Whose week will it be in Oberhof?
The most intriguing question looking for an early answer at BMW IBU World Cup Oberhof 1 will be how much JT Boe made good on his December 2020 promise to train like crazy during the Christmas break to find his winning form. Marte Olsbu Roeiseland will be looking to build on her lead, but a dive into the data shows that many different future outcomes are still very much possible.
- JT Boe won in weeks 1 and 2 and lost in weeks 3 and 4
Breaking down Trimester 1 on a week-to-week basis, we get an interesting picture of whose form peaked in which week and who was the most consistent athlete over nine competitions. JT Boe won in both weeks in Kontiolahti, Finland whereas Sebastian Samuelsson, currently third in the BMW IBU World Cup Total Standings, finished second in those same weeks. The transition to Hochfilzen, Austria brought a dip in form in the first week for Samuelsson and the best week of his career up to that point for Johannes Dale, who also won the most points (108) in week 3, 22 more than the second best, JT Boe. Sturla Holm Laegreid won two times in week 4 as he collected 158 points for the Total Score standings, or 26 more than JT, the second best. As impressive as 158 points in one week might seem, week 4 offered three competitions and Laegreid won 52.6 points per competition that week. JT won 57 per competition in week 1 and Dale 54 in week 3; JT won 48 per competition in week 2.
At -5%, JT and Dale were the fastest skiers in Trimester 1 and they both shot with 87% accuracy; JT has an 88-point lead over Dale because Dale missed more shots in the standing when podium positions were at stake, rushing things at times. Samuelsson skied at -4% and shot with 89% accuracy, stats that will keep him in the fight for the Yellow Bib until the end of the season if he manages to sustain such high performance levels. Laegreid will have the least room for mistakes, for he skied at a very good but not outstanding -3%, but he shot with an astonishing accuracy of 94%. Sturla was particularly impressive in prone, where he missed just twice in nine competitions!
JT has a win (his brother Tarjei has two wins in Oberhof), two second places and a third place to his name in Oberhof while Samuelsson was third in the sprint there for his first-ever BMW IBU World Cup podium in 2018/2019. Dale and Laegreid got their first-ever podiums this season.
- Which Tiril will show up in Oberhof?
As disinterested and somber as only she can be, Tiril Eckhoff shot with 66% accuracy in the first two competitions of the season, finishing outside the points in week 1. She turned her fortunes on a dime and collected 346 points in the following seven competitions (including only 17th place in the first pursuit in Hochfilzen with six misses), which translated into 49.4 points per competition, more than any other athlete including the men and including JT Boe. Hanna Oeberg won in weeks 1 and 2 but had a very difficult time in week 3, where she collected only 55 points. Total Score leader Olsbu Roeiseland was the best in week 3 and second best in weeks 2 and 4; such a high level of consistency week in, week out is usually a sign of a very stable champion who knows when and where to hold back and when to maximise the daily form for the best outcome even if things are not ideal. Eckhoff, of course, won week 4 with 174 points, or 58 per competition, again more than any other athlete in any other week, including the men and including JT Boe. Behind the top three women athletes, Elvira Oeberg showed phenomenal progress by finishing third best in week 4 and fourth best in week 2.
Olsbu Roeiseland, Eckhoff and Elvira Oeberg all skied at -4% and Hanna Oeberg at -3% in Trimester 1. Hanna was the best shooter with 90% accuracy, followed by Marte at 88%, Elvira at 86% and Tiril at 84% (including the disasters of week 1 in Kontiolahti and the first pursuit in Hochfilzen).
Olsbu Roeiseland has a win and a third place to her name in Oberhof so far, Eckhoff a second and a third place and Hanna Oeberg one third place. Any dip in form or a somber week from Eckhoff could prove one dip too many at the end of the season.