Friday, December 12, 2008

Davos Picks (Updated)

Ahh, Davos - the simplest course on the World Cup: start at elevation, then go up, up, up before coming down. Repeat. Davos has staged a World Cup in all but two years since 1995, with Norway and Russia being overrepresented among the winners of the usual 10/15km individual races and a mix of relays and sprints.

There's something about the course that leads to dead heats. In both 2006 and 2007, one of the podium spots was shared: Aino-Kaisa Saarinen & Kristin Stoermer Steira tied for third in the 15km classic race in '07, and home-country boy Toni Livers and Vincent Vittoz tied for first in the men's 15km skate race in '06.

2007 results
women's 10km classic
1. Kuitunen
2. Skofterud
3. Saarinen & Steira

men's 15km classic
1. Teichmann
2. Hjelmeset
3. Jauhojarvi

The weather looks to be tricky for Saturday's individual races: temperatures near freezing, with falling snow. If it's a slopfest, anything could happen - but what's likely is that the classic-technique specialists will win out. My picks:

women's 10km classic (64 listed starters)
1. Saarinen
2. Kowalczyk
3. Johaug
Nor-Am racers: Renner in top 20

men's 15km classic (83 listed starters)
1. Soedergren
2. Teichmann
3. Roenning and Johnsrud Sundsby (gotta have that tie!)
Nor-Am racers: Kershaw in top 20, Babikov in top 10, Freeman in top 20

Note: Kristin Stoermer Steira, fresh off her breakaway win in the blizzard at La Clusaz last weekend, is registered to race the 10km at Davos on Saturday and the 42km freestyle La Sgambeda marathon on Sunday, 90 minutes southwest in Livigno, Italy. Prepping for the 30km classical at Worlds with some big kilometers? However, she's apparently now ill and may not do either race... Anders Aukland of Norway and Andrus Veerpalu of Estonia are also scheduled for the double.


Luke S said...

Soedergren for the win? And can Teichmann really ski that fast? None of the Germans have shown that kind of form yet this season.

Christopher Tassava said...

Soedergren's always a good bet in individual-start races, and he's clearly on form, after La Clusaz (6th in the mass start skate race, the third-fastest third leg in the relay). Plus, after his surgery, he's hauling less up those hills!

I'm going with Teichmann because he has shown a bit of form this year with a third at Muonio before the WC season and a 12th a Kuusamo. Plus, he won at Davos last year, when the race was also run in classic. I note that Angerer isn't even starting! Apparently he wants to find a very low point from which to start the process of peaking for Worlds.

Luke S said...

On the subject of the women's WC. Where the hell is Astrid Jacobsen? I shelled out for her in fantasy and she hasn't started a single freaking race this season.

Luke S said...

Correction-She started today. But sucked (45th)