The FIS World Cup Final is in Pragelato, Italy this weekend. Prestigious overall titles, Red Group positions for next year – being on the money list, bragging rights, getting a psychological advantage before next years World Championship is all at stake this final weekend.
The skiers have left their classic skis at home. It’s all about skating with a skate sprint on Friday and 30 (men) and 15 (women) kilometer skating on Saturday.
German Rene Sommerfeldt seems to have looked up the men’s overall title, but 6-8 skiers will battle it out for second and third place overall. Top contenders are Mathias Frederiksson, Tobias Angerer, Axel Teichman, Anders Veerpalu and Frode Estil. The Germans have had a great World Cup season.
American Kris Freeman has slipped out of the top 30 and needs a very good 30 kilometer race to climb back into the money list. A top 30 overall placing this year means that the organizer picks up the tab for you and one service person next season (travel + room and board).
Last year's Sprint World Cup winner Tobias Frederiksson of Sweden is leading the sprint World Cup going into this weekend. He looks very safe at the top but needs some points in case Norwegians Havard Bjerkeli or Jens Arne Svartedal captures the victory which they both are capable of. He should however take care of that pretty handily. He could (even) win the last sprint race, but anything can happen in the sprint.
The battle for the women’s overall title is now between Gabriella Paruzzi of Italy and Norwegian Marit Bjorgen. Paruzzi has a 120 points lead but Bjorgun could win Friday’s sprint and make the 30 kilometer very interesting.
Both Beckie Scott and Sarah Renner are in top 30 positions. Renner needs to put together another good weekend in order to stay in the top 30. There are only 9 points down to 30th place.
Marit Bjorgen has already won the Women’s Sprint World Cup, but there is a good battle going on behind her for second and third. 100 points is awarded for a win and anyone capturing the victory would move up a lot. Beckie Scott is now 10th overall and another top 5 race could bring her into top 6 on the overall list. Sara Renner is in 25th place.