The two remaining races at the Nordic World Championship in Obertsdorf, Germany are the 30 and 50-kilometer classic mass-start races. The women are racing their 30-k on Saturday and the men their 50-k on Sunday. The following article is from the official World Championship web site http://www.oberstdorf2005.com/index.shtml?en_homepage
Stamina for the Mass Start
After speed had been most important in the sprints, now everything depends on experience
After the fast sprint and relay competitions of the last few days, on Saturday, 26th February, the Cross-Country skiing ladies have to compete in the power-draining 30 km mass start Classical style. Favorites are the experienced skiers such as the double World Champion, Julija Tchepalova (RUS), the leader of the overall World Cup and double World Champion, Marit Bjoergen (NOR), as well as Kristina Smigun from Estonia who has already succeeded in this discipline on several occasions. Particularly, the Northern countries have some advantage here, Cross-Country skiing being their National sport. But the Italian skier Gabriella Paruzzi has also prepared herself for this endurance discipline and has rested for the last few days. The young Viola Bauer (GER) would already be satisfied with a rank among the top ten and does not really expect to win a medal.
In the 30 km mass start, the German Claudia KÃ¼nzel, also placed within the red group, will have her last chance to assert herself and win a WCS medal. But is her strength after the last competition days sufficient? After the success of the men’s team a medal for the German ladies would be a good finish. The chances for Claudia KÃ¼nzel are not too bad as the other competitors have also completed tough contests in the last few days that certainly still make their bones ache. The German Steffi BÃ¶hler will also try her luck in the 30 km competition, although she will be treated as an outsider like all other contestants who are not placed within the red group.