Results this early in the season should be taken with a grain of salt. After
all, the fastest skiers in August are rarely the fastest skiers in February.
But when the best skiers in the world get together to compete, it is always
fun to examine the results – even if it is still summer.
Many of the top World Cup skiers gathered in Estonia this weekend for the Saku
Suverull pursuit race. The competition was held in three sections: the prologue,
running and roller skiing. The winner was calculated by the total time in all
Big names dominated the results. On the women's side, Kristina Smigun won comfortably
on her home turf, ahead of Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) and Germany's Evi Sachenbacher.
The men's race was much tighter at the finish, with three Germans in the top
four. Andreas Schluetter was the winner by 1.2 seconds over teammate Tobias
Angerer. Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) broke up the German parade before 2003 Overall
World Cup runner-up Rene Sommerfeldt came across in fourth.
A couple of big names did not deliver as advertised. Per Elofsson, scheduled
to compete, did not show up. Julija Tchepalova, who gave birth to daughter Olesja
over the winter, was only back in action briefly. She finished last in the prologue
and did not compete in the running (or pursuit) events.