Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rogla Wreck

As I should have expected given the venue's mascot,

getting any picks right was devilishly hard this weekend. Rogla saw some wacky stuff, from reportedly poor track prep in the sprints to Saarinen getting DQ'ed for knocking Majdic down in the 15k and massive attrition in the 30k (3 DNSs and 19 DNFs). Below, my picks with the racer's actual finishing spots in parentheses.

women's classic sprint
1. Majdic (3)
2. Prochazkova (30)
3. Saarinen (5)
Randall: semifinals (38); Renner: heats (37)

men's classic sprint
1. Hattestad (21)
2. Kriukov (4)
3. Dahl (31!)
Newell: finals (6); Koos & Harvey: heats (46 & 35, respectively)

women's classic 15k mass start
1. Bjørgen (2)
2. Kowalczyk (1)
3. Majdic (7)
Renner and Randall: top 30 (24 and 30, respectively)

men's classic 30k mass start
1. Northug (1)
2. Angerer (11)
3. Jauhojärvi (DNF! WTF!)
Freeman: top 10 (DNF); Harvey: top 15 (22)

Based on Legkov's racing form so far, I'm predicting he wins the Olympic 50 after the Russian squad runs Northug into the ground with breakaways and such. First, though, it's Tour de Ski time - just 11 days until the prologues at Oberhof on New Year's Day.


Colin R said...

Newell crushing the longest sprint qualifier ever just reaffirms my claim that he doesn't have the skillset to win heats. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Newell has been 6 or 7 in every sprint this year that pretty good.

anders said...

Rogla is at about 1500 m meters, which means that it is easy to get into red before you know it and that it is much less fun to ski just to finish. The temperature also made it simpler for the Eurowimps, such as four of the five Finnish skiers, to rationalize their DNFs.

The only reasons Matti Heikkinen struggled it out were that he was wearing the red bib and that he didn't want all Finns to DNF.

The DSQ received by Aino-Kaisa Saarinen was a joke (and for once I'm pleased with a counter-protest). For one thing, it was a pure racing incident (and if Majdic weren't a big clumsy girl who cannot ski, she woudn't have "been knocked down"). For another, if there is one skier who shouldn't complain, it's Majdic: she has never been too shy about switching tracks or choosing her line. And for third, if Majdic was allowed to get off with a warning in Lahti where she was not even ahead of the skier on whose skis she trampled on, how on earth did the jury see Saarinen make an illegal move when she was clearly ahead and got both of her skis in front of Majdic's?

We'll await the FIS decision (but we do not hold our breath).

keeron said...

Anders, I unfortunately have difficulty taking your post too seriously. Your direct assertion that Majdic is "a big clumsy girl who cannot ski" is based on pure conjecture, not hard facts. Anyone who has seen Majdic ski must realize that she is the closest thing on the World Cup to a brick wall. Solid, strong, and a complete rock. I for one would not go toe-to-toe with Petra. She'd mosh me.
However, this flies in the face of your claim that "shes never been too shy about switching tracks or choosing her line". An awkward clumsy skier would be a complete mess, therefore causing havoc left right and center. I am not arguing that AK Saarinen's DQ was legitimate, but I do feel as though your criticism of Petra is a little biased.
Also, as for your 'Euroewimps', Finland is not in fact in Europe, but Scandinavia, which is a different region. Regardless of your disrespect of geography, P. Northug won, who's Norway is a close neighbour to Finland, rendering your claim a little bit moot. I will admit the Russians did well, and they are not 'Eurowimps', but the North American's (another group of non-Eurowimps) did not dominate, casting doubt on your thesis.

As for Colin, I agree - Newell has gotten better, and his placing is impressive, but he still struggles to win. In my mind (and more importantly, those who calculate World Cup overall points and prize money) being 6 or 7th in a bunch of sprints does not result in the Overall Sprint Bib and pure awesomeness. Please see Ola Vigen Hattestad circa last year for such an example.
Good pick he podium session this weekend, and I am looking forward to the Tour! Good racing is on the horizon!

ADS said...


I have a problem with your geographical claim that "Finland is not in fact in Europe, but Scandinavia, which is a different region."

This statement is completely false. Finland is very much a part of Europe. That's like saying "Mexico is not in fact in North America, but Central America, which is a different region."

I'm just saying, poor geographical perception is one of my pet peeves...

On the skiing side, I agree with both you and Anders. Yes, Saarinen was in the wrong, but Majdic has certainly been guilty of running skiers over in the past.

keeron said...

Hmmm, my claim on Finland being non-European was based on the fact that it is not a part of the European Union, and that Wikipedia tells me it is a 'Nordic country', which implies that it is not a European one.

But it is also a product of your personal geographic perception. I admit mine may suck hard.
But to qualify that, I agree that Mexico is a part of North America, but if someone tried to tell me that all North American's sucked at skiing because the Mexican ski team is terrible, I would have trouble accepting it as a valid argument.
Also, I would like to apologize for the tone of my last post; it was needlessly harsh. I am not trying to personally attack anyone, especially anyone in the very small World Cup commentary community, which we all have a right to enjoy and interpret however we see fit.

Colin R said...

As for iffy DQs, I just want to remind everyone that the jury is not the same at every event, and referees in every sport tend to be biased toward the home crowd. Remember the Whistler refs DQing multiple (non-Canadian) sprinters last year for not holding still for 5 seconds?

Christopher Tassava said...

Unsurprisingly, as Anders (who's a Finn or at least in Finland, right?) says, Aino-Kaisa thinks the jury was wrong, wrong, wrong. As for the men, well, they'd better start pouring some sisu into their water bottles. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Okey let`s clear a few things up Finland is not part of Scandinavia it is part of Europe and the EU. Finland is also considered a Nordic country.

Norway Switzerland and Iceland are the only west European country's not part of the EU.


anders said...

Since the errors have been corrected, I'll just add that while Petra probably has better balance on skis than I have, it is also probable that many of the smaller, more nimble skiers would have fared better in that situation.

I'm of course biased and I can easily grant that Saarinen made a rude move, but manners and rules are not the same thing.

As for the men: as long as they don't try to outsmart WADA, I have no problem with the occasional bad day...

OEB2ODB said...

why doesn't Northug just mark Legkov and ignore the breaks? Or have the Norwegian team pull a little weight and mark the breaks? The only thing Russia could throw at him would be a pace so fast, they just hope 1 guy can finish, ala the Kenyan marathon theory.

Anonymous said...

i doubt the other Norwegians would be willing to spoil there chnces to help Petter. It just is not in the Norwegian skiing culture

Christopher Tassava said...

I disagree that team racing isn't in the Norwegian blood. The Norwegians slowed the pace for Petter in one of the distance races at Liberec - the 50, I believe, with Gjerdalen holding the pace down so that Northug could stay in contact. In the Tour de Ski last year, Johnsrud Sundby was reined in to prevent other teams from following a possible breakaway and thereby taking points that Northug needed for the TdS.

Anonymous said...

Skiing to the head of the pack and then slowing down is way diffrent from been told that they have to race for petter and not there own chances

Sundby was not reined in he went for his own chances and failed at the same time as he messed it up for Petter by helping some other skiers get off the pack.

Also remember one year in the TdS when i think it was Ronning Ostensen and Northug all competing for podium spots and they would not agree to focus on one capatain

Christopher Tassava said...

My info, such as it is, on Johnsrud Sundby slowing to help Northug comes from an Aftenposten article:|en&u=

Anonymous said...

ahh yes i was thinking of an earlier year.

And i guess another aspect of mass starts that i do not like team tactics.

Anonymous said...

No one will ever beat Northug. Not even Chuck Norris.

Christopher Tassava said...

You might have spoken too soon. Chuck Norris has mastered the jump skate.