(Lenzerheide, SUI) Switzerland's Laurien Van Der Graaf thrilled the home crowd in Lenzerheide on the opening stage of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski presented by Le Gruyère winning her first ever World Cup event. Her first win comes on her 114th World Cup start and it was the first for a Swiss athlete on home soil since Toni Livers in Davos 2007. Sophie Caldwell of the US Ski Team notched her first podium of the season taking second place +1.42 behind Van Der Graaf with Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla +1.86 behind for third.
Russia's Sergey Ustiugov the defending Tour de Ski champion started this year's Tour off as he did last season with a sprint victory. Ustiugov crossed the line 1.0 ahead of Italy's Federico Pellegrino in second place. Lucas Chanavat of France celebrated his first ever World Cup podium today with a third place finish +2.76 behind Ustiugov.
Stage two of the Tour de Ski 2018 continues tomorrow with interval start 10/15 km classic competitions.
Laurien Van Der Graaf (SUI)
I knew in qualification I would strong today. It is so amazing to win my first ever World Cup podium. It’s incredible. I mean, to win on this course, home, is just crazy. I want to say thank you to the whole team who have been helping me.
Sophie Caldwell (USA)
I was really happy with my race today. I love this course and was psyched to have good feelings throughout the day. I'm hoping to carry this momentum through the next few races of tour!
Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR)
It was a tough day for me. I felt dizzy and did not feel good. I was lucky in the quarterfinals where I was the lucky loser. On a tough day like this I am happy with the 3rd place.
Sergey Ustiugov (RUS)
I really wanted to win today to start the Tour strong.
Lucas Chanavat (FRA)
I feel great to win my first podium. I knew the second lap is going to be the most important one. Ustiugov was really strong on the flats but I could keep up with him. I was little bit struggling on the uphill. In the end I was lacking the speed on the home stretch but I am very happy for my first podium.
Federico Pellegrino (ITA)
The result is fine but I had some troubles with my legs today and I think that is from the training period before the start of the Tour.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Stage 1 Sprint Free
1. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI 3:25.80
2. CALDWELL Sophie USA +1.42
3. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +1.86
4. NEPRYAEVA Natalia RUS +3.17
5. DIGGINS Jessica USA +4.33
6. RINGWALD Sandra GER +31.68
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 2:57.28
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +1.00
3. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +2.76
4. HAKOLA Ristomatti FIN +5.91
5. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +14.39
6. JOUVE Richard FRA +21.01
TOUR DE SKI STANDINGS - After Stage 1
1. VAN DER GRAAFF Laurien SUI 2:31.9
2. CALDWELL Sophie USA +5.6
3. FALLA Maiken Caspersen NOR +12.7
4. DIGGINS Jessica USA +14.7
5. NEPRYAEVA Natalia RUS +16.4
1. USTIUGOV Sergey RUS 1:58.4
2. PELLEGRINO Federico ITA +7.1
3. CHANAVAT Lucas FRA +13.2
4. HAKOLA Ristomatti FIN +16.4
5. KROGH Finn Haagen NOR +18.7