Here we go!
With an hour delay, we can actually start now! The starting shot has been fired and the 61 athletes are on their way. At the beginning it is important not to fall and to get a good position in the large group.
At the end of the day, the cross-country skiers faced another challenging route profile. The cross-country network is 1,700 meters above sea level and thus higher than all routes in Europe. In addition, the route is very windy and the snow is unusual and slow. The change in program means there will be four runs over a 7.1 km loop. The temperatures are around minus 15 degrees and there is also the wind.
The four Swiss
The same applies to the Swiss. Dario Cologna is not in the form he can attack this year and the other Swiss cross-country skiers have not been good for top results either. In addition to Cologna, Roman Furger, Jason Rüesch and Candide Pralong are scheduled to contest today’s race.
The German starters
A medal would be a huge surprise for the German cross-country team. But if the race is slow and the group stays together for a long time, then perhaps the German starters could also get involved today. Friedrich Moch, Lucas Bögl, Jonas Dobler and Florian Notz were nominated for the last Olympic race.
Not everyone happy with the decision
Of course, not everyone is happy with the decision to shorten the race. After all, the 50s is considered the race in cross-country skiing, especially in the Nordic countries. British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave expressed his displeasure on Twitter. “The FIS just shortened the 50km to 28km because it’s a bit cold and windy. I don’t see how that makes it warmer or less cold. What a damn joke,” said Musgrave. Thomas Maloney Westgård, who has competed for Ireland since 2016, also agreed via the social network. It is also clear that the balance of power will shift due to the shorter distance. Bolshunov’s dominance is shrinking while Klæbo’s chances are likely to increase.
For the first time less than 50 kilometers
Due to the shortening, there is a novelty for cross-country skiers today. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, the final race will not be held over the full 50 kilometers. The distance has been run since the first Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.
It starts later!
Today we have to wait a little longer for the competition. Due to the freezing cold and strong winds, the men’s cross-country decision will not start until 8:00 a.m. The distance is also changing: instead of 50 kilometers, only 30 kilometers are run!
Bolshunov the favorite
Alexander Bolshunov from the Russian Olympic Committee team takes on the race as one of the big favourites. The long distance suits Bolshunov and the cross-country course of the Beijing Games is perfect for the strong athlete. The 2021 Tour de Ski winner took silver in the 50-kilometer race in Pyeongchang 2018 in classic technique and silver at the 2021 World Championships (also classic) behind Norway’s Emil Iversen and ahead of Simen Hegstad Krüger. Krüger is one of the favorites on paper, but it is questionable how much the Norwegians were affected by his corona infection before the games. He had only come for the last race. One can also be curious about Johannes Høsflot Klæbo. Although Klæbo is considered to be more of a short-distance man, he has also been able to show off over long distances. If the field is together to the end he definitely has a chance.
Welcome to Zhangjiakou, where the long edges of cross-country skiing are on the agenda for the final weekend of the Beijing Winter Olympics. First it’s the men’s turn today who have to wait 50 hard kilometers. This year they will be run in free technique. It starts at 7:00 a.m.!