Davos 30 km/15km: Highlight of the season!

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 09 Dec 2011@17:42

For fans of “old-school” cross country skiing, the Interval start races over 30km/15km free in Davos this weekend are one of the big highlights of the season. The races are skied in a 7.5 km track which is skied 4 times for the men and 2 times for the women – that is also a thing you don’t see to often in the World Cup today.

The races in Davos are tricky because of the altitude of around 1500 meters – making the results a bit different from many other races. 30 km racing for the men with individual start at altitude will thus give interesting race developments and tactics with regards to opening speed.

All the best distance skiers are on the start in Davos. Among the early predictions (70 predictions as of the time when writing this preview), Petter Northug is the favourite ahead of Dario Cologna, Marcus Hellner, Alexander Legkov and Maurice Manificat. Quite a few have also Roland Clara on top after his impressive performance in Kuusamo. Vylegzhanin and Bauer are also popular.

Some thoughts about the men’s race:

  • An individual start 30 km is usually not Northug’s favourite discipline, though – and with long 7.5 km loops, starting last due to World Cup lead and 1 minute start interval between the top skiers, Northug will probably have to do most of the work himself.
  • Cologna is probably one of the biggest favourites. The Swiss skier usually tops his shape for the races on home ground – but still long races are not Cologna’s strongest side.
  • Lukas Bauer is known as a classic specialist, but he has several very strong performances in long individual start races – Bauer has the possibility to show that he is to be counted in Tour de Ski.
  • Anders Södergren and Remo Fischer have done some impressive individual start 50 km races – they might be in the top in Davos as well if the shape is there.
  • Gaillard, Clara and DiCenta can also mix in among the top skiers – and of course also Hellner, Legkov, Manificat and Vylegzhanin.

Among the women, we have the usual favourites: The Norwegians, Kowalczyk and Kalla. These longer individual start races (although 15 km is not very long) are the best possibilities for Johaug and maybe also Størmer Steira to beat Bjørgen – but Bjørgen is still the big favourite. Some thoughts about the women’s race:

  • Bjørgen is the big favourite – it would be a surprise if she didn’t take the victory.
  • Johaug, Kowalczyk and Kalla are the runner ups – along with Skofterud. Is Kowalczyk finally finding her shape now?
  • Saarinen and Haag are two of the outsiders, but they will probably not fight for the medals



Comment by giermund

December 13, 2011 @ 20:18

Where did you get the myth that Northug is not good in individual starts? With all the statistics around, one should know better and not jump the bandwagon.


Comment by Jan

December 14, 2011 @ 01:18

When I take a quick look at Northug’s wins,


a majority of them ahead of this season have been in first-to-finish races – but I have sent the question over to StatisticalSkier to see if he can dig up some real statistics on this which might be enough to convince you.

Not however: This season Northug has proved several times that he can also win interval start races… A new era might have started…

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