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And suddenly everything changed

Tour de Ski

Tue, Jan  1, 2008 - By Vegard Ulvang

Lukas Bauer's 48-second lead from Sunday disappeared in the sprint battle on the streets of Prague Monday afternoon. You cannot find a better demonstration of the two different sides of Cross-Country Skiing in 2008. Yesterday, Lukas Bauer showed his extreme endurance capacity by leaving everyone behind him; today was the day for the quick ones.

Everything is still open for the next two Stages in Nove Mesto. Only 1 minute and 13 seconds are splitting the 30 best men, and we can look forward to many interesting new duels. How long can Østensen, Vylegzanin, Hetland and Nordthug stay with Lukas Bauer? Can Sødergren, Di Centa, Teichmann and Angerer catch up from behind? Angerer is 56th starting 56 second behind Bauer.

As usual we have more or less the same racers among the top names for the ladies, but two fights are clear for 1st January. Is twenty seconds enough for Bjørgen/ Follis versus Kowalczyk/ Kuitunen? And if Kalla is just as offensive as yesterday she can close the 15 seconds to Kuitunen with a quick start...

City sprints are always a compromise between atmosphere with a lot of spectators and conditions for the sport. I found the course in Prague too narrow. Without giving the racers any chance to pass each other we reduce the most exciting moments of the competition. There were too many accidents due to lack of space.

The next Stage will be in year 2008. I wish all athletes a good resting day and a short celebration before the next fights on New Year's Day.