I have two things say on this topic that takes the form of two graphs…
FIS cross country races:
- Size of the dot is proportional to the proportion of that type of race that season
- These are men’s races only; I’m not being sexist, I’m just saving time cause the women’s graphs would be exactly the same but the distances would be different.
- Keep in mind that the XC non-pursuit non-team races are all further split into classic and freestyle; biathlon does only freestyle.
- In XC, the stage races include a sort of smorgasboard of races from all the other types of individual races: sprints, interval starts, pursuits, mass starts and other “weird” races like 9km uphill races. So if you wanted, you could make the XC graph look even messier.
- Stage races are complete units. You can’t just pick one of the stages and do only that. You have to do them all.
- I also have glossed over the various format changes that happened in XC sprint racing over the years.
- I could be oversimplifying the biathlon race formats, but I don’t think so. (Well, I know that I omitted the mixed relays, but that’s it I think.)
I’m sure I’ve miscounted something somewhere here, but I think my point is still clear.
If there’s an editorial comment I mean to make, it’s simply that if FIS thinks that cycling-ish stage racing is where we’re headed, they should man up and just switch over completely. Enough tinkering. It’s time for XC skiing to choose an identity and then be that.