Stage 2 of Tour de Ski: 10 and 15 km classic pursuit handicap start
With fresh snow and yesterday’s performances in mind, Tour de Ski rolls into day 2. Weather forecast predicts less snow in the afternoon, which is good news for our athletes. The ladies start their 10 km classic pursuit at 2:15 pm, followed by the men’s 15 km classic pursuit at 3:15. The top 3 athletes from yesterday won respectively 15, 10 and 5 bonus seconds at the finish, meaning they have a bigger gap down to the group.
Classic pursuit with handicap start basically means that the winners from yesterday will start the race, whereas the following athletes start behind according to their time from the first stage. This means that Marit Bjoergen starts +0.6 seconds behind Kowalczyk, Hanna Brodin +0:14, Marte Kristoffersen and Riitta-Liisa Roponen +0:19 and so on. Based on the snow conditions and the weather, both ladies and men will probably end up as a main group up front, as it will get too hard to race in front of the main group throughout the race. Just like last year, the second stage will be influenced by tactics from the athletes, but also leading to opportunities for those who ended up lower on the results list to ski their way up.
Day 2 of Tour de Ski can become a second chance for those athletes who didn’t make it to the top yesterday. Charlotte Kalla along with Marte Kristoffersen are two athletes to watch out for, as well as Therese Johaug and the three Finish ladies Sarasoja, Roponen and Saarinen. On the men’s side, Tour favourites Northug and Cologna will definitely give all they have to keep their position on the top, but athletes such as Manificat, Chernousov, Legkov and Heikkinen should be paid attention to.
The scheduled official training for the athletes was first set at 10am, but to secure optimal conditions, it was rescheduled to noon as the course will be re-groomed.
Tina Bachmann (GER) will not start today as it was planned that would only compete in the free technique race. (She's a Biathlete). Daniel Heun (GER), Ondrej Horyna (CZE) and Manuel Hirner (AUT) will not start due to illness.
Follow the live commenting from today’s race on twitter: @ xcwclive
Start lists can be found here: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=30245
Sofie Torlei Olsen