The 2020-21 Cross Country season will start at the end of November in Ruka, Finland with sprint races for both men and women. In both competitions the defending champions are the favorites according to the 2021 Cross Country Sprint predictions. Let’s see who they are and who can beat them for the title.
In cross country, just like in alpine skiing there are different types of disciplines depending on the distance of the races. In the sprint category skiers compete on a maximum 1.8 km long track in classic or free technique. There are usually 12 sprint events in a World Cup season, but last season it was shortened too. While in the new season 13 events are planned. Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo has been dominating the sport for years now, so no surprise he is the main favorite again. While in the women’s competition Swedish and Norwegian athletes are competing for the title year by year.
Klaebo is favored to win again in the 2021 Cross Country Sprint predictions
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo has won the Sprint World Cup in the last four years beside two overall world cup titles. He also has an Olympic gold medal from the 2018 Winter Olympics and a gold from the 2019 World Championships in sprint. Last season he broke the record of the most individual sprint race wins in World Cup history . He was the winner at 8 events securing his 4th sprint title, which is also a record. Klaebo is still only 24, so can achieve a lot more, like adding a 5th sprint title. He has the odds of 1.20 to do so in the 2021 Cross Country Sprint predictions.
His countrymen, Eric Valnes can be his biggest rival again according to online sportsbooks in Norway. The 2018 junior world champion in sprint finished as a runner-up last season behind Klaebo. It was only his 3rd World Cup season so his result can be a first sign of another successful career. Even though he hasn’t won any race yet, he finished four times on the podium. Now his odds to overcome Klaebo is 11.00 on bet365.
Other athletes who can dethrone Klaebo
One of the Norwegian’s main rivals has been Italian Federico Pellegrino who finished as a runner-up three years in a row after winning the title in the 2015-16 season. Last year he was only 4th in the sprint standing one point behind the podium. Surely the 30-year-old athlete will try to claim back the title after a longer preparation for the new season. Pellegrino is already in Finland with his teammates for the last few training sessions before the first race in Ruka.
Online gambling sites in Norway offer the odds of 12.00 for the Italian’s victory just like for the win of Lucas Chanavat. The French athlete finished 5th in the sprint last year, even though he could win two events during the season. He dropped back in the ranking after a crash in the last race. But now Chanavat can try again to defeat his training partner, Klaebo and win the crystal globe for the first time.
Can Svahn defend her title?
In the women’s competition Swedish Linn Svahn won the title last year and is favored again. She has the odds of 1.61 to defend her title. The 20-year-old athlete has spent only his second in the World Cup, so no doubt about her talent. We will see if Svahn can repeat her successful last season when she could win 3 individual races beside two team events. One of her biggest rivals is her countywoman, Jonna Sundling. She is a former junior and U23 world champion in individual sprint while she finished 4th in the 2019 world championships. Sundling also won two World Cup events last season and finished on the podium on three more occasions. Now her odds to win the world cup title is 5.50.
We can certainly find great Norwegian athletes in the women’s race too. Like Maiken Caspersen Falla who is the 2014 Olympic champion and the silver medalist at the 2018 Olympic Games. She is also a two-time individual sprint world champion and 3-time sprint World Cup winner. With her 21 World Cup victories Caspersen is the second most successful sprinter of all time, a fantastic athlete of the sport. In spite of finishing only in 5th place last year she could easily return back to the top as her odds of 6.00 are also showing.