The classic sprint took place in Tyumen, where the second stage of the Alfa-Bank Russian Cup for cross-country skiing is taking place. The athletes completed a long circuit, which even the men completed in four minutes.
Bolshunov won the fifth consecutive race
It is already customary that Alexander Bolshunov won another race at the Russian Cup stage. So far, apart from him, there have been no other winners this season. But he won the classic sprint. A race in which Alexander Terentyev was considered the favorite. And because in the classic sprint Terentyev and Johannes Klebo won, and because Bolshunov practically abandoned the training process for three months. However, Sasha Terentyev was also not in good health.
Bolshunov could have retired in the off-season:
“Many people dream that I will finish. You can not wait! Strong statement by Alexander Bolshunov
Terentyev ran the prologue fantastically, got through the quarter-finals with great confidence, but was not as convincing in the semi-finals. Although, if the task of reaching the final is solved, why prove anything more? Bolshunov lost almost 10 seconds to his training group partner in the prologue, but in the elimination races he had a solid safety margin.
Two favorites came to the final, accompanied by Sergey Ardashev, Vladislav Afanasyev (very unexpectedly, although Vlad is an excellent sprinter), Victor Zhul and Nikita Rodionov.
As the final progressed, it looked like Terentyev would be able to break away, especially when he rushed his style on the final climb, but the groundwork created was not enough. Bolshunov held and counterattacked, and Terentyev was also defeated by Ardashev, who generally tactically aligned each of the races magnificently. But he could not cope with Bolshunov’s power and technique. Even Yuri Borodavko was surprised.
“To be honest, Sasha Bolshunov’s victory was a good surprise for me. Especially considering that for the last four months he has hardly skated classics and has done almost no speed work. His results since the beginning of the season have surprised me. I thought Sasha Terentyev should have won this race, but it turned out a little differently. So far it is clear that Terentyev is having a hard time, he needs to make a certain number of starts to reach good competitive speeds. There is still time to correct his current state,” stated the senior coach of the Russian national team.
Savely Korostelev, eliminated in the quarterfinals, did not reach the final. His friend Alexander Bakurov crossed the street. But he also failed to reach the final, making a mistake in the semi-finals when he missed the opportunity to attack and took a disadvantageous position.
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For Bolshunov this victory was the fifth in a row since the start of the Russian Cup. The emotions of the multiple champion after the finish line were the most vivid of all the past races. But Alexander is in no hurry to set himself the task of winning all the Russian Cup races. “It’s still very difficult. The condition should be good throughout the season, both in the sprint and in the distance,” he told the Championship.
Faleeva won by a margin
The winner of the women’s sprint was Anastasia Faleeva. She won the skating sprint in Vershina Toya and now won in Tyumen with a big advantage. She simply had no competitors, the skier from St. Petersburg felt great on the slope. But if in Khakassia she stood her ground after each run and then admitted that she had cramps in her abdominal muscles, now, apparently, Nastya did not experience any problems.
“I work very hard and now I can enjoy what I do and enjoy it. There is a great atmosphere here, so many people came, it’s just great! It was a great race. I managed to escape and end up a little alone (smiles), it’s very nice.”
How was the stage of the Russian Cup in Vershina Toya:
Bolshunov did not train at full strength for three months. But in the Russian Cup he is unbeatable.
The second was Alena Baranova and the third was Evgenia Krupitskaya. And this is super sensational. Because Evgenia specializes in skating distances, not sprints.
“I’m still in shock about my result. I have no words. In general, I consider all sprints more like preparation before races. I think that in the Russian Cup the athletes of the national team should complete the entire program, because it is a good opportunity to test themselves in different disciplines. If you are healthy and nothing bothers you, then you should run everything, regardless of your specialization, to become a more versatile athlete,” Krupitskaya said after the finish.
Olympic champions Veronika Stepanova and Yulia Stupak performed according to a completely different program.
Stepanova confidently passed the qualifications, but withdrew from the qualifying races, motivating her decision by not feeling good enough, which did not allow her to compete for prizes. Stupak reached the quarterfinals, in which only five participants remained, he won them, but after the finish he showed that he is already there, that he will not run anymore. Therefore, five people also remained in one of the semifinals.
“I would like shorter sprints”
The sprint circle is worth mentioning separately. It’s just brutal to run. Even the men did it in four minutes and a penny. It’s probably even a good thing that there is no snow in Tyumen and that the organizers were not able to prepare the spectacular speed circuit that was present at the national youth and adult championships last season. There was simply a race for survival.
“The circuit here is quite long, hard, everything works, with three climbs. According to World Cup standards, a sprint lasts up to three minutes or just over three minutes, while we have more than four minutes: all sprints. Therefore, I would like that when we return (to international competitions), we also have fast races. I wish there were shorter sprints somewhere,” said Anastasia Faleeva.
Baranova, Faleeva and Krupitskaya
“Honestly, I don’t understand why you make those circles. It is clear that the route is approved, but changes can be made to the configuration by leaving a couple of climbs and adding a curve in the stadium itself. It would be better if there was another curve in front of the stands, like in summer competitions. Then the spectators will be able to see with their own eyes the great wrestling in the stadium. And the ending will be much more interesting, others will be able to win prizes,” said Sergei Ardashev.
“The circle is quite interesting, but difficult. To me, it doesn’t matter much what circle you fall in. It all depends on how you feel. If everything goes well, then you will be able to run both long and short laps with equal success,” noted Alexander Bolshunov.
“Why such a long circle? This is what the chief judge and jury decided. They considered that it meets the necessary standards. Although the coaches suggested cutting the first loop, then the circle would be approximately 1570 meters. Maybe it would be better for the athletes, but it would not be decisive for the final result,” concluded Yuri Borodavko.
The stage in Tyumen will end with the first mass starts of the season. Classic.