Friday, December 11, 2009

Da Climb at Davos

The distance course at Davos this weekend is about as simple as it can be. On the x axis, you go out, then you come back. On the y axis, you go up up up, then you come down down down - a 41m max climb at worst, but 180m total climbing each lap, including a couple sharp ramps on the "downhill" half of the course. Repeat twice if equipment makers might manufacture pink boots for you, thrice if not.

Possibly because the course is so straightforward and demanding (don't forget the Alpine elevation: the starting line is at 1550 meters), this perennial stop on the World Cup tour is almost always the site of a win by one of the big guns. Surprises don't often happen here. In the races since 2006, for instance, the winners have been named Svartedal and Kuitunen (February '06), Vittoz/Livers (tie) and Kuitunen (February '07), Teichmann and Kuitunen (December '07), and Olsson and Kuitunen (December '08). As that list suggests, Davos is very much Virpi's stomping grounds, with six podiums (including four wins) in distance and sprint events here. I don't think the Finnish veteran will do that well here this year, though. My picks:

women's 10km freestyle (start list)
1. Kalla
2. Saarinen
3. Steira
Randall and Renner: top 30.

men's 15km freestyle (start list)
1. Northug
2. Legkov
3. Vittoz
Freeman: top 10. Harvey: top 20. Kershaw and Babikov: top 30. Hafsås isn't skiing.


Luke S said...

Babikov is out sick.

What do you think about this fantasy conundrum: Start Hoffman or Kershaw? Equal points in distance FS last year, nearly equal points in it this year. My other three are in stone with Gaillard, Jauhojaervi, and Freeman.

Christopher Tassava said...

Babikov's on the start list, though. Do you have inside info that he's out?

Luke S said...

Anonymous said...

Kershaw over Hoffman but probebly a little late now.

Anonymous said...

ow and i dont think the Norwegains will do well at Davos they never have
just look at the results they have over the last few years particularly on the mens side.

Luke S said...

I was wrong, babikov raced and made the top 30. Kershaw over Hoffman was a good choice. Freeman Gaillard Kershaw 7-8-9 for my team.

Luke S said...

Also, good call on Hoffman:

keeron said...

Another great edition of Pick the Podium! Unfortunately, my time zoning didn't get me on in time to actually make anything.
Hoffman has been suspicious for a while...and now Khazova seems a bit fishy too.

Carrie said...

Khazova isn't seemingly fishy, she is fishy... Too bad they don't test dopers during the two years of their ban...

kuan said...

Babikov raced sick.