Tour de Ski XC-Predictions: Stage 4

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 31 Dec 2011@17:00

In the Skiathlon on Stage 4 the bonus seconds for the intermediate sprints are expected to be more important than the order the skiers arrive at the finish – especially in the mens class were there are 5 intermediate sprints compared to the 2 intermediate sprints in the womens class.

Stage 3 predictions wrap-up: Another tricky day to set up the results among the men on Stage 3 – with big favourite Emil Jönsson out due to a fall in the quarter finals. Also Northug and Cologna were not strong enough in the finals – 4 Russians finishing first. Stefan did best even with Jönsson on top – gettting 609 points, 19 points ahead of Bornis in 2nd and Piotr in third.

In the overall predictions, Piotr has nearly doubled his lead to 113 points after three excellent races. Irina jumped from 3rd to 2nd place, while Markus is now up in third ahead of Jossa, SIEGER JC and Sofia. But there are still 7 predictions to go – so a lot can happen. Now it is over to the Skiathlon on Stage 4:

Note! The qualification start was moved from 13:30 to 12:30 today (on short notice by the organizers), and as many had not set up their predictions yet, we had to keep the deadline at 13:30. Thus it was possible to change the predictions after the qualifications rounds. This did not have significant influence on the final results though.

Stage 4 Preview

Bonus seconds for intermediate points will be 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 seconds for the first ten athletes at a designated intermediate point. The top three of the Stage will in addition get bonus seconds (15, 10 and 5 seconds). Thus there will e a fight for a total of 90 bonus seconds among the men and 45 bonus seconds among the women. Still, the extra 15 bonus seconds at the finish will also be good to have.

As always in first-to-finish races, Petter Northug is the big favourite. However, all the intermediate bonus sprints makes it more important to win the intermediate sprints than to get stage winner, and thus the big overall candidates might not be the ones you see on top of the results list for the stage at the end of the day. In the 2010/2011 edition Matti Heikkinen won the Oberstdorf Skiathlon ahead of Dario Cologna, but Cologna was still the big winner of the day. Tactics will be very important in this race – but still Northug always seems to have that little extra in the final sprint of distance races…

In 2010/2011 Dario Cologna won a total of 40 seconds. Marcus Hellner gained 35 seconds and Lukas Bauer took 25 seconds during the entire competition. Petter Northug took 25 seconds but lost the 15 bonus second he won at 14.5 km due to the fact that he was “not following the best line”.

03.01.2011: 20 km M Pursuit Interval start, Oberstdorf, GER
Full results

2. COLOGNA Dario
3. JAKS Martin
4. GAILLARD Jean Marc
5. BAUER Lukas
7. KERSHAW Devon
8. LEGKOV Alexander
9. GJERDALEN Tord Asle
10. HELLNER Marcus

There are only 45 bonus seconds to fight for in the women’s race – 30 seconds at intermediate points and 15 seconds in the finish – and typically more spreading in the field. Thus we can get a completely different race setup among the women as we often see, were Kowalczyk, Bjørgen, Johaug and a few more who have strength left and good skis get away from the rest. Kowalczyk has even been so strong that she might get away alone – or will maybe Bjørgen try to catch up in the overall?

In the 2010/2011 edition, Anna Haag took the victory in the tight race ahead of her team mate, Charlotte Kalla with 0.6 seconds, and Marthe Kristoffersen 7.4 seconds down. During the race, there was an early fight in the front group of the 5 km classic and 5 km free Pursuit. Kowalczyk, Kalla, Kristoffersen, Follis, Longa and Johaug were all chasing the bonus second they could win. The Polish skier won both intermediate sprints and gained 30 bonus seconds. Haag took the stage win after attacking the ones fighting for the bonus seconds earlier on in the race together with Charlotte Kalla on the last uphill. She made a small gap together with Kalla and they were able to hold it until the finish where Haag beat Kalla.

03.01.2011: 10 km M Pursuit Interval start, Oberstdorf, GER
Full results

1. HAAG Anna
2. KALLA Charlotte
4. FOLLIS Arianna
5. KOWALCZYK Justyna
6. LONGA Marianna
7. JOHAUG Therese
9. ROPONEN Riitta-Liisa
10. MAJDIC Petra

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