I am suspecting that this year it will NOT be exciting for the win in TdS.vcampbell said:About the sprint of yesterday; in the top 12 only Northug and Cologna skied the 30 km, and don't forget, that in the final there were many of the best sprinters. Petukhov, Joensson... That was just impossible for Northug to beat them. Kershaw also very fast, so I think the 5th place was more than enough for Northug.
And we can say that he is one of the most fastest skier in the world (in long distance sure), but after he starts in all distance there is nothing surprising that the pure sprinters beat him, because where do they start? Only in sprints, and sometimes they do the mini Tours. Until he beat in sprints people like Cologna, Hellner, Legkov, Bauer he has nothing to worried about.
But really, I just can't wait for the Tour de Ski, I think it could be very exciting, especially if Cologna, Bauer, Magnificat, Clara, Legkov and Vylegzhanin will be in a good form too.
Northug will take the sprints more seriously, and his aeroboc work is at a new level. We saw it in the season opener relay. He had loads of reserve, stretching his back, at what for the others was real racing.
I think both Northug and Cologna did the sprint not because they felt they could win, but in hopes to score WC points. And when you get through qualifying, why stop there? Might as well try. The world cup win is a big trophy in a non-world, non-Olympic year. It's that, the TdS, and the rest is training.
If Northug would be lazy in the qualiy, there'd be risk that home favorite Cologna would be inspired to get to the final for mega points. Sprinting may be hard, but it's just an extra day or two of recovery, in return for very expensive WC points. At their end of the ranking, those points bear more than just sentimental value.
On a seperate not. I was wondering whether XC skier might perhaps downplay their bodyweights, much as LA has been recorded to. To not raise too many questions about their power output or capacity to get through long climbs. Those guys are so buff...