Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trondheim Sprint Predictions

The legendarily ski-mad city of Trondheim - which hosted Worlds in 1997, attended by crowds that are still mentioned with awe - is doing double duty by replacing both the traditional city sprints in Drammen and the traditional distance races at Holmenkollen. Drammen has been dominated by Norwegian men for the past three years (2008: 12 of the top 15 places), so the only question is which six-foot-twenty Norwegian double-pole machine will win. On the women's side, there's no question that the six-foot-twenty, double-poling, Finn-stabbing, camera-mugging Slovenia Petra Majdic is the favorite, but beyond that it's pretty wide open. The sprint courses - 1.4km for women, 1.6km for men - each have one big climb, several hairpin curves (just to make Colin happy), and an uphill finishing straight.

women's start listNo Kuitunen.

men's start listNo Hetland (who's injured and may even miss the Olympics) and no Joensson.

Let's see the picks!

Colin's Picks
1 Hattestad (NOR)
2 Pettersen (NOR)
3 Dahl (NOR)
4 Naess (NOR)
5 Brandsdal (NOR)

Alt: Svartedal

1 Majdic (SLO)
2 Prochazkova (SVK)
3 Saarinen (FIN)
4 Olsson (SWE)
5 Jacobsen (NOR)

Alt: Kowalczyk

Picking the top 5 to be exclusively Norwegian isn't even going out on a limb, as Norway has dominated classic sprints on home snow for quite a few years running now. The only question is what Norwegians will it be? Hattestad and "the Sausage" went 1-2 in Otepaa so I'm taking them to repeat, and beyond that I like the deceptively consistent Dahl, consistently high-qualifying Brandsdal, and former Drammen winner Naess. If anyone gets into the top 5 not from Norway, I think it will be one of the young Russians.

For the women Majdic is the obvious choice, being undefeated in classic sprints thus far. Prochazkova has also been surprisingly good this year, and of course Saarinen should be back with a vengeance while fighting for the World Cup overall. Olsson has been consistently near the top 10, so she's more of a safety pick than a real prediction. And finally, Astrid Jacobsen appears to be finding some form, and was 1st and 2nd in two classic FIS races over the Lahti weekend. I'm a sucker for the 5th-place-long-shot pick, so I'm hoping she'll be back to 2007-08 form.

Christopher's Picks

1 Hattestad
2 Kjoelstad
3 Gloersen
4 Pettersen
5 Kriukov

alternate: Kershaw

1 Majdic
2 Kowalczyk
3 Saarinen
4 Olsson
5 Prochazkova

alternate: Smutna


ADS said...

1. Majdic
2. Saarinen
3. Jacobsen
4. Follis
5. Brun-Lie

Alt: Olsson

1. Hattestad
2. Næss
3. Brandsdal
4. Dahl
5. Morilov

Alt: Lassila