|Date||late December – early January|
|Competition||FIS Cross-Country World Cup|
|Organiser||International Ski Federation|
|First edition||31 December 2006|
|Editions||14 (as of 2019–20)|
|First winner||Tobias Angerer (GER)|
|Most wins|| Dario Cologna (SUI)
|Most recent||Alexander Bolshunov (RUS)|
|First winner||Virpi Kuitunen (FIN)|
|Most wins|| Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)
|Most recent||Therese Johaug (NOR)|
The Tour de Ski (TdS) is a cross-country skiing event held annually since the 2006–07 season in Central Europe, modeled on the Tour de France of cycling. The Tour de Ski is a Stage World Cup event in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup. Each Tour de Ski has consisted of six to nine stages, held during late December and early January in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. As of 2020, the prize money for the event amount to 560,000 Swiss francs (546,000 euros), shared out on both men and women. Men's and women's events are held together on the same days, with the only difference being the distance skied.
The stage hosts changes every year, but some of the format stays the same with the diversity of competitions; sprints, mass starts, races with individual starts and pursuits. The Tour de Ski has every year concluded with two or three stages in Val di Fiemme, with the final stage where the skiers race up the alpine skiing course on Alpe Cermis in Cavalese.
There are usually between 20 and 30 nations participating, with the numbers of skiers from each nation based on quotas with a maximum of 10 skiers. All of the stages are timed to the finish; the skiers' times are compounded with their previous stage times. The skier with the lowest cumulative finishing times is the overall leader of the race and wears the yellow leader bib. While the overall standings garners the most attention, there are two other contests held within the Tour: the point standings (previously called "sprint standings") for the sprinters and the team standings for the fastest teams.
Cross-country skiing had been through a period of renewal from the early 1980s, when the free technique was first introduced to the World Championships which led to a rush of new events, including pursuit skiing, sprint skiing and eventually long mass start races, to complement the traditional time trial or individual start style of skiing. The Tour de Ski is another such new event, and the idea has been reported to come from a meeting between former Olympic gold medallist Vegard Ulvang and Jürg Capol, the International Ski Federation's (FIS) chief executive officer for cross-country competitions, in Ulvang's sauna in Maridalen, Norway. Their idea was to create a stage competition consisting of different events which they expected would lead to several days of continuous excitement before the most complete skiers would become Tour de Ski champions. Ulvang has also brought up the idea of a tour of the Barents Region, Tour de Barents, with stages in Kirkenes (Sandnes) and Vadsø in Finnmark and Murmansk in Russia.
The first Tour de Ski (2006–07)
Jürg Capol stated that FIS originally wished to start the race in the Alps. However, as neither Austria or Switzerland were interested, the opening two stages were to be held in Nové Město na Moravě in the Czech Republic. A week before the Tour was due to start, FIS announced that snow conditions in Nové Město were not good enough, and cancelled the two races there. The first Tour de Ski therefore opened with a sprint race in Munich on 31 December 2006, and was won by Marit Bjørgen (NOR) and Christoph Eigenmann (SUI).
Skiers from France, Germany and Norway, among others, said that the Tour de Ski was among their targets for the 2006–07 season, with Norwegian skier Jens Arne Svartedal claiming that the winner would have "extreme respect" for winning such an extreme race. Tobias Angerer (GER) and Virpi Kuitunen (FIN) were the first overall winners of the Tour.
After the first Tour de Ski, reactions among athletes were largely positive. Norwegian athletes said "it was a good concept", German winner Tobias Angerer claimed that the Tour de Ski "has a great future", though many of the athletes expressed concern over the final climb up an alpine skiing hill both before and after the race. The director of FIS' cross-country committee, Vegard Ulvang, said the finish would be in the same place next year, but the way up could be changed. Ulvang also claimed that the Tour had been a success, and a "breakthrough for FIS" Ulvang did, however, admit that there would have to be some changes, as up to a third of participants in the Tour de Ski have struggled with illness or injury after the competition.
Newspaper comments were divided: in Expressen's opinion, the finish was the "most enjoyable competition seen in years," while Roland Wiedemann in Der Spiegel said this "should be the future of cross-country skiing". Critical commentaries appeared in Göteborgs-Posten, criticising the fact that sprinters didn't have a chance in the overall standings, and Wiesbaden Kurier, describing it as a reality show and a skiing circus.
The second Tour de Ski was held between 28 December 2007 and 6 January 2008, in the Czech Republic and Italy. Oberstdorf in Bavaria was originally scheduled to host two stages, but cancelled as the German Ski Association could only arrange a race on 2 January.
At a meeting in Venice, Italy, on 7 May 2009, Tour de Ski officials met with officials from the Giro d'Italia road cycle race to learn from the stage race to further improve Tour de Ski competition for the 2009–2010 event.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the women's Tour was dominated by Justyna Kowalczyk, who won the Tour de Ski four consecutive times and the sprint standings three consecutive times and a record 14 stages. Dario Cologna dominated the same period of time and won three Tours and two sprint competitions in four years from 2008–09 to 2011–12. In 2017–18, the year Cologna won his record fourth overall Tour, Jessica Diggins of USA and Alex Harvey of Canada became the first non-Europeans to achieve podium spots in the overall standings.
|In finish||Interval start||none|
|Intermediate sprint||Mass Start||15||12||10||8||6||5||4||3||2||1||none|
The overall results are based on the aggregate time for all events, as well as bonus seconds awarded on sprint and mass start stages.
The sprint races carry bonus seconds for the finish, which are subtracted from the overall time. The current bonus format in sprint competitions, as of 2019–20, hands out bonus seconds to the 30 skiers that qualify for the quarter-finals (60–54–48–46–44–42–32–30–28–26–24–22–10–10–10–8–8–8–8–8–6–6–6–6–6–4–4–4–4–4).
In mass start competitions, intermediate points carry bonus seconds; 15 to the winner, 10 to number two, and 5 to number three. The same number of seconds are usually awarded at the finish. In the later editions of the Tour, intermediate points has been handed out to the 10 first skiers (15–12–10–8–6–5–4–3–2–1) past the intermediate point.
The final stage of the race includes a steep climb up Alpe Cermis, with a height difference of 425 meters. By the 2018–19 Tour de Ski this last stage was held in a pursuit format, with competitors starting with the gaps they had in the overall classification, 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 classification.
The overall leaders wear the leader bib on the following stage. The leader bib is from the 2019–20 edition colored yellow. From the start in 2006 to 2017–18 the leader bib was red and in the 2018–19 the leader wore blue bib.
The leaders of the points competitions wear the points bib on the following stage. The bib worn by the leader of the points standings is from the 2019–20 edition colored red. In the previous editions of the Tour, the leader of the sprint standings wore a sprint bib; from the start in 2006 to 2017–18 this bib was black and in the 2018–19 the sprint bib was grey.
Prizes and bonuses are awarded for daily placings and final placings at the end of the race. In 2020, the winners received CHF 55,000, while each of the stage winners won CHF 3,000. The winners of the points standings won CHF 6,000.
Winners by year
Mass start stages
In the mass start stages in the Tour de Ski, time bonuses are awarded to the top ten skiers of intermediate sprints. In 2019–20, no bonus seconds were awarded based on the skiers finishing positions in the mass start stages. Until the 2018–19 edition, time bonuses of 15, 10 and 5 bonus seconds were usually awarded to the first three finishers. Mass-start stages are typically 5 km or 10 km for women and 10 km or 15 km for men, often raced by skiing several laps. Skiers who are overlapped by others will be excluded from the rest of the Tour. There are usually two or three mass start stages.
Interval start stages
In the interval start, or time trial stages in the Tour de Ski, skiers are sent out from the start in 30 second intervals. Interval start stages are typically 5 km or 10 km for women and 10 km or 15 km for men. In 2019–20, no bonus seconds were awarded on the interval start stage. Time bonuses of 15, 10 and 5 bonus seconds were awarded to the three fastest skiers by the edition 2018–19. There are usually one or two interval start stages. Between 2007–08 and 2015, the first stage of the Tour was a short trial, a prologue. The first prologue was in Oberhof, Germany in 2007 and the last in Oberstdorf, Germany, on 3 January 2015.
The first ever Tour de Ski stage was a sprint stage in Munich, Germany, on 31 December 2006. Sprint stages consists of two rounds; a qualification round and a final round with a knock-out competition format. The 30 fastest skiers in the qualification round qualifies for the final round quarter-finals. In the quarter-, and semi-finals, the skiers compete in heats of six and the two best skiers in each heat are guaranteed progression. 12 skiers advance from the quarter-finals to the semi-finals of which six advance to the final. The winners are rewarded, as of 2019–20, 60 bonus seconds. The amount of bonus seconds are higher in sprint races then other types to encourage sprinter specialists to go for results in the overall standings. There are usually one or two sprint stages.
The Tour de Ski has every year concluded with the final stage in Val di Fiemme where the skiers race up the alpine skiing course on Alpe Cermis in Cavalese. The stage's length is 9.0 km in total, the climb itself 3.6 km with an average gradient of 11.6% and a maximum gradient of 28.0%.
By the edition 2018–19, this stage was raced as a free technique pursuit with starting intervals equal to the skiers accumulative times in the overall standings; which meant that the first skier to cross the finish line on Alpe Cermis was the winner of the Tour de Ski. If the time differences were big, the race jury could decide that the lowest ranked skiers started in a «wave start».. Since 2019–20, the final stage is a mass start on same course. The stage results are added to overall standings.
Eight men and six women have won both overall and sprint standings in the same Tour, the first being Virpi Kuitunen in the inaugural women's Tour. Sergey Ustiugov and Marit Bjørgen are the only skiers who have led the overall standings from the first stage and held the lead all the way to the top of Alpe Cermis. The most appearances have been by Jean-Marc Gaillard, who skied his 14th Tour in 2019–20, having finished 11 of them. In 2016, Petter Northug became the first skier to complete ten Tours. The smallest margins between the winner and the second placed skiers at the end of the Tour is 7.2 seconds between winner Virpi Kuitunen and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen in 2008–09. The largest margin, by comparison, remains that of the 2016 Tour: 3 min 15.7 s between Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Finn Hågen Krogh. The biggest winning margin in the women's Tour is 2 min 42.0 s between Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Natalia Nepryaeva in 2018–19.
Skiers who won the Tour de Ski and an individual Olympic gold medal in the same year include: Justyna Kowalczyk (2010) and Dario Cologna (2018). Five skiers have won the Tour de Ski and an individual World Championship gold medal in the same year. These are: Virpi Kuitunen (2007), Marit Bjørgen (2015), Petter Northug (2015), Sergey Ustiugov (2017) and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (2019).
Two skiers have won four times: Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Dario Cologna (SUI); Therese Johaug has won three times and an additional two men and two women have won two times. Kowalczyk achieved the mark with a record four consecutive wins.
17 men and 15 women have won two or more stages in the Tour de Ski. Justyna Kowalczyk and Therese Johaug have won the most stages with 14, followed by Petter Northug's 13 stage wins. Bjørgen (2015) and Ustiugov (2016–17) have both won five consecutive stages; five stage wins in one Tour is also a record.
- State at 5 January 2020
Most successful countries
Standings after the 2019–20 Tour de Ski and the disqualifications of Yevgeny Dementyev (Russia) in 2008–09, Alena Sidko (Russia) in 2009–10, Johannes Dürr (Austria) in 2013–14 and Martin Johnsrud Sundby (Norway) in 2015.
Ten venues have hosted stages of the Tour de Ski. Val di Fiemme is the only venue to host a stage in all 14 Tours.
|Host \ Season||06–07||07–08||08–09||09–10||10–11||11–12||12–13||13–14||14–15||15–16||16–17||17–18||18–19||19–20|
|Nové Město na Moravě||CNX1||X2||X|
|Val di Fiemme||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
- 1 Cancelled due to lack of snow
- 2 Relocated from Oberstdorf to Nové Město na Moravě due to scheduling problems
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 36–37.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 4–6.
- "Den ble født i en badstue" [It was born in a sauna]. www.dagsavisen.no (in Norwegian). Dagsavisen. 3 January 2015.
- "Ny æra for langrenn" [A new era in cross-country skiing]. www.dagsavisen.no (in Norwegian). Dagsavisen. 25 November 2006.
- "Tour på Nordkalotten". www.langrenn.com (in Norwegian). 24 November 2006.
- (in Norwegian) Jürg Capol snakker om Tour de Ski, langrenn.com quoting Le Matin, 20 November 2006.
- (in German) Interview mit Vincent Vittoz (FRA) zur Tour de Ski, from xc-ski.de, retrieved 19 December 2006.
- (in German)langläufer angerer gewinnt in la clusaz[permanent dead link], from dpa, retrieved 19 December 2006.
- (in Norwegian) Tour-favoritter i kø, Tor Kise Karlsen, ANB, published 10 November 2006.
- (in Norwegian) –Utrolig godt fornøyd, Karin Harstensen, Østlandets Blad, 9 January 2007.
- (in German) "Tour de Ski hat große Zukunft" Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, ZDF, retrieved 9 January 2006.
- (in Norwegian) Ulvang varsler Tour-endringer, Nettavisen, retrieved 9 January 2007.
- (in Norwegian) Ulvang: - Touren en suksess, NTB, retrieved from vg.no, 9 January 2007.
- (in Norwegian) Ulvang varsler Tour-endringer, ANB-NTB, retrieved 29 January 2006.
- (in Swedish) Tomas Pettersson: Dags att flytta Tour de ski till Sverige - nu, Expressen, retrieved 9 January 2007.
- (in German) Jubel über die Tour der Leiden, by Roland Wiedemann, Der Spiegel, retrieved 9 January 2007.
- (in Swedish) Upplägget måste förändras i Tour de Ski Archived 2007-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Göteborgs-Posten, retrieved 9 January 2007.
- Ski-Zirkus, Rolf Lehmann, Wiesbaden Kurier, retrieved 9 January 2007.
- (in Norwegian) Dropper Tour i Tyskland, Kim Nystøl, NRK, published 30 November 2007, retrieved 9 December 2007.
- FIS-Ski.com 14 May 2009 article on 7 May 2009 meeting between Tour de Ski and Giro d'Italia officials in Venice.[permanent dead link] - accessed 16 May 2009.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 34–35.
- "RULES FOR THE FIS CROSS-COUNTRY WORLD CUP" (PDF). International Ski Federation (FIS). Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 36.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 37.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2020, pp. 34.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2018, pp. 34.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2019, pp. 34.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2018, pp. 24.
- "Final Climb - Alpe Cermis". www.whowins.worldofxc.com. Whowins. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- Rules for the FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2018, pp. 37.
- Palmer, Dan (20 July 2016). "Sundby stripped of World Cup and Tour de Ski titles after asthma medication mix-up". www.insidethegames.biz. inside the games. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
- "Draft: FIS CROSS-COUNTRY WORLD CUP 2016/2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tour de Ski.|