Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ry Not?

True to form, the third set of races at Rybinsk - freestyle team sprints - have fairly small fields: ten women's teams, fifteen men's. (In comparison, the Düsseldorf team sprint events included 22 women's teams and 27 men's teams.) Four Russian teams are competing in each race, so let's go ahead and say that at least two-thirds of each podium will be from Россия.

So far, the Russian men have swept the podiums in both the freestyle sprint and the pursuit, with a who-dat skier, Artem Zhmurko, eking out a 0.9s win over bigger names like Chernousov and Shiraev in pursuit. (The win came too late for Artem, who was not named to the Russian Olympic team.) In the women's races, only one podium spot has gone to a Russia - Schuchkina's third in the pursuit that Kowalczyk won with almost a 10s gap on Sachenbacher-Stehle in second. The Russian men's domination will end in the team sprint, if only because the odds are against them.

The predictions:

men's freestyle team sprint
1. Russia I (Morilov and Petukhov, the winners at Düsseldorf)
2. Italy I (Zorzi and R. Pasini)
3. Russia II (Devjatiarov and Kriukov)

women's freestyle team sprint
1. Germany II (Goessner and Nystad)
2. Italy I (Moroder and Genuin)
3. Slovenia (Visnar and Fabjan)