before.
There were 22 individual competitions in the BMW IBU World Cup 2017/2018 season, Fourcade has won nine, came second eight times, was third three times, skipped one race due to illness and let his guard down a bit only at the last race of the season, Mass Start in Tyumen, Russia, where he finished 19th. The reason? While winning his seventh Overall Title in a row, Fourcade’s shooting accuracy was at 90% or second best, behind Jakov Fak of Slovenia, and his skiing was 3,9% faster than the average and again second best, behind JT Boe of Norway. His closest competitor JT Boe was with 4,5% above the average the fastest skier of the season, but with 85% accuracy the 16th shooter. That is why he finished six times outside the podium and trailed Fourcade 91 points at the end of the season.
At the opening of the 2018/2019 season there is therefore one question lingering above all men talented and daring enough to even start thinking unthinkable:
How to Master the Cycle of one BMW IBU World Cup season and challenge Fourcade?
How many more targets per season does JT Boe of Norway need to clear, to complement his extraordinary fast skiing and win his first Overall Title? Can Arnd Peiffer of Germany elevate his standing shooting percentage enough to finish in Top 3 at the end of the season for the first time in his career? Can Lukas Hofer of Italy steady his hand more often - or as close to the perfection as possible - to finish in Top 3 at the end of the season? Who - if anybody - can join the race and what it will take him to do so?
Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Petr Slavik, Evgeny Tumashov