Friday, December 30, 2011


How unexpected was Teichmann's win in the Oberhof classic pursuit? Unexpected enough that none of the 187 guesses on XC Predictions included ol' Axel for any of the three podium spots. The wisdom of crowds?

Of course, who'd have thought Teichmann had anything left? His last top-ten finish was last February. His last podium finish was the 2009 Tour de Ski, when he was famously blown away by Northug on the Final Climb. The guy hasn't been fast in a while, and yet: there he was at the front of the race and perfectly positioned to exploit the crash to take a surprisingly easy win - and the top spot in the general classification.

The women's race played out more conventionally, though surprisingly Bjørgen was not there to vie for the win at the end. I really through Johaug would be able to take Kowalczyk in the finishing straight, but the taller, bigger Pole had a little too much today.

These results - the one crazy, the one normal - have whetted my appetite for the rest of the Tour. Can the Germans - both men (three in the top dozen today and overall) and women (two in the top ten today and overall) - stay strong? What about the Russian men, who were massed at the front of the race today?

My picks for the classic sprint in Oberstdorf: