Home > Petter Northug, Roland Clara > Kuusamo Men’s 10km: The Completion of Northug

Kuusamo Men’s 10km: The Completion of Northug

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.

RESULTS

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.

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  1. Sandrine
    November 27, 2011 at 2:49 am

    PS: As for today’s race, well, based on Northug’s post-race interview yesterday, he will most likely let Cologna get back to him. Maybe he’s hoping that they can work together to keep the rest of the guys at bay, although he did also say that he believes the race would end with a large group fighting for the victory on the line, so we’ll see.

    Also, he’s made it a point to downplay the expectations of the norwegian press by adding that he had trained very little in classic and has basically no idea how he will perform during that race, and not to expect too much (I think the expression he used was “I am no superman”). Now, whether that’s a big fib or not, well, the race will tell us soon enough

    • November 28, 2011 at 1:06 am

      Well Northug proved he’s a great strategist because letting Cologna catch him was probably the best move he made all day, other than beating him that is. I like that he said “I am no Superman” too, probably the most humbling thing we’ll hear him say this year. :)

  2. Sandrine
    November 27, 2011 at 12:25 am

    It was a very interesting race, and not just for the result, it was the way these results were acquired that was, at times, quite impressive.

    Actually, it isn’t Northug’s first win in an individual race: that dates back to november 2009 in….Kuusamo, but was in classic (which in a way makes it even more surprising). And if I am not mistaking, I think that means he’s now won every type of race that exists at senior level (sprint skate and classic, individual start skate and classic, mass skate and classic, and pursuit). Not too shabby for someone who is considered by many as only knowing one way of winning his races :D

    As for that particular race, what really surprised me was the way he attacked it. In the sprint, he essentially got out in the quarter-finals because he was too passive and didn’t position himself well for his trademark last hundred-meters rush. I wasn’t sure if he was being conservative or if he was tired, but I wasn’t particularily confident ahead of the 10 km.

    Well, there is a reason why I don’t participe to any betting game around the races’ results, and that’s because I am cr*p at it :p He looked great from the start as he attacked it as soon as he was out of the gate. He did pace it a little in the first 3 km afterwards (well, that’s what he said in interviews, he still looked very fast at the 3.1 km point to me o_0) but his destruction job really started around halfway: there are two points, at 6.4 km and in the last uphill before the stadium, where he looked as if he was doing a sprint, making everybody else look as if they were in their morning footing (or skiing, as the case may be :p)

    The only other skier who gave a similarily convincing visual impression was Roland Clara who really seems to have “got it” in this early 2011-2012 season. It’s great for the Italian team that he steps in just as it seems that Piller-Cottrer and Di Centa seem out of form during the beginning of this season (well, if I remember correctly, Piller-Cottrer was injured this summer, so this might explain that), although I guess there were already very good things from him last season

    It was also good to see Manificat confirm his result of Bruksvallarna this time: I followed the race on French Eurosport and they said during the post-race studio analysis that his success in Bruksvallarna actually resulted in too much pression and expectation to perform ahead of Sjusjøen. I guess time will tell, but at least that’s really good news for the French team as they are managing to keep up the results despite Vincent Vittoz’ and Emmanuel Jonnier’s ending their carrier (btw, Emmanuel Jonnier is now commenting the races on Eurosport France – it’s very interesting to have his insight, especially as he knows all the skiers who are in the WC right now)

    Cologna did a good race. Again, he lost time on the leader in the second half (he had the best time at the 3.1 km): I’ve read some saying it’s worrying because that’s the same trend as in Sjusjøen, but I think in this particular case, it has all to do with Northug doing an amazing second loop rather than with Cologna weakening as they all took a beating from Northug in the last 5 km who kept accelerating throughout

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