Originally Posted by python
First race - first impressions…no bearing on the remaining 6 stages.
no surprise at all:
northug, randall, kowalczyk, kalla, hellner, legkov, harvey...
these performed as expected at a customary high level
cologna (outside podium), vylegzhanin (he normally does not feature this high in shorter races), joensson (i thought he was capable of a higher position yesterday), johaug (the 13th is OK but the 17 seconds back of randall feels a bit too much since she was reported to improve her sprints…)
today i think justyna will quickly catch randall and stomp the field…
northug told nrk that he wont insist on fighting it alone all the way in todays pursuit and would rather carve a good position for a final acceleration. i think the russians have the goods and will try some team tactic to thwart his plans…
I think it's an improvement for Johaug compared to last year. She was very happy with her position.
What Justyna will do only Justyna knows. I'm hoping they go slow so Weng can catch up.
But knowing Justyna she will go hard all the way. I think Johaug will catch up to Justyna probably followed by Kristoffersen and Steira. I see Justyna winning with Johaug closely following if it is the usual go hard all the way womens race. The group behind will contain the Norwegians, Randall and hopefully Kalla if she gets the skis right. Kalla is very vulnerable to less than perfect skis in classic.
As for the mens race. The prologue is a strange race. It's difficult to get the pace right. And knowing the times of your competitors is a huge benefit. Northug used this for all it was worth yesterday. As for Emil, he could probably have skied faster, but didn't want to pay the price today.
As for tactics today, I think you are right regarding the Russians. I think Vylegzhanin is the one to watch. He is very good at maneuvering in the field in classic style.
But this race will come together. There is a very strong group of classics skiers coming from behind.
I'm looking forward to seeing Olsson and Richardsson, if they are in shape and their skis are good they have the capacity to break the field. Hellner like Kalla is vulnerable in classic, if he can avoid loosing too much time he should be happy.
Angerer and Teichmann might also show something. It's their home soil, and their forms seems to be better than previous seasons.
Northug and Cologna will be watching each other and are also contenders. I expect them to place highly.