Race development: 15 km classic WC opening

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 19 Nov 2011@14:41

Johan Olsson skied a fantastic last part of the race – taking the second World Cup victory in his career. 31 seconds is a huge winning margin in international cross country skiing. Above you see the race development in a SplitsBrowser.

The SplitsBrowser (see above) compares the race development of different skiers in a graphical way. A flat curve means that a skier is fastest on a split – when a curve goes down on a split, the skier looses time. Split number 3 is at the end of the first loop of 4, split number 6 at the end of the second loop and split number 9 at the end of the third loop.

Just like Bjørndalen

- I tried to do the same thing as Ole Einar Bjørnalen did here a few years ago. Open slowly, and then speed up in the last part of the race, a very happy Olsson said after his victory after admitting that Bjørndalen is his big role medal regarding skiing technique.

As you can see from the SplitsBrowser screenshot above or the interactive SplitsBrowser here, Dario Cologna was the fastest starter, seemingly on the way to victory. However, Cologna used too much energy in the first loop, loosing a lot of time in the second part of the course.

Fast second loop by Clara

Roland Clara skied a very fast second loop, but this seemed to cost a lot of energy. In the end it cost him the second spot to Petter Northug.

In the two last loops, there was nothing to do with Olsson. Alexey POLTORANIN was closest in the finish – but POLTORANIN lost too much time in the start of the race to fight for a place on the podium.

Northug in second

Petter Northug was the big Norwegian favourite ahead of the race.

- 30 seconds is a lot, but I am still satisfied, Petter Northug said after the race.
Northug had a good last part of the race – “only” loosing 7 seconds to Olsson on the last 3.75 km loop.

- Johan Olsson got to relax at the back of a big group of skiers for a while, which helped him gain some energy. That helped him a bit.

First loop time (main part of loop)
1. 05:23 Dario COLOGNA SUI
2. 05:27 +00:04 Calle HALFVARSSON SWE
3. 05:27 +00:04 Roland CLARA ITA
4. 05:27 +00:04 Sergey TURYCHEV RUS
5. 05:27 +00:04 Sjur ROETHE NOR
6. 05:29 +00:06 Petter NORTHUG NOR
7. 05:30 +00:07 Johan OLSSON SWE
8. 05:30 +00:07 Remo FISCHER SUI
9. 05:31 +00:08 Maurice MANIFICAT FRA
10. 05:31 +00:08 Alexander LEGKOV RUS
11. 05:31 +00:08 Finn Haagen KROGH NOR
35. 05:38 +00:15 Alex HARVEY CAN
Second loop times (main part of loop)
1. 05:34 Roland CLARA ITA
2. 05:37 +00:03 Johan OLSSON SWE
3. 05:38 +00:04 Alex HARVEY CAN
4. 05:39 +00:05 Remo FISCHER SUI
5. 05:40 +00:06 David HOFER ITA
6. 05:40 +00:06 Calle HALFVARSSON SWE
7. 05:40 +00:06 Dario COLOGNA SUI
8. 05:41 +00:06 Nikolay CHEBOTKO KAZ
9. 05:41 +00:07 Petter NORTHUG NOR
10. 05:42 +00:08 Alexander LEGKOV RUS
11. 05:42 +00:08 Martin JOHNSRUD SUNDBY NOR
Third loop times (main part of loop)
1. 05:36 Johan OLSSON SWE
2. 05:43 +00:07 Tarjei BOE NOR
3. 05:44 +00:08 Alexey POLTORANIN KAZ
4. 05:45 +00:09 Alex HARVEY CAN
5. 05:46 +00:10 Martin BAJCICAK SVK
6. 05:46 +00:10 Pietro PILLER COTTRER ITA
7. 05:46 +00:10 Anders SOEDERGREN SWE
8. 05:47 +00:11 Lars BERGER NOR
9. 05:47 +00:11 Ville NOUSIAINEN FIN
10. 05:47 +00:11 Jiri MAGAL CZE
11. 05:47 +00:11 Petter NORTHUG NOR
14. 05:49 +00:13 Roland CLARA ITA
20. 05:50 +00:14 Remo FISCHER SUI
21. 05:51 +00:15 Calle HALFVARSSON SWE
Last loop times
1. 07:54 Johan OLSSON SWE
2. 07:56 +00:02 Alexey POLTORANIN KAZ
3. 08:00 +00:06 Lars BERGER NOR
4. 08:00 +00:07 Marcus HELLNER SWE
5. 08:01 +00:07 Petter NORTHUG NOR
6. 08:02 +00:08 Remo FISCHER SUI
7. 08:03 +00:09 Aivar REHEMAA EST
8. 08:03 +00:09 Ville NOUSIAINEN FIN
9. 08:04 +00:10 Roland CLARA ITA
10. 08:08 +00:14 Finn Haagen KROGH NOR

Interactive SplitsBrowser:

The day of the big surprises

Looking at the 234 predictions in the WhoWins XC-predictions for this season opener, you can see that Olsson and Roland Clara are the big surprises. Clara was only tipped inside the Top 5 by three of 234 people – whereas Olsson was tipped by 38 people. Calle Halfvarsson in 4th spot was another big surprise – and so was Alex Harvey in 5th and Remo Fischer in 6th.  With many surprises, there were also many disappointments today; the biggest being Marice Manificat who was the hightlight of last weekend but who finished only 17th today. Also the Russians (Legkov and Vylegzhanin), Rickardsson, Cologna and Hellner disappointed.



Comment by Analyzator

November 20, 2011 @ 14:29

Some stats about “Olsson’s group”.

I don’t know how 3,75 splits is located compared to finish. So this doesn’t show if he was behind Harvey also last loop or perhaps got together with Richardsson (should check from TV broadcast).
And unfortunately there is no times available at 14,15 km.

But at least from 4 to 11,5 km he seems to have been right behind Harvey.

2,9 km
-9 Duvillard (LAP2)
-8 Marschall (LAP3)
-5 Renn (LAP3)
5:59 OLSSON (LAP1)
3,75 km
-12 Bajcicak (LAP2)
-12 Babikov (LAP1)
-2 Marschall (LAP3)
-2 Duvillard (LAP2)
7:59 OLSSON (LAP1)
4 km
-10 Bajcicak (LAP3)
-10 Babikov (LAP2)
-2 Harvey (LAP1)
0 Duvillard (LAP3)
0 Marschall (LAP4)
8:31 OLSSON (LAP2)
6,65 km
-1 Harvey (LAP1)
-1 Bajcicak (LAP3)
-1 Babikov (LAP2)
14:08 OLSSON (LAP2)
7,5 km
-2 Bajcicak (LAP3)
-1 Harvey (LAP1)
-1 Babikov (LAP2)
16:07 OLSSON (LAP2)

7,75 km
-8 Kershaw (LAP1)
-5 Perrillat (LAP4)
-2 Harvey (LAP2)
-2 Bajcicak (LAP4)
-1 Babikov (LAP3)
16:40 OLSSON (LAP3)
10,4 km
-21 Tzinzov (LAP1)
-11 Boe (LAP2)
-9 Roethe (LAP3)
-1 Kershaw (LAP1)
0 Harvey (LAP2)
22:16 OLSSON (LAP3)
11,25 km
-12 Tzinzov (LAP1)
-5 Boe (LAP2)
-4 Roethe (LAP3)
-1 Harvey (LAP2)
-1 Kershaw (LAP1)
24:17 OLSSON (LAP3)
11,5 km
-9 Tzinzov (LAP2)
-1 Harvey (LAP3)
-1 Roethe (LAP4)
-1 Boe (LAP3)
0 Kershaw (LAP2)
24:49 OLSSON (LAP4)
10 Rickardsson (LAP1)

3,75 km -12 Rickardsson (LAP1)
-3 Boe (LAP3)
-3 Kershaw (LAP2)
-2 Harvey (LAP3)
7 Cologna (LAP1)


Comment by Jan Kocbach

November 20, 2011 @ 14:35

@ANALYZATOR: Thanks! I wanted to take a look at that, but have not have time yet. A pity the split from 14.15 km is not in the FIS split times – the TV commentators seem to have it available in their tool, so I guess they are just not published online..


Comment by Analyzator

November 21, 2011 @ 20:48

Unfortunately there is error in my stats regarding Rickardsson, he was not near Olsson. (had wrong start time due to missing names in the splits list).

And from tv it seems that in 14,15 km Olsson was alone, had left Harvey clearly behind and was approx 10 secs ahead him before finish.

Also from TV it seems that in 7,5 km order of group was Harvey, Olsson, Babikov, Bajcicak.
Calculating the times indicates Olsson being last. But because skiers can start 3 (or 5?) secs before/after actual starttime, we can’t tell by splittimes who is leading in the group and who is behind if we don’t know real start times.


Comment by Jan Kocbach

November 21, 2011 @ 21:15

@ANALYZATOR: Yeah, the +-5 seconds starting time kills a proper split analysis. The information is bound to be in the timing system, but not in the published live system unfortunately.

I’d love to have som GPS-data. There was from the Finnish Champs in XC-skiing last year, and then it was possible to look at that kind of stuff more quantitatively; also interesting data about uphill/downhill and so on. I actually asked FIS about it last year as they had GPS-data from some races, but it turned out they were not able to deliver me any data :(


Comment by XC

November 22, 2011 @ 11:51

15 km at 3,75 km loop and 1 minute starting interval between seeded skiers = not good. That was the reason for most of grouping because there were seeded skiers in four different loops at the same time.

With 30 secs start interval + 5 k loop much less “problems”.


Comment by Jan

November 22, 2011 @ 14:44

@XC: I couldn’t agree more!

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