Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup Final Falun Pursuit - March 2010

8.21 - LiveBlog for the 2x5 km Pursuit Womens
3.44 in , big pack, Kowal sitting easy at the front as they start up the first big hill.
Things spreading out single file, but no big gaps.

200m to bonus seconds, Kowalczyk goes.
Kowal-Steira-Saarinen rack em up.
2.5km, the pack has been exploded, with stragglers all over the place.

Lead group of about 10 comes out of the woods, without Kowalczyk!
No idea what happened, but shes at least 5 secs off the back.
Maybe the sprint for the bonus seconds tuckered her out more than she expected.
Oh, shes on the back, and her grip looks terrible, and she's falling apart.
Johaug seems to be going at it up the Moerderbakken, with Steira, Bjoergen and Kalla with her.

Bjoergen, Steira, Kalla and Johaug have opened up a big gap at the top of the hill.
At least 25m back to the chase group, but they're closing quickly on the downhills.

Coming back intot he stadium, they're all back together in.
And Saarinen goes to the lead, looking to get onto skate skis fast, apparantly.
Kowal Watch - Back in 20ish, not in contact. She better have some good skate skis if she wants to get back in this.

Kikkan is currently sitting in 28th - right in the pack! Impressive!
Dasha... last I saw her was about 1 km, when she was a minute or so back.

On skate skis for barely 3 minutes, and Bjoergen and Steira have deicded to attack again.
Gapped Kuitinen, I believe, as well as everyone else. Those hills are a bitch!
My mistake, Roponen sitting back in 4th with Johaug, as everyone else seems to have fallen apart.
Kowal Watch - 43 seconds back. What a goon.

Biiiiiig Lead for Steira and Bjoergen. Johaug and Ropenen are next. And up the 'bakken, Roponen just dummied Johaug.
Chase pack of 6 or 7 seems to be hustling after all 4, led by Kalla, but they don't seem to be making any headway.

200m to bonus seconds. Which are at the top of the MASSIVE hill at the 7.8km mark
Steira takes charge, but Bjoergen squeezes by just before the line, and gets aother 15.
Meanwhile, Johaug has crushed Roponen for the 5 secs, and seems to be hammering, although she is still 23 seconds behind.
Chase pack goes by the 7.8 km mark, 40 seconds back of the lead. Kowal is at the back of that group somewhere.

Kowal Watch - Now a full minute back.
Bjoergen and Steira at the finish.
Bjoergen is a way better sprinter - this should be a wash.
Steira is determined to at least fight for it tho, good for her.
But with 25 meters left, Bjoergen destroys Steira, but so fara 1-2 for Norway.
And Johaug can make it three, but Roponen is right with her.
But it's Johaug!
Here comes the mess.
Follis, Stehel, Kalla.
Randall! 13th ish! Wow!
Kowalwatch - Further back than that, 20's maybe? Missed her coming across the line. Still no idea what happened, she just exploded.
Hanna Brodin across the line 3.05 back. She's going to drop a bit in the overall.

Bagel - check
cream cheese - check
coffee - check
LiveFeed of Eurosport - check
10 pg essay due in roughly 48 hours that I haven't started writing yet - check
interest in watching the 2x10 km mens pursuit - very high
Let's get this show on the road, Eurosport.

Quick preview of the World Cup Final so far...
Sprint Day
Kruikov, Northug, Larsson

Cologna, Larsson, Vlegzhanin

Northug +7s
Joensson +20

Evaluation of what's going to happen:
Joensson and Larsson are going to drop hard, Northug will clean up, as will Cologna who is currently in 4th.
Also, Babikov will be the big mover, as he is down in 48, but is awesome at hill climbing, which is a big part of this course.

Start Line, shit's about to go down.
I think Northug's double poling. The whole thing.
Just kidding.

As per usual in mass start racing, the pace at 2.00 minutes is mind-numbingly slow.
I think I saw Andy Newell filing his elbows getting ready to do some takeouts.

5 minutes in, and everyone is still tightly bunched. That's what happens when you take the top 50.
The last guy in the line is Tom Reichelt, who isn't all that bad.
In other news, Larsson and Joensson apparantly read a different pre-race synopsis plan than I did.
They're both sitting in the top 3.

200m to bonus seconds.
Larsson is hammertiming here.
Gaillard right behind him, I think.
Those two get 15 and 10 respectively, while Eldar Roenning picks up an additional 5.
The rest of the pack cruises through shortly thereafter, with Harvey in the 20's and Ivan in 33. Not sure about Kersh or Nish.

Heading into the Morderbakken for round 1 of punishment.
Roenning out front, with Larsson on his tail, but the rest of the group has caught them since their little hustle for seconds.
Roenning gets a big thumbs up from his coach on the side of the trail.
Thanks, tips.

Super Sketchy downhill into a bridge!
HUGGGEE pile up on the bridge! At least 25 guys! WHo the hell made it taht skinny at the bottom of the downhill.
That was a monster gong show. Didn't see any big numbers go down, but a replay will determine that.
And IVAN is at the front! Looking effing awesome!
Devon down in 28th, but not much of a gap.

Things really shaking up now. Larsson and Joensson finally got the memo, and are nowhere near the front.
Sodo is though, and is really making a push.
Replay of the bridge gong show. Looks like too many guys going over a 5 meter wide bridge at once.
Some Swedish dude pretty much tackled the back of the pack. Must have broken half a dozen poles alone.
Surprisingly enough, the announcers didn't say a single name in the replay, so I have no idea who was involved.

Feed Zone - apparantly skating is allowed, because that's all Sodo did.
Gap opening from Sodo's group of about 10 to the next, of about 10.
Another gap back to Northug and another 10. A result of the crash, some hills, and then messy feeding.

200m to bonus seconds at 7.5 km
Looks like it'll be Sodo, Bauer and Olsson.
Northug is not in the top group, and seems to be struggling a little bit, but is far from out of it.
Harvey in 9th, Babs in 12th, Kershaw in 21st. Kershaw was 30 seconds back, so gaps are opening, but nothing serious.
Sodo is known for pushing the pace, and today is no different.

Looks like the top group has opened up a substantial gap.
Sodo, Bauer, Olsson, Perl, 2 frenchmen, Veerpalu, Cologna.
And Northug is chasing them down, heading a 10 man group including Alex.

A quick graphic shows Sodo still leading, with Northug 6 seconds back.
Time for the sketchy corner into the bridge of death. And Northug is right in that top group.
No death on the bridge this time, it is significantly less busy.
Man, Bauer isn't wearing a hat, and he has a mean receeding hairline. Better than Northug and Pettersens terrible Eurotrash haircuts though.

10km, ski exchange time.
Veerpalu and Perl are at the front, looking to swap skis first I guess.
Harvey and Babicov 13 and 14, 10 seconds back.
Devon 23, 23 seconds back.
Just in case you were wondering how the sprinters are doing, there is a massive pack of them sitting around high 30's, low 40's.
Modin, Newell, etc, about a minute back. Not that bad.

Top group is at 12, ending with Hellner. Alex and Ivan are 6 seconds back of him at the exchange.
A quick shot now shows both of those guys in contact, and the pace slowing considerably.
And by considerably, I mean they're skiing Zone 1. A graphic shows Angere's Heart Rate at 177. That's like low Zone 1 for him.
At this rate there will be 45 guys in the lead pack shortly.
Also, I will take this opportunity to point out that Kieran's Predictions are now going well.
Larsson and Joennson are nowhere to be seen, and Ivan is busy murdering everything in sight.

Northug has worked his way up into about 4th, behind Sodo, Cologna and SUndby I believe.
Lead group is massive, about 25 guys as they turn up the Morderbakken.

Sodo makes a push, gets around 4 or 5 guys, as the Bonus seconds come up.
Northug goes with him, as does a Gaillard.
Northug makes sure he gets in everyones way effectively
But Gaillaird hammers! Breaks a pole!
Gaillard manages to get across the line ahead of Northug, and Bauer. 15-10-5 seconds each. Sodo was close, but that doesn't get you any bonus seconds.
And grabs a pole, basically without missing a beat. Not bad, not bad.
Replay shows that Gaillard just didnt like that pole, and switched it after he outsprinted Northug for the 15 seconds.
A new graphic shows that Northug won the sprint seconds ahead of Gaillaird and Bauer. Jeez Eurosport, get it right.

The lads at the front are back in cruise mode, as Gaillard doesn't want to push the pace.
15km through the stadium, and its a shit show. Time check shows 30 guys in the group, which isn't that surprising.
Babs and Harvey in there, with Kersh 10 seconds behind them.
Heikkinen is in there too! You mean he's not going to DNF or end up in the 50's?? Good time to get back in shape for the second last race of the season.
Larsson is back! 4 seconds off the lead! Dammit!

Sodo has gone to the front yet again to turn the screws on the other guys.
Bauer is right with him, while Northug is buried back in 15th or so.

ANgerer now sitting in front of a dozen guys in the lead pack, with Northug hanging around the back.
As they turn up the hill, Hellner goes balls out, which noone really appreciates.
Only Di Centa looks really good with him.
200 M to the bonus seconds, and its Hellner, Di Centa and Angerer.
But Vittoz comes out of nowhere and rips into second!
17.8 km - Hellner, Vittoz, Di Centa get the bonus seconds
Behind them, the pack is strung out. Ivan in 13th, is 23 seconds back, while Harvey is now 37.

Hellner has decided that he's not going to wait, and is hammering hard still.
7 guys are with him, but it's not a walk in the park anymore.
Sodo, Bauer, Di Centa, Vittoz, Manificat, Cologna, and at the back, Northug. I think he's lurking.

Coming down the last hill into the stadium.
a 7 way sprint finish!
Northug hiding just behind Hellner is 4th, and here he comes! Right next to Angerer!
And then he just buries Angerer, as per usual.
10 guys finish in 15 seconds, and then between 30 seconds and 45 seconds, everybody and their mother crosses the line.
Still waiting for final standings after Northug...
Replay of the finish...
and its from an aircam about 100 meters away. That's useful.
And another, this time a head on view, only showing Northug. Again, Eurosport, what the hell!?
Just in case you were wondering, Hattestad was over 3 minutes back in 47th, just ahead of Modin.
Okay, another useless replay angle, I'm going to guess Angerer was second, but Bauer and Hellner is too diffcult to call.
It was Bayer, Hellner, Vittoz and then Perl.
Ivan 13th, Alex 23rd, Kershaw 38th.
Teichmann ended way back in the 40's somehow, he must really have had a stinky day.
Anyway, that's it for LiveBlog Pursuit racing,
and don't forget to donate to the worthy Kieran Jones Foundation for Almost Done Arts Students Who Love Watching World Cup Racing.

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