World of XC Predictions for Nove Mesto free technique sprints

11 January 2014 09:28
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NordicFocus

With free technique sprint on the program on February 11th in Sochi, there is a lot of focus on this discipline in the World Cup the coming month. The free technique sprint in Nove Mesto na Morave in Czech Republic this weekend is the first of three free technique sprints ahead of Sochi.

Although some of the sprinters participated at the Tour de Ski, most of the pure sprint specialists have had a training period – preparing themselves for the important competition period ahead of the Olympics. On the other hand, several of the sprinters who participated in Tour de Ski have now got a rest period.

Men
Several of the top sprinters where not at the start in Tour de Ski. The best sprinter last year –

  • Swedish Emil Jönsson – is hoping to show that he can do well also this season. In Davos in the middle of December he finished only 22nd.
  • Italian Federica Pellegrino showed good shape at the sprints in Tour de Ski (4th and 2nd) – and was also 6th in Davos. An interesting skier in Nove Mesto.
  • Anders Gløersen (Norway) won the Davos sprint – look out for this Norwegian who can move swiftly through the field towards the end of the race.
  • Finn Haagen Krogh has been mentioned among the favourites all of the season – but has so far “only” two 5th places from Davos and Lenzerheide in free technique sprint. Has he recovered well enough after the first part of the Tour?
  • Simon Hamilton won the sprint in Lenzerheide during Tour de Ski – was that only a one-timer – or can he play with the best again?
  • There are several others who can win this sprint – among them Teodor Peterson, Ola Vigen Hattestad, Martti Jylhae, Sergey Ustiugov.

Women
In the women’s class most of the top sprinters were at the Tour de Ski – and several of them jumped off before the end. Notably absent at the Tour was Kikkan Randall – the big favourite in Nove Mesto.

  • Randall has four wins and two second places in her last 6 starts in the World Cup in free technique sprint. The big, big favourite both here and at the Olympics.
  • Ingvild Flugstad Østberg was very impressive at the Tour de Ski – winning in Lenzerheide and 3rd in Oberhof.
  • German Denise Hermann was just as impressive as Flugstad Østberg – racing well in qualification and heat after heat. Finishing 2nd in Oberhof and 3rd in Lenzerheide.
  • Hanna Erikson took the victory in Oberhof, and has the series 7 – 1 – 4 in the three free technique sprints organized so far this season.
  • Maiken Caspersen Falla is the only one except for Marit Bjørgen who has beaten Kikkan Randall in a free technique sprint the last year. Has not had full success in the sprints so far this season, but has now trained well and wants to show her shape.
  • Also look out for Ingemarsdotter, Jean, Brun-Lie, Kolb and Van der Graff.