Saturday, November 20, 2010

Relaying the Favorites

After the traditional first-weekend relays go off tomorrow in Gällivare, I'm going to do some analysis - not quite Statistical Skier-level analysis, but analysis nonetheless - of how early-season relays may (or may not) indicate outcomes of the big relays later on - World Championships and Olympics. For now, though, I'll follow up my so-so predictions for the Gällivare individual races* with these predictions for the relays:

women's 4x5k
1. Norway I (Bjørgen, Bjørgen, Bjørgen)
2. Sweden (Kalla will pull them back up the field)
3. Norway II, or maybe Germany if they can find some legs
USA: top 10 (out of 21 teams on the start list)

men's 4x10k
1. Sweden (Hellner on anchor + no Northug = handy win)
2. Russia I (Sedov looks like a great complement to Vylegzhanin and Legkov)
3. Norway I (Jesperson and Rothe look pretty decent - and the latter's skied on a winning WC relay before)

CAN: rallying after the skate races for a top 10
USA: top 15, but with Freeman running with the leaders on his second leg

* Pick Analysis of the Individual Races
Women: I picked Kalla to win, but she came second to Bjørgen, whom I had in third. Kowalcyzk, my pick for second, finished something like millionth. I did see Kikkan in the top 30, and she finished 19th - a great early-season spot.

Men: I correctly saw Hellner winning, but I just couldn't believe Cologna would do well. He did, finishing second just ahead of Daniel Rickardsson. My third-place prediction, Legkov, finished a bit further down, in a respectable 6th. On the other hand, my pick for second, Manificat, finished in Kowalczykian style in 17th. And while the Canadaians had a forgettable day on the tracks, Kris Freeman turned in an excellent 9th place. Not too shabby.


WorldofXC said...

Take a look at the splits analysis here:

PS! I get a message about malware on the site from Google Chrome when visiting this site. You might want to check that out. Something about content from cnordic.

Luke S said...

In watching the relay now, and listening to the commentators talking about Kalla's technique versus Bjorgens, they said that they liked how much Bjorgen committed to her skis, and then watching her ski, I see that she skis like the men do. She completely commits to each ski and gets an explosive push off each ski that a lot of the women aren't strong enough to commit to.

Anonymous said...

If you watch the men's relay, you get to hear the awesome commentary about how the USA is in contention for a medal, and Chris Cook is having the race of his life after finishing in 102 on Saturday. For a solid 15 minutes of the final leg. Until after the finish, when they realize that the guy in the black suit they thought was Cook was actually Switzerland's Curdin Perl...
If you're watching the same Eurosport feed I was, I would just be cautious when reading too much into the commentating analysis.
And I'm glad the NCP is back!

Christopher Tassava said...

First off, we know that Google thinks the server is dangerous. We're trying to remedy the situation. Just looking at and commenting on the blog shouldn't do you any harm - unless you choke on our opinions and need the heimlich.

Second, I saved the women's relay to watch another night, but the mens's race was a fun one - except for the extended pain of listening to Goldstrom and Dixon talk on and on about Chris Cook, when their eyes and monitors - not to mention their sense of racing norms - should have told them it was somebody, anybody else. Oh well. I'll bet they don't make that mistake again.