Saturday, March 20, 2010

Falun and Done

One more pair of races for the World Cup season? At least it's a good one. I love the hunter-style pursuits, and think the FIS should expand the use of them beyond the Tour de Ski and the Grand Final. My picks for Sunday's skate races, which again involve a lot of Mördarbackening, are complicated by Kowalczyk's bad result in the pursuit on Saturday and by the tight field in the men's race.

I don't think Kowalczyk can pull back 50 seconds on Bjørgen in 10,000 meters, especially with Bjørgen being arguably in better form right now. My god, she can lift anchors! The race for third will be determined by how many racers wind up in the pack with Kalla, who is I think going to go nuts from the gun. If Kowalczyk is going badly, I could see Kalla working with Steira to catch her. And Kikkan! A hell of a good result in the pursuit means she is positioned to do very well in the skate race. That'd be a nice cap to a good season.

women's 10k freestyle handicap start
1. Bjørgen
2. Kowalczyk
3. Kalla
Randall: top 10

Northug's 40s lead should be unassailable, given his win in the pursuit and his desire to end his first World Cup championship season with another win. Behind, the group that starts from +1:20 to +1:51 - including Angerer, Södergren, Cologna, Bauer, and other notables - will probably coalesce to chase down Larsson, if not Hellner. Honestly, I'd love to see Hellner turn on the jets to catch Northug in front of the Swedish crowd, but the tough, wet conditions and the lateness of the season make that unlikely - and we all know how a sprint would probably turn out.

men's 15k freestyle handicap start
1. Northug
2. Hellner
3. Angerer


packfiller said...

Picking 1st is easy. Your crystal ball is getting complacent. I'm going to predict Babikov 7th, Brian Gregg 44th.