Can a North American woman medal in Thursday's 10 individual start classic race?
Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) will lead the four-woman U.S. cross country ski team into Thursday's 10km classical technique race. Wagner and Randall both ran strong in Tuesday's classical team sprint race. They will be joined by Abigail Larson (Bozeman, MT) and Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN), both of whom be making their second Olympic starts.
Sara Renner of Canada placed second in the recent 10-k classic World Cup race in Davos while teammate Beckie Scott was fourth. The race was dominated by Virpi Kuitunen from Finland. To view the results from this race see http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=9633 Both the gold and silver medalist in the Olympic pursuit race, Kristina Smigun and Katerina Neumannova were absent from this race. Amanda Ammar and Milaine Theriault will also start for Canada.
The medal favorites in the women’s race include Virpi Kuitunen, Marit Bjorgen (looks healthy again), Hilde G. Pedersen (did not race the relay due to a cold), Smigun, Neumannova, Majdic, Renner and Scott.
Weather forecasts call for a mix of rain and snow, absolutely the worst possible conditions for a classical race. Temperatures are expected to vary above and below freezing, making it a huge challenge for ski technicians to find the right combination of ski base structure, 'kick' wax and glide wax.
The race starts at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. eastern time) in Pragelato Plan. It is an interval start race, meaning racers start at 30-second intervals and race against the clock. The men’s 15-kilometer classic race is on Friday.
If you stay up late, or get up early, you can follow the race live on Eurosport.com.