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Cross country: Mens 15 km Classic vs. Alexey Chervotkin to win


Posted by mightye (2021-11-13 19:51 CET)

Friday 11.02.2022 - Mens 15 km Individual (Classic):

Winter Olympics Beijing 2022 - Cross-Country Skiing

Zhangjiakou Zone - National Cross-Country Skiing Centre

Event start: 08:00 CET (15:00 Local time)

Alexander Bolshunov (Russia) will be the main favorite at Skiathlon (15 km Classic + 15 km Free), 15 km Classic and the 50 km Free Mass Start, and the strong Russia will also have chances for medals at the Sprint, Team Sprint and Mens Relay for Russia.
The altitude the athletes will compete on in the Zhangjiakou area, is likely to demand more time for restitution of the athletes, in order to perform at their highest level.
Both Alexander Bolshunov and Johannes Hosflot Klabo are main favorites to win the Skiathlon and Sprint events, and the key Mens Relay are two days after this 15 km Classic. Klabo has openly told media hes considering skipping some of the events, and this 15 km Classic could be a smart distance to skip, in order to be at his best at his biggest gold chances, Skiathlon, Sprint, Mens Relay, Team Sprint. Unfortunatly for Klabo, this means saving energy during a distance he could do very well in, as 15 km Classic suits him well at his best.

Bolshunov doesnt skip events often, but he will have burned a lot of energy at the Skiathlon and Sprint events, and he will of coarse be at his best for Russia in the Mens Relay, Sunday the 13th. I have a feeling Bolshunov may not be at 100% for this 15 km Classic.

The first name that crossed my mind when analysing the 15 km Classic in the Olympic Games in Beijing 2022, was Iivo Niskanen.
The Finnish Classic specialist won the 15 km Classic at home in the World Championships in Lahti 2017, and he won the 50 km Classic Mass Start in the Olympic Games in PyeongChang 2018. He also claimed the Bronze in the World Championships in Seefeld 2019 at the 15 km Classic.
Niskanen often starts in Skiathlon events as well, but he could also gamble to skip it, as his chances for Gold in the Classic event would most likely increase, compared to the other favorites competing in both the Skiathlon and the Sprint in front of this race.
He will have the advantage of the rest while his main opponents will participate in the Sprint event 3 days before though, and at odds 4, Niskanen will be my main pick here.

Norway have many skiiers fighting for few spot at this distance, Emil Iversen, Simen Hegstad Kruger, Pal Golberg, Sjur Rothe, Hans Chr Holund, Erik Valnes..and the list goes on. Several of these are medal candidates on a good day, and possible gold medalists on a perfect day, if they manage to get one of the few starting positions in the first place.

Russias strongest Classic skiier ha been Alexander Bolshunov the latest years, but Alexey Chervotkin is not that far behind in top form.
Chervotkin ended 2nd at the 15 km Classic in Ruka `20, 15 sec behind Klabo and 3 sec ahead of Bolshunov.
He also ended 3rd at the 15 km Classic Mass Start in Val di Fiemme during Tour De Ski 2021, 3 sec after Bolshunov (with no Norwegians participating).
At the World Championships in Oberstdorf 2021, Chervotkin outclassed all competitors for Russia at the 1st leg (10 km Classic) of the Mens Relay, and had a 0:44 min gap on Finland, and 0:56 min lead on Pal Golberg and the big favorites Norway.
If Klabo skips this distance, and Bolshunov either skips, or will be a bit reduced after two tough events ahead of this race, Chervotkin is one of many outsiders capable of claiming a medal at the 15 km Classic.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Update 13. November 2021:

As a follow up to the pick above, I will add some more units to both Niskanen (to win) and Chervotkin (to end top 3, and claim a medal) stakes for the 15 km Classic.
Both skiiers met at the 15 km Classic in Muonio, Finland today, and Niskanen won closely, 5 sec in front of Chervotkin.
No Bolshunov in the field, and also most Norwegians and Swedish skiiers did not perform here, but both skiiers showed promising signs now 3 months in front of their big goal, and with some good planning and no major injuries, these two should have good chances at this distance at their best.

Pick: Iivo Niskanen (Finland) to win, 2/10 stakes, odds 4@Expekt.
Pick: Alexey Chervotkin (Russia) to win, 2/10 stakes, odds 61@Expekt.
Pick: Alexey Chervotkin (Russia) to end top 3, 6/10 stakes, odds 11@Expekt.


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