Saturday, December 18, 2010

La Clusaz Parte Deux

The La Clusaz mass starts were great races, though surprising in lots of ways. I didn't expect Northug to be playing his A- game (second!), and I didn't expect either Kalla or Hellner to be playing their C- games (14th and 29th, respectively). Seeing Northug in the lead group with a thousand meters to go, I sure didn't expect to see him get outsprinted. And I was happily surprised to see a bunch of Canadian men toward the head of the race (Kershaw 13, Babikov 17, Harvey 24), Freeman with a good-but-not-great 25th, and two American women inside the top 20: Stephen 18, Arritola 19. Good stuff.

And but so, the mass starts definitely show which countries oughta do well in the relays on Sunday.

Finland has only two good skiers right now, Roponen and Lähteenmäki, so I don't see them figuring. Russia is a cipher, and Sweden looks to be at least one in-form skier from contending - though if Kalla gets up for the race, they'll be on the podium.

1. Norway I (Johaug will turn in the fastest classic lap, I'll eat the wax on the bottom of my iron)
2. Italy (Follis, Longa, and Rupil were all in the top 10 in the mass start)
3. Norway II (Jacobsen and Kristoffersen went 8, 10, 30 in the mass start)

Switzerland and/or Canada might pull off a top 5 in this event, but the usual suspects will be on the podium.

1. Russia I (Belov, followed by Legkov [third in the mass start], Sedov [10] and Vylegzhanin [1])
2. Norway I
3. Sweden


Mountainmums said...

I wouldn't bet on Norway II if I were you. Just like in Gaellivare they are one World Cup Team skier short of two teams. Last month they asked a junior who happened to be around to race the last leg for team II. This time around, looks like they asked the Norwegian Federation's Sponsor manager (who probably also just happened to be around) to anchor for team II. So . . .
I remember that a few years back, there would be mixed teams fielded as "FIS teams" with different nationality racers. I haven't seen it for a while, I guess it's not allowed anymore.

yvesson said...

Hej, a shame they don't take MKFalla or CBLie, I'm sure they could do a decent 3rd leg over just 5 Km, Norway II surely has the potential to finish second in such a relay, especially that Kalla seems off form. Anyway too bad to see them pull off after third leg in 3rd place.