Tour de Ski - Oberstdorf Sprint Preview

03 January 2018 08:19
Alexander Bolshunov RUS
Alexander Bolshunov RUS -
NordicFocus

PREVIEW Ladies' SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE – Wednesday 3 Jan 2018

• The last eight sprint events in the Tour de Ski (classic and free) have seen eight different winners from four different countries.
• Laurien Van der Graaff (SUI) won the sprint free event in Lenzerheide on day one to claim her first ever World Cup victory, handing Switzerland its first ever Tour de Ski stage win in a women's event.
• Van der Graaff could become the third athlete to win multiple sprint events in a single edition of the Tour de Ski after Petra Majdic (SLO) in 2010/11 and Arianna Follis (ITA) in 2008/09.
• Last season's Tour de Ski winner Heidi Weng (NOR) is looking for her third stage win in the competition. Weng won the 10km classic in 2015/16 (Val di Fiemme) and the 9km pursuit in 2016/17 (Val di Fiemme).
• Weng's best result in a sprint event in the Tour de Ski came on 5 January 2016, when she finished in second place in the sprint classic in Oberstdorf behind winner Sophie Caldwell (USA) and on 6 January 2015, finishing second behind Marit Bjørgen (NOR) in the sprint freestyle in Val Müstair.
• Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) is on a total of 19 World Cup victories, including 14 in individual sprint events (7 in free and 7 in classic).
• No athlete has recorded more World Cup victories in the sprint classic since the start of 2013/14 than Falla (7). Bjørgen and Stina Nilssen (SWE) are next with three wins each in this span.
• Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) has won the last two Tour de Ski stages, the 10km classic and the 10km pursuit in Lenzerheide, and could become the first athlete to claim three stage wins in a row since Marit Bjørgen (NOR) in 2014/15. Bjørgen won the opening five stages of the 2014/15 edition.
• Østberg's first Tour de Ski stage win came on 31 December 2013, when she won the sprint free in Lenzerheide.
• Østberg has claimed a total of three World Cup victories in sprint events, including the sprint classic in Otepää on 17 January 2015.
• Sophie Caldwell (USA), who finished in second place in the sprint free in Lenzerheide, is aiming for her second World Cup victory after her triumph in the sprint classic in Oberstdorf (Tour de Ski) on 5 January 2016.
• Jessica Diggins (USA), is aiming to win her first sprint event in the World Cup. She has claimed two podium finishes is the sprint, finishing second in the sprint free in Lahti on 20 February 2016 and third in the sprint free in Gatineau (Ski Tour Canada) on 1 March 2016.

PREVIEW Men's SPRINT CLASSIC STYLE 

• Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) has won the last two sprint events in the Tour de Ski (both freestyle), including this season's opening stage in Lenzerheide.
• Ustiugov could become the first man to win three sprint events in the Tour de Ski (free and classic) and the first to claim multiple sprint victories in a single edition.
• With six Tour de Ski stage wins, Ustiugov is now in joint-third place on the all-time list along with Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR). Only Petter Northug (NOR, 13) and Dario Cologna (SUI ,7) are on more stage wins in the competition.
• Current overall leader Cologna has claimed a record three overall wins in the Tour de Ski (2009, 2011, 2012) and has reached the overall podium on six occasions (G3-S1-B2), joint-most along with Northug (G1-S3-B2).
• Cologna's best result in a sprint event in the Tour de Ski is a second-place finish in the sprint free in Toblach on 5 January 2011. His best result in a sprint classic event in one of the Tours (3-Days Tour, Tour de Ski, World Cup Final, Ski Tour Canada) is a third-place finish in Oberstdorf on 2 January 2011 (Tour de Ski).
• Cologna has won the last two Tour de Ski stages, the 15km classic and the 15km pursuit in Lenzerheide, and could become the second athlete ever to claim (at least) three stage wins in a row after Ustiugov in 2016/17.
• Ustiugov's five consecutive wins in the opening five stages of the 2016/17 Tour de Ski is the longest winning streak in history of the competition.
• Alexander Bolshunov (RUS), third in the overall standings, will be 21 years and three days old on the day of this event and could become the youngest stage winner in history of the Tour de Ski. Nikolay Morilov (RUS) currently holds the record as he was 21 years and 141 days old when he won the sprint free in Prague on 30 December 2007.
• Bolshunov (21), who finished in third place in this season's 3-Days Tour, could become the youngest ever athlete to reach the Tour de Ski overall podium. Simen Østensen (NOR) was 22 years and 156 days old when he finished in third place in 2006/07.
• Only Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR, 3) has recorded more top-three finishes in sprint events this World Cup season than Bolshunov (2).
• Federico Pellegrino (ITA) has reached the podium in six of this last eight sprint events in the Tour de Ski, with a 14th-place finish in last season's sprint classic in Oberstdorf and a fourth-place finish in Lenzerheide (sprint free) on 31 December 2013 as the only exceptions.
• Only Northug (7) has claimed more podium spots in sprint events in Tour de Ski history (free and classic) than Pellegrino (6).