An Unusual 15km Freestyle

Yesterday’s men’s 15km freestyle interval start race featured one of the most split fields we’ve seen in that event in a long time. The top three, Northug, Olsson and Gjerdalen had modest gaps between them, but then there was just over 30 seconds back to 4th place.

How big was this gap between the podium and 4th? It was the biggest in history (post-1992):

podium_gap

These are the gaps in median percent back between 3rd and 4th in every men’s 10/15km interval start WC, WSC, OWG or TdS race since 1992. I’ve separated the classic/freestyle races, as well as the WSC/OWG (Championships) and regular World Cups. Yesterday’s race was a bit of an outlier, as you can see.

However, it was only this past November that Johnsrud Sundby, Poltaranin and Hellner gapped the field in Sweden by around 20 seconds. Next is a classic 15km all the way back in 1996 (a regular World Cup). That was in February of 1996, in Russia, where Prokourorov, Smirnov and Daehlie (in that order) gapped the field by almost 31 seconds. That’s a larger raw interval, but as a classic race it was generally a lot slower, so the gap was smaller as a percentage of the total time.

Race Snapshot: WSC Men 15km Freestyle

Nice races from Ivan Babikov and Noah Hoffman:

wsc_men_free

Race Snapshot: WSC 10k Freestyle

Just the women’s race today, men tomorrow:

wsc_wom_free

WSC 30/50km Mass Start Seeding

Just as with the previous seeding tables I’ve produced, here’s one for the upcoming WSC mass start. Again, this ignores issues of who might actually start the race (e.g. Astrid Jacobsen makes my list here) and some folks who may only have done a small number of races will be excluded.

MenWomen
NORTHUG PetterBJOERGEN Marit
BAUER LukasKOWALCZYK Justyna
COLOGNA DarioJOHAUG Therese
ANGERER TobiasSTEIRA Kristin Stoermer
VYLEGZHANIN MaximISHIDA Masako
OLSSON JohanWENG Heidi
SOEDERGREN AndersFESSEL Nicole
ROENNING EldarKALLA Charlotte
RICKARDSSON DanielHAAG Anna
ELIASSEN PetterKRISTOFFERSEN Marthe
CHERNOUSOV IliaSAARINEN Aino-Kaisa
JOHNSRUD SUNDBY MartinJACOBSEN Astrid
KERSHAW DevonKYLLOENEN Anne
DI CENTA GiorgioROPONEN Riitta-Liisa
LEGKOV AlexanderIVANOVA Julia
GLAVATSKIKH KonstantinDE MARTIN TOPRANIN Virginia
HELLNER MarcusZELLER Katrin
JAKS MartinAHERVO Laura
DOTZLER HannesRANDALL Kikkan
TSCHARNKE TimROTCHEVA Olga
FILBRICH JensBOEHLER Stefanie
HARVEY AlexLAHTEENMAKI Krista
GAILLARD Jean MarcMEDVEDEVA Polina
KROGH Finn HaagenIKSANOVA Alija
ERIKSSON JensSARASOJA-LILJA Riikka
DYRHAUG NiklasSTEPHEN Elizabeth
BESSMERTNYKH AlexanderNOVIKOVA Valentina
RENNEMO KristianJEAN Aurore
DOLIDOVICH SergeiAGREITER Debora
BABIKOV IvanLINDBORG Sara

To give you a sense of the model’s actual relative predictions, here’s a simple dotplot with the output for the top 30 seeds. I’ve omitted the units on the x axis, since they are essentially meaningless.

wsc_mass_seed

 

So, what I mean by “ignore the units on the x axis” is simply to just qualitatively read the gaps between the skiers. So the model thinks that Northug and Bauer are somewhat more strongly favored that everyone else, and then things decay relatively evenly after that. On the other hand, the model doesn’t think that Bjoergen is a slam dunk, which I think is sort of questionable. Part of the issue here may be the simple paucity of data on long mass start classic races. It’s just not an event that’s done that frequently anymore. But generally, the model likes Marit, Kowalcayk and Johaug more than anyone else (and in that order), which means that the model is at least passing the most basic sanity check.

I suspect that Liz Stephen is being penalized somewhat for the difference between her skating and classic results, and Kikkan is being penalized somewhat for the difference between her results in shorter versus longer events. Kris Freeman and Noah Hoffman weren’t terribly close to the top 30 here, as the model put them in 40th and 41st respectively, just in front of Andrew Newell, actually, in 46th.

Race Snapshot: WSC 15/30km Pursuit

Men’s race:

wsc_pur_men

Women’s race:

wsc_pur_wom

Race Snapshot: WSC Classic Sprint

Men’s race:

wsc_men_spr

Women’s race:

wsc_wom_spr

 

Status Update

Posting this week will be limited to race snapshots for WSC races, as I’m once again (and hopefully, for the last time) between homes.

Next Page »