Two Nordic Season highlights crowned their champions last weekend as the Four Hills Tournament and Tour de Ski came to a close.
Four-Hills: Stoch wins it all
The question on everyone’s mind leading into the final competition of the Four Hills Tournament in Bischofhofen (AUT) was: Can he do it? And in the end, the answer was a resounding “yes” as Kamil Stoch (POL) earned the clean sweep of the all Four Hills competitions, winning the title on Saturday evening. He is now the second ski jumper after Sven Hannawald (GER) in 2001/02 to win the "Grand Slam".
Stoch commented: "There was big pressure during this tournament but the most important thing is to stay focused on your job and do what you can do, you can't do more than that. I just wanted to do my best jumps and that's all. trust me, I didn't focus on the grand slam. From the beginning of the Tournament, I just wanted to do it right. This is huge for me and for the entire team."
Stoch closed the Four Hills with yet another outstanding performance with jumps of 132.5 m and 137 m on the Paul-Ausserleitner-hill and a total of 275.6 points, edging Anders Fannemel (NOR) by 3.2 points. Andreas Wellinger (GER) was third with 270.5 points, and he finished runner-up to Stoch in the final Four Hills standings.
30 year-old Stoch now also has the lead in the overall World Cup with 723 points. The two Germans Richard Freitag (711 points) and Andreas Wellinger (569 points) follow in second and third.
Tour de Ski: Cologna and Weng take titles
They say the best things come to those who wait, and no one would agree more than Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who earned his fourth Tour de Ski victory. Cologna won in impressive fashion with a 1 minute 26.5 second margin ahead of Norway's Martin Sundby in second place. Alex Harvey made history by becoming the first non-European male to reach the overall podium of the Tour de Ski in third place, 1 minute and 30.6 seconds back.
Colgna is now the only male skier with four wins in the Tour de Ski.
“You couldn’t expect it to work out like this,” Cologna said. “I had a good feeling, only the start of the season didn’t work out so well. But since the first race in the Tour things opened up for me, and after that, it worked out pretty well. No weaknesses, I could pull it through. And that in the end, it worked out so well with such a lead, I wouldn’t have expected that.”
On the ladies’ side Norway's Heidi Weng repeated her 2017 achievement as the Tour de Ski Champion after an impressive climb up the Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Weng started the day 1.8 seconds behind her teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg. They arrived at the bottom of the climb up Alpe Cermis side by side but when the first steep pitch began Weng lifted the pace and skied away to victory by 48.5 seconds.
Weng commented: "I am obviously so happy to win again the Tour. It was very hard. When we came to the bottom of Alpe Cermis the pace was quite high. I knew when it got steep that was when I wanted to make my move. "
Meanwhile, Jessie Diggins (USA) closed her 10 second gap to Finland's Krista Parmakoski on the way down the valley and with a steady pace up the climb skied to third place +2:23.2 back of Weng. It is a first overall Tour de Ski podium for Diggins and the first for a North American.