Classic 10/15 km: Here are the favourites – who do you think wins?

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 27 Feb 2011@15:00

There is only one race with interval start in this years World Championships in Cross Country skiing for men and women respectively- the classic 15/10 km races on Monday and Tuesday. Thus this is the big chance for skiers who have not got a fast finish sprint. It is also the only individual race in classic style, thus there is also a lot at stake for the classic specialists.

In the women’s class we have again got Marit Bjørgen as the big favourite, whereas it is more open in the mens class. Read on for an evaluation of the favourites – and follow the link below to set up your predictions.

Men – 15 km classic

The mens 15 km classic race is quite open – with 9 different skiers who have taken medals in the four classic distance races with interval start in the World Cup this year. In addition there are a few more who might climb all the way to the top of the results list based on how they have raced in earlier championships. These six may be picked as the big favourites:

  • Daniel Rickardsson.  Rickardsson’s series in the classic World Cup races with interval start this season is 3 – 21 – 2 – 1. This is the best in the start field, and thus  the Swede is definitely the big favourite. His performance in Drammen the weekend before this years World Championships started was exceptional - but some thought he might be too early in top shape. Rickardsson had a good start in the pursuit on Sunday, but lost time towards the end of the classic part. According to Rickardsson did not have top skis on the pursuit, though.
  • Dario Cologna. The Tour de Ski winner won the 10 km classic race with interval start in Kuusamo in November, and has two 4th places in classic races with interval start in the World Cup later on. It is difficult to beat Cologna in a classic interval start race when he is in top shape and he has good skis – can he take a gold medal in Oslo? His pursuit race was not as good as expected, but a 15 km classic interval start is something completely different. According to Cologna’s skis were also not perfect.
  • Eldar Rønning. The Norwegian won the 15 km classic race in Otepaa in January, and has been top 10 in all classic interval start races this year. His victory in Otepaa was impressive – and thus he must be counted among the absolute favourites.
  • Alexander Legkov. The Russian was fantastic at the start of the season – finishing 2nd both in classic interval races in both Kuusamo and Davos. His shape was not quite as good in Drammen, but in parts of the pursuit race it looked like he is back in shape for Oslo.
  • Lukas Bauer. Bauer was 3rd in Davos, but has not dominated the classic interval start races this year the way he has done previously.  The Czech was disappointed by his 10th place in the classic World Cup race in Drammen, and skipped the pursuit race to save power for the classic race on Tuesday. If Bauer finds his top shape he will be very difficult to beat in Oslo.
  • Martin Jonsrud Sundby. He looked like he was going to take the victory in Otepaa after a very good start – but lost a lot of time in the end and finished 7th. In Drammen his opening speed was a bit lower, and he held his pace all the way to the finish – finishing second behind Rickardsson. This strong Norwegian is definitely one of the skiers who can take a gold medal on this 15 km classic race.

In addition to these Petter Northug should of course not be forgotten. Classic races with interval start is his worst discipline, but he has previously shown that he can win such races as well. Update: Northug is not starting! There is also Alexey Poltoranin who won the World Cup race over 15 km classic in Davos in December. He has however not shown the same shape later on. Maxim Vylegzhanin should also not be forgotten – he took the 3rd spot in the classic World Cup race with interval start in Otepaa in January – and showed that he is in shape now by taking the silver on the pursuit. Finally, the Germans Teichmann and Filbrich can fight for the medals – and so can Jauhojärvi and Sedov.

The below table gives results of the top medal candidates from the classic interval races in the World Cup this year.

Name Kuusamo
2010-11-27, 10 km
2010-12-11, 15 km
2011-01-22, 15 km
2011-02-19, 15 km
RICKARDSSON Daniel 3 21 2 1
ROENNING Eldar 4 8 1 7
COLOGNA Dario 1 4 4
LEGKOV Alexander 2 2 11
VYLEGZHANIN Maxim 9 7 3 12
POLTORANIN Alexey 18 1 39 32
NORTHUG Petter jr. 13 8 3
TEICHMANN Axel 5 14 8
BAUER Lukas 23 3 10
FILBRICH Jens 6 9 18
BELOV Evgeniy 14 11 14 14
SEDOV Petr 13 14 6
HELLNER Marcus 12 33 4
Women – 10 km classic

Based on earlier results this season in classic races with interval start in the World Cup, one could just about give the gold and silver medals to Marit Bjørgen (Norway) and Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland) . Bjørgen has won all four races and Kowalczyk has finished second in all four races. However, anything can happen – some might start getting tired already racing their third race in the championships. The following are the biggest favourites:

  • Marit Bjørgen. The table below speaks for itself – Bjørgen has won all distance races she has started in this season – and thus she is the big favourite no matter from which angle you look at it.
  • Justyna Kowalczyk. Kowalczyk is just as big a favourite for the silver medal as Bjørgen is for the gold medal.
  • Therese Johaug. The Norwegian bronze medal winner from the pursuit race has two 3rd places from classic interval race in the World Cup earlier this year, and is one of the big favourites for the bronze in the 10 km classic in Oslo. There are however a few who want to challenge her for the medal.
  • Aino-Kaisa Saarinen has her strongest discipline in 10 km classic in her current shape, and took the 3rd spot in the classic 10 km race in Drammen the weekend ahead of the World Championships. The Finn lost some time in the classic part of the pursuit race, but that was partly due to non-optimal skis. Saarinen will surely give Johaug fight for the bronze – and might even climb even higher on a good day.
  • Petra Majdic. The Slovenian can race excellent classic interval start races if she has a top day. She has not shown very impressive shape lately, but don’t write Majdic completely off for a medal.
  • Vibeke Skofterud. The Norwegian has a 5th place from Otepää, and may climb all the way up to the medals on a top day. Not one of the biggest favourites, though.

In addition to these six, the two Swedes Anna Haag and Ida Ingemarsdotter should not be forgotten. Both can fight for medals in a classic interval start race. Nicole Fessel from Germany showed some impressive racing earlier this year, but does not seem to be quite in that shape now.

The below table gives results of the top medal candidates from the classic interval races in the World Cup this year.

Name Kuusamo
2010-11-27, 5 km
2010-12-11, 10 km
2011-01-22, 10 km
2011-02-19, 10 km
BJOERGEN Marit 1 1 1 1
KOWALCZYK Justyna 2 2 2 2
JOHAUG Therese 14 3 3 4
SAARINEN Aino- Kaisa 4 4 3
TCHEKALEVA Yulia 4 10 6 11
MAJDIC Petra 3 20 9 17
LONGA Marianna 9 5 6
SKOFTERUD Vibeke W 7 5 13
ISHIDA Masako 31 6 11 8
HAAG Anna 8 7 12
LAHTEENMAKI Krista 16 8 7
KALLA Charlotte 6 9
FESSEL Nicole 5 16 22
ROPONEN Riitta-Liisa 21 12 8

1 Comment


Comment by Skidfan

February 27, 2011 @ 16:24

RICKARDSON HAD HORRIBLE SKIS! Which is big news here in Sweden.

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