Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch today’s race due to an insanely busy schedule on this end, so here’s what I gathered from scanning the results from today’s race…
Today could be a real insight into the rest of the World Cup season. We witnessed Northug win his first individual start World Cup race which was the only title missing from his resume. Now that Northug has done this, critics can no longer make the point that he only gets it done in the mass starts. This also means that the Norwegian no longer has any holes in his game. The win was a substantial margin too as he was 23.8 seconds ahead of Clara. With this current form, I think it can be safe to start comparing Bjørgen’s domination in the women’s field to that of Northug’s in the men’s field. It’s a great time to be a Norwegian ski fan.
1. Petter Northug
2. Roland Clara
3. Maurice Manificat
Going into tomorrow’s race, only Cologna has a realistic chance of catching him as the Swiss man starts 12 seconds behind. After Cologna is Legkov a further 30 seconds back. I believe the real battles to watch tomorrow will be Cologna trying to catch Northug or Legkov trying to hold off the likes of Clara, Manificat, Olsson and Hellner who start 6-12 seconds behind the Russian.
On today’s race, I’m really happy to see Clara skiing as well as he is since his decorated Italian teammates like di Centa and Piller-Cottrer are having awful starts to the season. Piller-Cottrer was 70th today and for someone of his quality, it’s a little worrying. I have to also mention Hofer, who like Clara is having a phenomenal start to the season.
Other highlights on the day was Jespersen in 5th and is making a strong case to be on the team for future World Cups and Babikov who was 16th and had one of his best races in recent memory that isn’t the final leg of the Tour de Ski up the Alpe Cermis.
Again, sorry about the extremely short review, but this is all I could get out before the races tomorrow.