Splash Images For Torrents/Goodbye

December 8, 2011 1 comment

Hey Gang,

Unfortunately, it’s that time of the year where I say goodbye. I’m off on another round of traveling and I’m publishung this post from an uncomfortably hot internet café in downtown Bangkok. I alluded to it last year when I stepped away from the blog for the first time and said if I’m not in Canada and able to sit down at a computer with a good internet connection, then it’s simply too much work and rather stressful to try to download/stream the races and get posts out in a timely fashion.

Above, I’ve created a splash images to redirect you to the respective ski and biathlon torrent pages since those will stay active thanks to JunglyBoy’s tireless capping efforts, which think it’s safe to say has been one of the biggest contributions to the North American armchair ski fan community since he began a couple of years ago! So massive thank-you to him! I will try to keep those organized as much as possible whenever I get internet access. I’ll also be posting on the Twitter account sporadically as well as continuing to play WhoWins. So I’ll still be here, just more in spirit rather than body.

I’m not sure when I return home, but when I do you can expect the race reports and musings start-up again when I do. So far this year, it’s been the most successful year for the blog with new daily hits and traffic records including the first 750+ page hit day during the opening weekend of races, so I truly thank you for that and I’m glad some of you are taking an interest in what I write and think about one of the greatest sports on Earth. I hope all of you continue to enjoy the rest of season and I bet the Tour de Ski is going to be the best ones to date!

Til Next Time…

Categories: Uncategorized

Dusseldorf Team Sprints: Wins for Norway and Sweden

December 4, 2011 1 comment

Judging by the highlights of the semi-finals, saying the heats were chaotic was an understatement. The women’s teams had to go around the tracks six times in total, or three times each, while the men went twice that distance.


With 10 teams in the final it was bound to be a frantic and messy affair much like the semi-finals and sure enough, within the first 100 meters the first athlete fell as Sweden II’s Somskar as her tip was skied over by American Bjornson. Mia Eriksson of Sweden I led the pack round the loop into the exchange as Sweden I, Norway I and Switzerland had a slight gap on the others. The pace being set by Sweden I was hurting the athletes early on and the field was already spreading out. Like Eriksson, Brodin of Sweden I led the pack for the second lap.

At the second exchange, there was a three-second gap between the top seven and Sweden II, Germany I and USA. Sweden I continued to stave off the other athletes as the battles for second and third were tight and very competitive behind the Swede.

There was another crash, but this time it was the exchangers that crash between Russia and Norway II, but the good news was that they had already tagged off to their partners.

Again Sweden I led the charge for the fourth loop and once again coming into the exchange their was carnage as Norway I’s Eide stabbed her teammates binding which cause her to fall and caused a ripple effect.

On the fifth lap, Sweden finally relinquished the lead to Finland I’s Kylloenen as the Fin led the charge into the final exchange.

On the final lap, Sarasoja-Lilja led the charge and going over the bump, her ski pole was stepped on by Matveeva which opened the door for Falla to take the lead and Falla didn’t look back. The fight for second became intense and it was eight teams fighting for the final two podiums, but it was Randall’s quality showing through as she was the best for the dash for the finish with Russia in third.


1. Norway I (Eide, Falla)

2. USA (Bjornson, Randall)

3. Russia (Korosteleva, Matveeva)


It was a very casual start with Strandvall of Finland I taking the lead and slowed the pace down so the athletes were two abreast going around the first lap. Coming through the lap it was Golberg who took the lead for Norway I and continued to lead to the first exchange and handed off to Hattestad.

The second run was again very pedestrian with no real pace to the race as Hattestad led for the first 1.5 laps then Peterson  of Sweden I took over before the second exchange and exchanged to Modin. Amazingly, the pace got even slower as the big Swede controlled the pace and nobody seemed to mind the slower pace. In the lap, it was Golberg to take the lead and inject a little bit of speed into the race.

With half the race gone, it was a very boring sprint with the pace extremely slow and no crashes and it continued to be the case for the fourth lap.

The pace finally picked up as the first leg skiers went out for their final lap as the race was led by Sweden I and Sweden II. Coming through the lap, Modin took the lead as Golberg hunted him closely and overtook him on the back straight as the Norwegian and Swede pulled away from the other athletes. Coming into the tight right-hander, Golberg and Modin had a 15 meter gap on the other athletes.

At the exchange, Golberg and Modin were side-by-side as they tagged off to Hattestad and Peterson. Hattestad took the lead and decided to slow the pace down which meant all the teams were able to recoil back into a 10 man pack. Petukhov came through the crowd and took the lead on the back straight and coming through the lap, Petukhov, Hattestad and Peterson were three wide trying to gain the lead but it was the Russian to take the lead. Petukhov made his move early and as soon as they left the finish area, he increased the pace and only Peterson was able to maintain contact as Hattestad and Pentsinen were in a fight for third.  In the home straight, Petukhov and Peterson were side by side and Petukhov’s technique began to fail him while Peterson remained strong and Sweden took the win as Hattestad was able to hold off Pentsinen for third.


1. Sweden I (Modin & Peterson)

2. Russia (Kriukov & Petukhov)

3. Norway (Golberg & Hattestad)


It’s amazing how one course can produce to very different races. In the women’s it was one of the most exciting races I’ve seen this year. It was a dog-fight from line to line with no one giving an inch. With 2nd to 9th place separated by 1.8 seconds, it was anyone’s race right to the finish line. On the other hand, the men’s race was a completely snoozefest until the final lap when Petukhov made his moved and ripped the field a new one. Unfortunately, it was a move we’re seen Petukhov make before and like before, Petukhov ran out of gas just before the finish which opened the door for Peterson to come through and take the win. Petukhov’s tactics are admirable and almost the opposite of Northug’s. Perhaps the Russian will find the fine line where he will be able to make his attack in a sprint but keep the pace right until the finish instead of dying just short and losing positions.

Perhaps for next year, the race committee should seriously think about dropping the men’s sprint relay down to only one lap like the women. The pro’s and con’s are pretty straight forward; drop it to one lap and you instantly have a much more exciting race. It also means better snow conditions since the men will be skiing half the distance. It’s a win-win in my eyes.

As for Peterson, this guy seems like the real deal. There must be such a good feeling for the Swedish sprinters right now with Jonsson, Peterson and Modin all on top of their game and Ingemarsdotter, Brodin, Falk and Kalla all medal threats for the women.

Once again, we saw a glimpse of Randall’s quality USA were off the pace by as much as five seconds at points of the final but managed to claw it all back and win. I believe Randall sat in 9th at the start of the final lap and moved up to the silver medal position. Quite impressive considering how tough all the skiers were today and how tight the course is.

Staying with the women, I was really happy to Norway I with Eide and Falla. It just goes to show that even with their big guns not racing, Norway have the quality to win with their “secondary” skiers. I really haven’t heard much about Eide before this year and according to her rap sheet she’s still very raw with only five World Cup starts. She had a decent U23 last year finishing 6th, but looks to be one of those fringe skiers constantly fighting to keep their spot on the Norwegian World Cup team.

I’ll be back in a few days with some news about the site for the rest of the year.

Categories: Düsseldorf

Dusseldorf Sprints: Hattestad and Randall On Top

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

There were thrills and there were spills, it was rainy and with 4000m3 of artificial snow trucked in, it was another round of Düsseldorf sprints. Action picked up with the men’s quarter final, so unfortunately, I can’t comment on any of the women’s quarter-final heats…


HEAT 2: (Tomas) Northug, Eisenlauer, Newell, Petukhov, Gløersen, Huen

Newell was the fastest out of the gates, but it was Huen to take the righter-hander first. Gløersen took a fall as he got caught tangled in poles as Petukhov took the lead. The carnage continued as Newell snapped a pole, but luckily for Gløersen and Newell Petukhov didn’t look behind him and slowed the pace so Newell was able to remain in the heat and Gløersen was able to ski into the back of the pack. Coming through the lap, Newell did well to re-assert himself I the heat and moved from 5th to 2nd place and slotted in behind Petukhov. Coming into the finish, Northug moved alongside Newell and both were side-by-side and at the line and Northug lunged enough to beat Newell by a toe.

HEAT 3; Bogdanov, Pellegrino, Peterson, Kriukov, Kershaw, Bryntesson

It was the Swede’s who tactically took the front as they were two wide going around the first corner before Peterson took the lead ahead. The tactics were full on and the pace was a crawl as the athletes went through the back-end. Kershaw tried to move up from the back but was blocked by Bryntesson and as the athletes came through the lap, the pace picked up immediately as the Swede’s tried to maintain their two-man lead, but Bryntesson was overtaken by Bogdanov and Kriukov. Peterson continued to lead and at the finish did enough. On the home stretch, Kershaw free-skated desperately and took the long road and lunged for the line with Pellegrino and Kriukov, but the Italian did enough to take the second qualifying spot.

HEAT 4: Devjatiarov, Dahl, Lindblad, Kjølstad, Jaeger, Tambornino

Devjiatarov led the race and once again the pace was quite slow on the first lap as the atheltes skied leisurely in single file. Coming through the lap, Tambornino went by the Russian to take the lead. Tambornino’s increase in the pace stretched the heat and the Swiss man did well to stay out of the congestion and his teammate Jaeger was able to beat Kjølstad and Devjiatarov to earn the second qualifying spot.

Qualifying: Tambornino & Jaeger

HEAT 5: Tscharnke, Wenzl, Kindschi, Jylhae, Pentsinen, Darragon

Kindschi took the lead early on, but it was Pentsinen to take the lead at the back part of the course and Pentsinen pushed the right to the finish and took the heat win while Kindschi did very well to hold of Jylhae to qualify second. Unfortunately, for Darragon, the ice track got the better of him and he lost an edge and slid across the finish in last place.

Qualifiers: Pentsinen and Kindschi


HEAT 1: Sarasoja-Lilja, Randall, Brodin, Crawford, Eriksson, Eide

Broding had a very powerful start and took the lead as Crawford and Randall bumped in behind the Swede. Brodin continued to hammer, but was met up front with Randall and the American took the lead over the little bump on the back straight. All the athletes made it clean through the difficult right hander and on the home stretch Randall and Brodin pulled away to qualify by right while Crawford was third and would have to see if she was fast enough to grab a lucky loser spot.

Qualify: Brodin, Randall

HEAT 2: Østberg, Kolb, Falla, Ostenberg, Matveeva, Malvaleto

Right off the start, Kolb caught a ski tip or pole and went head over heels. Matveeva took the lead from the start and led the head all the way to the home stretch when van der Graaf slung+shot herself from behind Matveeva to take the heat win while Malvalehto and Falla had a photo finish for third.

Qualify: van der Graaf, Matveeva

Lucky Losers: Crawford, Sarasoja-Lilja


HEAT 1: Northug, Brandsdal, Pellegrino, Petukhov, Golberg, Hattestad

It was the fastest qualifier Golberg who was the first to lead the heat with Pellegrino in right behind. That athletes remained single file until the lap when Hattestad and Petukhov moved out and looked to move up the pack and both did successfully. Hatetstad move into the lead and Petukhov moved to third before the track got skinnier again. Petukhov was having a good ski and passed Golberg to move into second on the back stretch. On the home straight, Hattestad was out in front while Petukhov and Golberg lunged for the finish.

Qualify: Golberg, Pellegrino

HEAT 2: Strandvall, Kindschi, Peterson, Pentsinen, Jaeger, Tambornino

Right from the start Jaeger tripped on his pole and ate snow and broke his pole in the process. In the front, Pentsinen was the skier to lead with Peterson right on his tails. Like his quarter-final, Pentsinen didn’t relinquish his lead going through the lap and the other athletes were stuck behind him. Going over the hump on the back straight, Peterson was able to go past the Finn. However, on the home stretch, both Pentsinen and Strandvall went wide and all three were in a photo finish with Pentsinen taking the win and Peterson doing enough to deny Strandvall a trip to the finals.

Qualify: Pentsinen, Peterson

LL: Golberg, Pellegrino


Brodin, Falk, Crawford, Randall, Sarasoja-Lilja, van der Graaf, Matveeva

The start was no the cleanest of the day with the athletes all going full-bore and lots of bumping and elbows. Going around the first corner, the pushing and bumping continued and van der Graaf almost fell after being squeezed on the inside by Crawford but recovered well to stay on her feet. Sarasoja-Lilja lost balanced after Brodin’s ski tip hit her boot and went to ground on that same corner and was out of the race. On the back straight, the frantic nature continued as Matveeva lead as Crawford and Randall fought side-by-side for second place. Going over the bump, Randall tried to overtake the Russian but was pushed back to second. Coming into the finish, Randall free-skated right by the Russian to take the win while van der Graaf was able to beat Crawford in the final meters to take the bronze medal.


1. Kikkan Randall
2. Natalia Matveeva
3. Laurien van der Graaf


Golberg, Peterson, Petukhov, Pellegrino, Pentsinen, Hattestad

Peterson and Hattestad led the athletes into the first corner, but Petukhov came the long way around to take the lead going into the back-straight. Once Petukhov got the lead and went over the bump, he slowed it down slightly. The slowdown was lucky for Peterson as he broke a pole but was able to keep contact with the others and get a new pole rather quickly. No one was able to pass Petukhov coming through the lap as Petukhov increased the pace. The positions stayed the same until the home stretch when Petukhov, Hattestad and Golberg were three wide and Petukhov just ran out of steam and Hattestad was able to Russian, but Golberg was reserved for third after a lunge at the line with Petukhov.


1. Ola Vigen Hattestad
2. Alexei Petukhov
3. Pål Golberg


Today was one of the greatest sprint days for Switzerland. Even without Dario Cologna, they had three men in the semi-finals and then van der Graaf who won Switzerland’s first ever female sprint medal. Before today van der Graaf had only qualified for the top 30 three times in 13 tries. Truly a great result and one that will give her and the rest of the team a boat load of confidence for the rest of the season.

That’s has got to be the scrappiest women’s final I’ve ever watched, I couldn’t believe how much pushing and shoving there was, but it made for a great race, just showed that no one was willing to step down. It was unfortunate for Sarasoja-Lilja who was the fastest qualifier to fall in the final. Her 6th place today tied her personal best which was a 6th place from 2009 in Lahti. I’ve never thought of her as a sprinter before, but it seems like she has the chops for it now.

Crawford was so close to the medals and I think she would’ve had it over van der Graaf if she hadn’t lost balance in the last 20 meters and went back on her heels which meant she couldn’t pole right to the line. Regradless, it’s great to see the former Olympic sprint champ back in good form and while this type of course profile is perfect for her, hopefully we’ll see more of her as the season progresses.

As for Randall, it was really no doubt for anyone that the American would take the victory if she stayed on her feet and she did exactly that.

For the men, it was another day where we saw perhaps the new sprint stars of the sport take the stage. Pentsinen and Peterson showed that Kuusamo weren’t freak results and were once again in the finals. I’m becoming a fan of Pentsinen. While his tactics may not be the smartest in the sense that he goes hard from the gun and tries to control his heat, it’s certainly admirable and much more exciting to witness that type of race rather than the heats where athletes slow the pace and toy with the other athletes.

It was another strong day for the Norwegian men who had two men on the podium. This is the second race in a row in which Golberg has medalled. His last sprint race was last year in Lahti where he placed third too. With results like that, it should be more than enough reason to get his name on the sprint team for regular World Cup appearances. It was good to see Hattestad in top form too. I thought his 20th place last weekend was sub-par for an athlete of his calibre, but in the post-race interview he said that his form’s been great this season. Regardless, I’m glad to see the big man back on top.

Some odds and ends:

  • Kershaw’s new FIS pic is pretty nasty. That fu manchu is pretty damn riciulous.
  • How big were Kindschi’s poles today, must have been just as tall as him. When he went to pole his hands were probably a foot above his head.

For you European readers, I’ll be back Monday morning with the team sprint wrap and for North Americans, it might be out before you go to bed on Sunday, but I’m making no promises.

Til Next Time.