Saturday, January 9, 2010

Up, Up, Up, and Away

Holy cow, but the mass-start classic races were fantastic - the best pair of races all season, I think. In honor of Lukas Bauer's 112% effort, I'm going to add an "-sh" sound to endsh of all the wordsh in thish post that end in s. Dude'sh a stud, and Petra Majdic showed herself to be pretty hard-core ash well, taking all the bonush sprintsh, destroying pre-race Kowalcyzk'sh lead in the general classification, and staking herself to a 31s gap over the Pole at the start of Sunday'sh final climb.

Okay, that'sh getting annoying.

But Bauer is still a great racer, and by dint of his performance in the mass start, now in a surprising second place overall, just 8.3s behind Northug. He can probably close that gap down by the foot of the 3700 meter ascent (and knowing Northug's "let 'em come" racing style, he will), but I just cannot imagine ol' Lukáš maintaining any kind of lead over Northug. Remember how Petter exploded past Rotchev and then humiliated Teichmann at top of the climb last year to seize second behind Cologna? Northug will do something similar to win the Tour tomorrow afternoon - and down the mountain, C0logna will pass Teichmann to move up from fourth today to third.

men's Tour de Ski overall podium
1. Northug
2. Bauer
3. Cologna

The final climb is interesting in that, as a pursuit, it really offers two sets of podiums: one for the TdS general classification, and one for the stage win. Last year, Babikov won the stage, a feat that, given his recent form, he seems poised to repeat.

men's freestyle final climb (best time)
1. Babikov
2. Heikkinen
3. Hellner

In the women's race, I think that Majdic is going to bury herself for the overall win, but not quite realize that goal. Kowalczyk is just too Babikovian a hill climber. If Follis was 26, not 56, seconds beyond Petra, she'd be vying for the silver, too. But she's not.

women's Tour de Ski overall podium
1. Kowalczyk
2. Majdic
3. Follis

In the contest for the stage win, I think that Steira will redeem herself after falling out of contention on Saturday and, frankly, showing little verve in Wednesday's Dobbiaco descent.
women's freestyle final climb (best time)
1. Steira
2. Sarasoja (who's been knocking herself out these past few stages)
3. Kowalczyk

I can't wait to see how this stage plays out.

(Bonus: posted a useful list of all the final-climb stage standings: 2009 - Babikov and Johaug; 2008 - Sommerfeldt and Shevchenko 2007 - Shiraev and Neumannova.)


ADS said...

I'm surprised that you didn't pick Shevchenko for a podium spot tomorrow. She has been on the podium for the previous three editions of this stage.

Christopher Tassava said...

I thought about Shevchenko, on the strength of her previous final climb accomplishments, but then I looked at what she's done in the Tour this year - zilch - and ruled her out.

Dutch Skater said...

Well, you know a thing or two about women's skiing for sure.
You're a bit alone in your picking of Northug over Bauer. Did you not see how Bauer jogged up the hill 2 years ago, and how he is clearly in the same form or better this time, by the end of the tour?

But, even I am impressed that Bauer did not just that, but even secured the fastest time over the stage. That's manly. Snowmen would envy such ball.