Tour de SkiXCFeedsThe Germans Dethroned

Avatar doogiskiJanuary 1, 2010

The prologue has been dominated by two German’s since the inception of the Tour de Ski: Claudia Nystad and Axel Teichmann. Today saw Nystad fail to win her 4th consecutive prologue, while Teichmann was edged out by a Swede and a Norwegian to deny him of his second straight victory in the format. There are 37 more men and 8 more women in this years edition with approximately 90% of the red group entered which has heightened the competition.

Women

The early leader was the biathlete-turned-cross country skier Miriam Goessner who had the time to beat for quite a while. While she’s new onto the scene and only 19 years old, she is a very bright talent that impressed last season in the women’s relay at the World Champs. The out and out favorite Claudia Nystad failed to win her 4th prologue in a row as she faded in the last 1.2km She  Held the top split at 1.5km. Korosteleva had very good start, taking lead at the 1.5km time check and kept her pacing until she crumpled into a heap after crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to hold of Majdic as she was able to extend her minuscule lead of 0.3 seconds over the Russian by another couple seconds before the end. Kowalczyk looked promising at the only time check but lost over seven seconds in the last 1.2km to take the bronze.

Note: The Swede Hannah Brodin continues to impress as she finished 10th today. Some great pacing was seen by Celine Brun-Lie who finished 7th but was in 23rd at the time check while France’s Laure Barthelemy managed to pick up 25 places in the final 1.2km to finish 13th, a career best for the 21 year old.

Results
1. Petra Majdic
2. Natalia Korosteleva
3. Justyna Kowalczyk

Men

Northug proved (again) why he is the favorite to win the Tour. He was only 5.3 seconds down at the time check but sitting in 31st position. With the great support team, Northug continued to get splits around the course and knew what he had to do to beat Hellner. It wasn’t a huge margin in the victory (0.8sec) but a wins a win. The Swede had a great race and denied Teichmann of his second prologue win in a row. It looked like Teichmann once again had paced the race perfectly as he overtook Shiriaev’s time at the finish but Hellner spoiled the party. Hellner  looked snappy and full of energy from start to finish and was technically strong today, showing no signs of fatigue down the finishing straight like so many others in the race. However, once across the line, he pulled a Bjørn Dæhlie and was stomach down with his feet up in the air.

Some other highlights included a great race from the Italian Loris Frasnelli who finished 6th. It was the first time he’s been in the top 10 since 2006. It was a good day fora couple Canadians as Grey and Harvey finished 17th and 18th respectively. Eldar Rønning had a day to forget as he was in contention at the time check but proceeded to lose 28 seconds and 59 places in the final 2.2km. He’s a much stronger classic skier so I expect him to have a strong bounce back tomorrow. Also, the young German Andreas Katz had a phenomenal race today as he was the man to beat for quite a while. He held the fastest split time at 1.5km for almost the whole race and ended up a career best 11th in only his third career World Cup start.

Results
1. Petter Northug
2. Marcus Hellner
3. Axel Teichmann

10km/15km Handicap Start

For tomorrows race, we see both Northug and Majdic lead out while the trailing athletes will desperately try to catch them. I’m expecting that the men’s race will form a group of three or four at the front and then Northug will do what Northug does best by out-sprinting the others will a couple hundred meters left. On the women’s side, I can’t imagine someone beating Majdic in the race. She is one of the best classic skiers around and if she’s on her game, she’ll be unstoppable tomorrow. I don’t think Korosteleva will be able to catch or hang on and Kowalczyk’s 16 second deficit seems like a little too much… even for the Pole.

Women (who crosses the line first)
1. Petra Majdic
2. Justyna Kowalczyk
3. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen

Men
1. Petter Northug
2. Dario Cologna
3. Axel Teichmann

*Just a quick not that all the races from the 2009-2010 have been capped by Basil Brush from the Eurosport feeds and are available via torrents. There are direct links to all of the races on the media page.

**If you’re wondering why these posts are coming out so late, it’s because I prefer to watch the races and then comment on them. In doing that I have to download the race which takes a little time. You see a lot more when you watch the race than reading the results. It wouldn’t make sense to me to just look at the results sheet and post a blog. Anyone can read results and get the same conclusion :) . If anyone knows where there is a streaming link of the races available, please post a link in the comments section. It’d be greatly appreciated.

Til Tomorrow.

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