3-4 January 2022




On 8, 9 and 10 January, Val di Fiemme (ITA) will host the last three competitions of the 2021 Tour de Ski: mass start 10 km and 15 km CT on Friday, sprint CT on Saturday and Final Climb mass start FT on Sunday. The races will take place in the Cross-Country stadium in Lago di Tesero and on Alpe Cermis.
Until the 2018-19 Tour de Ski, the last stage was held in a pursuit format, with competitors starting with the gaps they had in the overall standings, so the first skier to reach the top was the overall winner. Since 2019-20 Tour de Ski, the Final Climb is held in a mass start format, with stage results added to overall standings. This new format creates suspense and forces everyone to calculate their gaps. Last January, for example, Krueger and Roethe (NOR) crossed the finish line of the Final Climb in first and second place, but it was Bolshunov – third place – who won the Tour de Ski and took home a lot of money. Yes, because the overall winner of the Tour takes home a lot of money. For the 2021 Tour de Ski, the prize money increased quite a bit, and the overall winner – both men and women – will receive 68,000 Swiss Francs (over 62,000 euros). This sum is just a part of the entire prize money: during 8 days of racing there are 672,000 Swiss Francs (around 620,000 euros) up for grabs.
Besides, the overall winner of the Tour de Ski receives 400 World Cup points, and each stage of the Tour awards some points for the World Cup standings. It can be said without a shadow of doubt that the races in Val di Fiemme are the highlight of the whole World Cup circuit and of the Tour de Ski as well. This success is also proved by the record number of television viewers that every year watch the races in Val di Fiemme live on TV.
The 10 and 15 km CT mass start in Lago di Tesero is really tough, and after 5 days of racing it will be even tougher. The courses in the Cross-Country stadium in Lago di Tesero – which will play host to the Olympic Cross-Country skiing and Nordic Combined events in 2026 – are really demanding. Athletes will first face the “Valena”, then the “Pojer” and the “Brink” climbs (named after the famous champion from Sweden who at the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme made his team lose the gold medal on that climb) and the last climb called “Zorzi” (which has nothing to do with the Italian champion Christian Zorzi); 6 laps for men and 4 for women.
The Final Climb is spectacular and really tough. Even the sprint on Saturday is demanding, and Federico Pellegrino knows it well, since he didn’t make the semi-final in 2020. “I’m facing the Tour as always, but with an extra bit of positivity,” stated Pellegrino. “I know that I can do well, and starting the Tour de Ski with a skating sprint in Val Müstair provides me with a lot of motivation. Last year the points standings for the sprint events were added, last season I gave up after the sprint in Val di Fiemme, but this year I don’t know. Certainly, I will try to give everything in the first stages, and then, according to how the first competition will go, I’ll decide how to face the other races. The sprint in Val di Fiemme left a bad taste in my mouth and I’d like to make up for it”.
In Val di Fiemme, Francesco De Fabiani had good and bad performances. In 2019 he was 2nd in the mass start and 9th in the overall standings. “This season gives me good satisfaction,” said De Fabiani. “I’ve completely different sensations from last year, when I had to retire from the Tour de Ski, being not able to compete in Val di Fiemme. My goal in the Tour de Ski is to improve my ninth place of 2019. I don’t like this result, because two years ago I started from the fourth place and I lost too much on the Final Climb – it will never become my favourite race, but I need to avoid losing ground on that day. I’ve never raced on Alpe Cermis in a mass start format. I’ve many favourite races in the Tour de Ski, the mass starts being my favourite ones, especially in classic technique. In general, I prefer the races with head-to-head battles”.
Here are the Italian starters chosen by the head coach Marco Selle: Federico Pellegrino, Francesco De Fabiani, Giandomenico Salvadori, Mirco Bertolina, Michael Hellweger, Davide Graz, Paolo Ventura, Greta Laurent, Lucia Scardoni, Elisa Brocard, Ilaria Debertolis, Anna Comarella, Martina Di Centa and Francesca Franchi.
The 2021 edition will be different due to the pandemic. The organising committee did a great job: “This will be a very special edition,” said president Bruno Felicetti. “It puts us to the test in terms of health checks and procedures to ensure maximum safety for all accredited participants. I’d like to thank the entire organising team for their efforts, especially in the last few days of preparation, and all the volunteers who will undergo a PCR test at the beginning of January. We were able to ‘reward’ them with a new uniform, the result of the collaboration between the Province of Trento and Coop, with the active participation of the Coop stores of Val di Fiemme, Trentino, Coop Italia and even Coop Norway, who feel at home in Val di Fiemme. We wish our many supporters a happy festive season and a better 2021. Follow us on TV!”.

© Newspower.it

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