Friday, June 18, 2010

Falun Handicap Start

1 minute to womens start
It's snowing pretty flippin hard. Snowing sideways would be a good description actually.
Going to make things soft and interesting.

Bjoergen starts almost a minute up on Kowal, so this is her race to lose. Kowal gets a big lead on everyone else, so the battle will be for third.

Bjoergen is off

Kowalczyk is off
wow, its snowing so hard when the camera zooms out, you can barely see Bjoergen.
It's actually going to be impossible to see the Swedes in their white suits. I hope the don't get lost.
Saarinen chugs out of the gate, with Kalla right behind her.

OKay people are starting all over the place.
Hahahaha shot of the course and a bunch of techs/coaches were skiing backwards on the racecourse.
Until they saw Bjoergen coming up the hill at them. I would have put the brakes on and got the hell out of there too.
Looks really soft and miserable, but Bjoergen looks strong. And for the second day, Kowal doesn't. Not even a km in, and she looks tuckered.

Chase pack of Olsson, Kalla and Steira is tight, and hunting down Kowalczyk.
I think that gap is about a minute, so they have their work cut out for them.
Steira seems to be taking a pull at the front and pushing the pace, while Kalla and Olsson are content to wait.

Kowalczyk has made up 4 seconds on Bjoergen, and is now 46 back.
The chase group is 1.52 back of Bjoergen.

Bjoergen is slopping up the Morderbakken. Yes, slopping is now an verb.
When the snow is up to your knees, you know it sucks.
The top is 2.8km, which Marit has just gone by.

Oh boy, Kowalczyk is already in sight. 43 seconds back. slowly making up time.
Steira and Kalla going past the time check at 1.39 down, and they're making up time quick.
Olsson is 10 seconds down on them, and fading.
Follis is 40 seconds back of Olsson, with Johaug, Saarinen and Stehle hard on her heels.
Johaug especially looks like she has an axe to grind. She pretty much hop-skate over the top of the hill.

Bjoergen goes through the 5 km mark almost running over the forerunners. It's also the stadium.
And what I'm assuming is almost the last starter just about gets run over as well.
Kowalczyk has dropped a bit, to 52 sec back. I think the fun part will be to see whether Steira and Kalla, taking turns pushing the pace, can catch her.
They're still 45 seconds back, which is a lot to close over 5 km on someone like Kowalczyk.

Olsson is way off those two, and Follis is charging hard, less than 30 seconds back.
An even bigger chase group, led by Johaug, is another 18 sec back. Very doubtful they'll achieve anything other than a mass sprint finish.

I have never seen so many coaches/techs sking around on the race course!
They myst be allowed to just because the forerunners cant keep the snow down on their own. There are forerunners in between the leaders its so bad.

With less than 4 km to, and Kowal 45 back, and Steira and kalla 40 back of that, it's incredibly unlikely anything will change.

At the top of Morderbakken checkpoint, Bjoergen was looking strong still.
Kowalczyks offset was falling to bits all over the place, but she's holding strong at 43 seconds back.
Steira has broken away from Kalla, and really wants to make up ground.
1.21 back of Bjoergen, so 36 behind Kowalczyk, but they're running out of trail, as well as uphills.

The wheels have officially fallen off Kowal's train. She looks zoned out, and her already goofy technique has turned to complete garbage.
But Steira and Kalla, together again, are still 30 seconds back.

Bjoergen gets the win, wins the final!
But what the hell??
It's Steira and Kalla! Tracking down Kowalczyk up the last hill into the finish, but not enough time!
Kalla just blew Steira away, who can't sprint to save her life.
Bjoergen, Kowalczyk, Kalla go 1-2-3

Roponen and Smigun coming into the home stretch just ahead of Johaug and Olsson, who has dropped to 8th.
Saarinen 9th, Philippot 10th, Savialova 11th, Follis 12, Sachenbacher-Stehle 13th.
Kikkan Randall just behind Longa in 17th, not a bad showing. Kuitenin back in 28th on the other hand - brutal.

Commercial break shows indoor cycling World Champs is going on, and it looks sick. I think I'll tune in.

WOOWOO, Dasha outsprints Lisa Larsson to the line for 39th I believe. Good for Dasha to get some TV time.
And behind them, a forerunner crosses the line and looks like he's just about as toast as any of the girls.
Now back to bed for an hour or so until the men, which hopefully will be more exciting.

And I'm back!
Apparantly there is a biathlon race on in Oslo, cause I'm watching the tail end of it.
Men's Pursuit
Hellner - +40s
Larsson - +46s
Angerer and a bunch of other dudes - +1.22s

Alex is at +2.25, while Ivan is at +2.50.Kershaw is at about +3.30.

How This Shit is Going to Go Down:
Northug will win. Obviously. Hellner will hold the fort for 2nd, while Larsson finally realizes he's not on his A-game.
Larsson drops hard, and someone in the chase group picks off third. Not Sodo, because he will have done all the work.
The smart money is on Cologna or Bauer. I'll take Cologna, because he won the 15km skate athe Olympics.
And again, Ivan will make the biggest moves of the day.

Northug is gone.

Angerer is gone, along with his chase group buddies Bauer, Cologna, Sodo, Roenning, etc

Harvey out, and now the camera switches to the course.
Timecheck shows Larsson has lost 5 seconds on Hellner already, while Hellner remains even with Northug.

Hellner is always easy to pick out, cause he has the sickest neon orange poles.
I like him, he makes my life easy.
Behind Larsson, the chase pack is already lurking.
Seems like Larsson has given up on trying to stay with Hellner, and has opted to take his chances with the pack.

Petter hits the 2.8km mark, his offset still going strong.
Hellner is approaching, and looks smooth, but not that quick. ANd he stays at 39 down on Northug
Further back, larsson has officially been swallowed by the chase pack, who is being led by Vittoz.
Manificat, who started almost 30 seconds behind Angerer has now made contact, and the chase pack is looking strong.

Northug blows by the 5km mark in the stadium.
Hellner goes through 48s down, losing 10 seconds in 2.2km
The 7 man chase pack isn't far behind at 1.33s back of Northug.
Manificat now leading! He's on a mission today!
Larsson sitting at the back, either hanging on for dear life, or hoping to dummy everyone in the sprint finish.

Smaller group goes through the 5km mark 30s back including Perl, Piller Cottrer and Pettersen.
They probably won't be able to get much done at this point.

Chase pack is getting smaller as Manificat is still pushing the pace.
Vittoz, Vlegzhanin, Cologna and Sodo are hanging tough, but Angerer is done, as is Bauer, which is a surprise and a half.
Larsson is also toast, but that's no surprise.
Manificat's pack is still 35 seconds down on Hellner and a 1.25ish on Northug, but Hellner has to be getting bored by himself.
A quick time check has Hellner 50s back of Northug.

Manificat has now utterly shattered the chase pack, and everyone else is just holding on.
Vylgzhanin, Vittoz, Cologna, all strung out.

Northug almost kills a small child. just about skewered him on his ski. Shishkabob.
Someone get that kid off the trail.
But back to the action, Sodo has now dragged himself to the front of those chasing Manificat.
7.8k time check has Hellner at 48s back.
7.8k Manificat is now 1.11s back of Northug, and has a realistic shot at Hellner at this rate.
Vittoz is 1.23, and looking tired, as Sodo goes by him, as does Vylegzhanin.
Cologna, Angerer and Bauer are at 1.52, and Cologna looks downright terrible.

10km timecheck in the stadium.
Coming into the stadium Hellner still has his lead, but Manificat is visible behind him.
Hellner is 54s down.
Manificat is still at 1.11s
Vittoz found a second wind and is leading the chase group of Sodo and Vylegzhanin at 1.35.
Angerer, bauer and Cologna are at 2.01s. Still losing time, apparantly.
Replay shows Vylegzhanin tripped over Sodo's pole and just about ate shit. What a Commie.

The announcers just mentioned Larsson's name, and I can't imagine it was in a favourable light.
Manificat is 1.07 down now, while Hellner is still at 54s.
But the video shows something else, because Manificat is only 20 meters back of Hellner, and is closing fast.
Hellner better get his act together in a hurry here if he wants to hold onto that medal.
Manificat is looking a little tired though, especially on his offset compared to Hellner's. And on this course, you kind of need that.

Vylegzhanin now leading the Sodo-Vittoz chase pack.
I guess they get to decide who gets 4th, because that's really the only thing they have going for them.
Manificat is now 1.01s behind Northug, while Hellner is 49s. He's in real trouble, no doubt about that.
Manificat seems to be closing HUGE on the uphills! It's too bad he started so far back, he would have given Northug a ruin for his money today.
The last time check is going to interesting.

12.8km timecheck
Manificat has now caught Hellner! And goes on the attack right away!
No stopping, no chatting, just going for it, and Hellner is not stoked.
Hellner is now checking out Manificat's ass.
Manificat is only 45s behind Northug! I know, Northug probably isn't trying.
Vittoz is now in charge of the 3 man chase group, who are still too far back to make a difference.
Next stop, the finish line.

Manificat has now gone to hop skating the uphills, and Hellner has been completely broken.
Sure, Manificat doesn't exactly look great either, but it's over for Marcus. He's dropped 10 seconds in the last 100m

Northug has stopped to high five the entire stadium crowd. Not even kidding.
Now he has a flag, and checks back for Manificat, just in case.
The announcers are loving it! And Northug is still highfiving!
And Northug is standing on the finish line waiting for Manificat. What a goon!
The end split is hilariously deceiving. This is what you pay me for.
Vylegzhanin comes across ahead of Vittoz and Sodo, winning the race for 4th.
30s later Angerer beats out Cologna and Bauer, and Di Centa strolls across the line.
Piller Cottrer finishes right behind him, making quite the comeback.
Perl is next, in 12th, while Roenning shows up in 13th.
Ivan finishing in 17th! Beats out Pettersen to the line, and Larsson finally shows up in 19th.
Hero move by Ivan, the guy is a tank.Kershaw crosses in 31st, about 5 minutes back of the lead.
Which means squad when the leader mugs for the crowd for a minute or two.
But that's all.
For more info, go check the results on the FIS site, just don't look at the times.

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