FIS Cross-Country World Cup: Men's preview
Sundby aiming for fourth overall win
Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) won the overall World Cup in 2013/14, 2015/16 and 2016/17 and is now hoping to claim his fourth overall crystal globe.
If Sundby succeeds, he can equal Dario Cologna (SUI) with four overall World Cup victories. Only Gunde Svan (SWE, 5) and Bjørn Dæhlie (NOR, 6) have collected more overall crystal globes.
Sundby could become the third athlete after Svan (1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86) and Dæhlie (1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97) to claim the overall World Cup title three seasons in a row.
Sundby also won the distance World Cup in 2013/14, 2015/16 and 2016/17. His three distance World Cup crystal globes are the most, along with Cologna (2010/11, 2011/12, 2014/15).
Sundby has 29 individual World Cup wins (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins) and needs one more victory to join Svan (30) and Vladimir Smirnov (KAZ, 30) in third place on the all-time list. Only Petter Northug (NOR, 38) and Bjørn Dæhlie (NOR, 46) have won more.
Sundby is the only athlete to have won a World Cup event in each of the last six seasons (including relay/team events).
In all disciplines (individual, relay/team, Tour stages, overall Tour), Sundby is now on 41 World Cup wins, only trailing Dæhlie (46) and Northug (47).
Northug hoping to equal Smirnov and Svan
Petter Northug completed just six World Cup events last season, with a fourth-place finish in the classic sprint race in Drammen on 8 March as his best result.
Northug's last World Cup victory came on 3 February 2016, when he won the classic sprint event in Drammen ahead of Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 2nd) and Eirik Brandsdal (NOR, 3rd).
Northug has finished in the top-three of the overall World Cup in seven of the last nine seasons, only missing out on a podium finish in 2013/14 (6th) and 2016/17 (65th).
With his seven overall World Cup podium finishes, Northug only trails Vladimir Smirnov (8), Gunde Svan (8) and Bjørn Dæhlie (10).
Northug's 65th-place finish in last season's overall World Cup, was his worst finish since a 14th-place finish in his debut season in 2005/06.
Only Dæhlie (46) has claimed more individual World Cup wins (including Tour stages and overall Tour wins) than Northug (38).
Northug's total tally of 47 World Cup wins in all disciplines (individual, relay/team, Tour stages, overall Tour), is an all-time high and one more than Dæhlie (46).
World Cup challengers
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) won the 2017 FIS Tour de Ski. At the age of 24, Ustiugov became the second youngest winner of the Tour de Ski after Dario Cologna, who was 22 years old when he triumphed in 2009.
Alex Harvey (CAN) finished in third place in last season's overall World Cup. He won three World Cup events (including relay/team events) to match his personal best set in 2013/14.
Harvey could become the first non-European athlete to win the overall World Cup since 1993/94 when Kazakhstan's Smirnov grabbed the crystal globe.
The only other non-European winner of the overall World Cup was Bill Koch (USA) who was crowned overall champion in 1981/82.
Harvey finished in second place in the distance World Cup last season, behind winner Sundby and ahead of third-place Matti Heikkinen (FIN).
Federico Pellegrino (ITA) has reached the podium of the sprint World Cup in each of the last three seasons and could become the first athlete to finish in the top-three in four consecutive campaigns. Only Bjørn Dæhlie (1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99) also managed to reached the podium three seasons in a row.
Pellegrino, who won the sprint World Cup in 2015/16, is the only athlete from outside Norway or Sweden to have lifted the trophy. Only Dæhlie (2), Thobias Fredriksson (SWE, 2), Ola Vigen Hattestad (NOR, 3) and Emil Jönsson (SWE, 3) have won the sprint crystal globe on multiple occasions.