Friday, March 20, 2009

Falun Double Pursuit Predictions

While one of the four predictors had a pretty good showing with the women's prologue, no one would say that the co-bloggers and commenters had their finest hour with the men's prologue. Ain't none of us the King of M√∂rdarbacken.

Petter, pooped, puttered and disappointed everyone except ADS, who put him in fifth, two spots higher than His Sneerness's final spot. Even beyond putting Northug in first, Christopher's revised men's picks proved to be his worst of the Challenge, amassing 36 points thanks to three bad misses (Legkov: picked for 2, actually 16; di Centa: 3/14; Bauer: 5/24). At 29 points, Colin was 20% better better, missing on Legkov and Vylegzhaninininin (5/25) but making up for it with great picks of Angerer (2/4) and Cologna (3/2). Keeron, who can apparently be talked into anything, made some picks that turned out quite well, including a dead-on 4/4 pick of Angerer and a 3/2 pick of Cologna, to hit 26 points. And with 25 points, ADS showed that he can predict his way into good late-season shape, scoring well on Angerer, Cologna, and Northug. (We won't mention the miss on Pietro Piller Cottrer).

My takeaways. 1) In-form Russian distance racers aren't going to do well in short prologues, even if they're basically just hillclimbs. 2) Conversely, Germans, even Germans who haven't had any good races all year (Rene!), are good bets in hill prologues. 3) The racers vying for the overall titles are going to try real real hard to win. 4) Alex Harvey is fast.

The prologue results have altered my thinking about Saturday's double pursuits - 2x5 for the women and 2x10 for the men. Since this is Falun, the courses ascend the M√∂rdarbacken: twice for the women, four times for the men, putting the climbers at the fore again. And the prologue gave a nice little bump to the Swedes, including the Olsson family, Marcus Hellner, and especially Charlotte Kalla. (The preceding sentence is only partly an attempt to trick Colin into putting Hellner on the podium.) 

CHRISTOPHER'S PICKS

women's 2x5k double pursuit
1 Kalla
2 Kowalcyzk
3 Majdic
4 Steira
5 Sachenbacher-Stehle
alternates
6 Follis
7 Olsson

men's 2x10k double pursuit
1 Cologna
2 Northug
3 Angerer
4 Clara
5 Teichmann
alternates
6 Harvey
7 Olsson (not a typo)

COLIN'S PICKS
1 Kalla
2 Kowalczyk
3 Majdic
4 Follis
5 Nystad
Alt
6 Kristoffersen
7 Saarinen

1 Northug
2 Angerer
3 Teichmann
4 Cologna
5 Jauhojaervi
alt
6 Vyleghzhanin
7 Piller Cottrer

COLIN'S COMMENTARY
Not much to say here. The top 3 women are pretty obvious. I think Follis is a great skate sprinter and can hang for 5k of classic, and Nystad obviously found some form yesterday, so let's go with that.

For the men -- how can you bet against Northug? I see him taking advantage of the two Germans yet again in a big group finish. The last time up the Mordarbacken should be a wicked throwdown, but Northug's shown he can hang with the big guns' attacks in the past. Cologna should be up there too, and Jauhojaervi's show good form recently and is a better sprinter you think.

10 comments:

keeron said...

Here we go...

Mens 2x10
1.Angerer
2.Cologna
3.Northug
4.Jauhojaervi
5.Harvey
Alt
Di Centa
Clara

Womens 2x5
1.Majdic
2.Kowalczyk
3.Kalla
4.Saarinen
5.Follis
Alt
Stoemer Steira
Kristoffersen

Christopher Tassava said...

Eeeexcellent. Thanks, Keeron.

ADS said...

Women
1. Petra Majdic
2. Charlotte Kalla
3. Justyna Kowalczyk
4. Kristin Stormer-Steira
5. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen

Alt
6. Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle
7. Arianna Follis

I swear I made my picks with out looking at yours Chris! Great minds think a like (hopefully)

Men
1. Petter Northug
2. Sami Jauhojaervi
3. Dario Cologna
4. Alexander Legkov
5. Tobi Angerer

Alt
6. Axel Teichmann
7. Alex Harvey

Christopher Tassava said...

This fascination with Jauhojarvi is very interesting. The man's not done well in pursuits (though 8th at Liberec), and is something of a classic specialist, distance and sprint.

His best distance skate result this season is 17th at Lahti, though he did finish fifth in the 15k pursuit in the WC Final last year - the race that Vittoz won in style. You know I'm a big booster of the Finns, but I won't go this far!

Colin R said...

Well Chris -- your argument against him (poor pursuit history, 8th at Liberec) is my argument FOR him. He had his best ever pursuit finish in the most recent pursuit and he just won his first world cup ever. Seems like he ought to set a new pursuit personal best this time around... say, 5th or so.

Colin R said...

After all the Hellner-trashing... how do you like that shit?

Christopher Tassava said...

I gotta admit, Hellner had a good day. Far better than Northug, who looks to be cooked - but not as cooked at Teichmann. Axel, Axel, Axel... And what the hell happened to Petra today? She was near the front until the classic climb, usually her bread and butter. Then she slid down, down, down the field.

Your pick of Nystad was gutsy, and it worked.

Christopher Tassava said...

I gotta admit, Hellner had a good day. Far better than Northug, who looks to be cooked - but not as cooked as Teichmann. Axel, Axel, Axel...

And what the hell happened to Petra today? She was near the front until the classic climb, usually her bread and butter. Then she slid down, down, down the field.

Your pick of Nystad was gutsy, and it worked. I didn't think she'd pull off two straight good races.

keeron said...

Hellner worked big time after the trashing - I got a nasty shock, because I also have him in Fantasy skier and I didn't rank him.
Now, as the new guy making picks I don't want to whine about the rules, but I feel a little stiffed by all the equality. I mean, I get 10 points cause Northug sucked, but anyone who picked Teichman (for example) ONLY got 10 points, and he sucked a heck of a lot more. But that's just the opinion of a guy who made some off predictions...

Christopher Tassava said...

Speaking as someone who (mis)picked Teichmann, I'm glad to have suffered only the indignity of a ten-point slap. But having a higher penalty for worse pick - say, 20 points for a pick that's 30 or more places off - seems just. Colin, whaddya think? (For next year, I mean. *tugs collar nervously*)