There are about three weeks left before the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Seefeld (AUT), so who’s hottest before the medals get handed out will be under scrutiny beginning this weekend in Ulricehamn (SWE), with individual Freestyle races for men and women and a team relay on Saturday and Sunday.
While Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo is leading the overall men’s World Cup by 1,034-910-710 over Alexander Bolshunov (RUS) and Sjur Roethe (NOR), he’s no sprinter. Bolshunov leads the distance classification with 378 points in a very tight race with Norwegians Martin Johnsrud Sundby (368), Roethe (349) and Didrik Toenseth (292).
Roethe, Evgeniy Belov (RUS) and Roethe have won the 15 km Freestyle races held so far this season.
The women’s World Cup situation is exactly the opposite. Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg leads the overall scoring with 1,197 points, ahead of Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva (1,021), Finland’s Krista Parmakoski (957) and Norway’s amazing comeback story, Therese Johaug (700). Most of their points have come in distance races.
Johaug has won six races: two 10 km Classicals, two 10 km Freestyles, a 15 km Freestyle and a 10 km Classical Pursuit. She skipped the Tour de Ski and Naepyraeva – the new find of the season – won the 10 km Free there, while Oestberg won the four distance races.
Johaug and her team have specific goals for the season and it’s not clear if she will race this weekend. There is only one other distance race remaining before the Worlds – a 10 km Classical just two days before the Worlds start – so this may be her last chance to race and then get some recovery and training time.
The women’s 10 km race will be shown on NBC’s Olympic Channel on Saturday at 8 a.m. Eastern time and the women’s relay will be shown delayed on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Look for results here.