More strong early season performances from some Americans in Norway this weekend. How strong? Let’s take a look.
First up is Sadie Bjornsen who had a very strong 5th in the 10k classic.
Values above zero are good. The grey shaded region and red trend line represent how she has performed against these specific skiers in the past. She had already made a big jump last season, and this race was very strong even compared to that. Next up Noah Hoffman:
This is the better of his two races, the 15k freestyle. This result was considerably better than he normally does against this crowd compared to last season. His classic race (graph omitted) was somewhat worse that usual, but not dramatically so. Lastly, Liz Stephen had a strong result in the 10k freestyle:
She’s been on an upward trend for several seasons now, and this would suggest that might continue.
This first batch of races for 2013-2014 are in from Muonio, Finland. As always, it’s difficult to read much into a single race, particularly early season races like these. You never quite know who’s still in the midst of a big training block and how seriously people are approaching them.
Still, I thought it was interesting that Russian Petr Sedov won the last race of the weekend, the 15km freestyle. He’s still fairly young, and after a promising introduction to the World Cup he kind of slipped back a little last year, I think:
He had a handful of strong races last year, but was much less consistent in general. If we look at this Muonio 15km race in particular, we can get a better sense of the quality of his race by comparing how he did to each of the top 30 skiers at the Muonio race to how Sedov has fairly against those specific people in the past:
Values greater than zero are better for Sedov in this graph. The blue dots are the differences in percent back between Sedov and the other skiers at Muonio (he won, so they are all above zero). The shaded region with the red trend line summarizes how he’s fairly against this specific group of skiers in the past.
As you can see, he generally dominated them, and then last season struggled considerably, losing to this group almost as much as he beat them. If this is a sign of things to come, we could see more of the Petr Sedov from two years ago, or perhaps an improved version.