Tour de Ski 2018
The 2018 Tour de Ski proved to be one of the most dynamic and historic editions of the prestigious stage race. The U.S.A.'S Jessie Diggins became the first American to land on the final overall podium, taking third in the women's race, while Alex Harvey c
Stage One – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – 1.5km Freestyle Sprint
The 2017-18 Tour de Ski began with a top result from American Sophie Caldwell, landing a career-best second on the final podium in the women’s sprint freestyle, as local star Laurien Van Der Graaf thrilled the home crowd, securing the opening stage.
Including Caldwell, five U.S. skiers qualified for the heats. Jessie Diggins, the second-fastest qualifier, finished fifth, Sadie Bjornsen ended up 14th, Rosie Brennan raced to 15th and Ida Sargent was 20th. No Canadian women were racing.
Caldwell won her quarterfinal and was second in her semifinal. In the final, she was in the mix from the start, taking second behind Van Der Graaf, who dominated for the win. “I was really happy with my race today. I love this course, and I was psyched to have some good feelings today,” said Caldwell, who qualified third just behind Diggins.
Canadian star Alex Harvey was seventh on the day, just missing the final by a boot toe in the men’s 1.5km sprint freestyle, as defending champion Sergey Ustiugov (RUS), also the top qualifier, won the opening men’s stage.
Americans Simi Hamilton (15th), Andy Newell (20th) and Erik Bjornsen (25th) also made the heats, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals. Hamilton
was disappointed with his performance on the opening stage, but happy to be healthy heading into the rest of the seven-stage race.
Harvey handily won his opening quarterfinal and was on pace in his semifinal. After a tight battle and exciting finish, the Canadian narrowly missed out.
Stage Two – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – 10/15km Classic Individual Start
The U.S.A.’S Sadie Bjornsen landed that country’s second podium of the race, placing third in the women’s 10km Classic on Stage Two. The American’s career-first distance podium, it also marked Sadie Bjornsen’s third podium this season. Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg won the event over her teammate Heidi Weng, leading the race by 32.8 seconds.
Diggins, who placed seventh, commented on the difficulty of the track, noting the snow conditions changed dramatically throughout the course. Sadly, American veteran Kikkan Randall did not start the second stage, suffering from a foot injury. Diggins held onto fourth, Sadie Bjornsen moved up to fifth and Caldwell sat seventh overall.
Canada’s Harvey finished 20th in the men’s 15km Individual-start Classic, as local Swiss hero Dario Cologna won on home soil for his 23rd World Cup victory in notably challenging conditions with the warm weather and changing precipitation.
The U.S.A.’S Erik Bjornsen finished 27th, while the Canadian Devon Kershaw was forced to withdraw after coming down with an illness. Harvey dropped two spots in the standings and sat ninth overall behind Sergey Ustiugov, who finished 10th on the stage, but continued to lead the Tour.
Stage Three – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – 10/15km Freestyle Pursuit
The U.S.A.’S Diggins skied to her first podium this season in the women’s 10km freestyle Pursuit race at Round Three, making it three consecutive podiums for Team USA at the Tour.
Norway’s Oestberg won again over teammate Weng in second and headed into the first rest day of the Tour with a 32-second margin in the overall standings. Diggins now sat third overall after a strong individual performance. Fellow American Sadie Bjornsen dropped one spot to fifth as Krista Parmakoski (FIN) took over fourth.
Canada’s Harvey stormed to a strong fourth-place finish in the men’s 15km freestyle Pursuit, and sat fourth overall. Harvey pushed the pace, catching Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), but just missed the podium, as Cologna (SUI) took the stage win and the race lead. American Erik Bjornsen had a strong day as well, finishing 22nd and having the best Tour of his career. The Tour then took a short one-day break, with athletes traveling to Oberstdorf, Germany.
Stage Four – Oberstdorf, Germany – Cancelled
The fourth stage of the FIS Tour de Ski was cancelled due to severe weather as extreme rain and strong winds made the competition unsafe for the athletes. The race was stopped after the women’s Classic Prologue, which will not count toward the Tour de Ski, but will for FIS points.
Stage Five – Oberstdorf, Germany – 10/15km Freestyle Mass Start
Both men’s and women’s races were held on a modified course due to the previous day’s weather, as Norway’s Oestberg took another victory, winning the women’s 10km mass start and extended her lead over teammate Weng.
The U.S.A.’S Diggins positioned herself well for the final sprint, but fell on the final downhill into the stadium, placing 24th, yet remained third overall. Sadie Bjornsen dropped two more spots to seventh overall.
In the men’s 15km freestyle mass-start race, Canada’s Harvey raced to a strong fifth-place finish even after suffering a broken pole, and held onto his fourth place overall. Norway’s Emil Iversen claimed the stage win, taking charge on the final hill to pass his teammate Sindre Bjoernestad Skar for his first victory of the season.
Tour leader Cologna was fourth on the stage, and with bonus seconds gained during the competition, had a 53-second margin with two stages remaining.
The U.S.A.’S Erik Bjornsen finished 32nd on the day and ranked 20th overall, but did not start Stage Six in order to prepare for upcoming races.
Stage Six – Val di Fiemme, Italy – 10/15km Classic Mass Start
American Diggins claimed a valiant fourth in the women’s 10km Classic mass start, but was fourth overall, as Norway’s Weng put in a dominant performance to close the gap on Tour leader Oestberg to a mere 1.8 seconds, with one stage remaining.
It was Diggins second-best Classic race, and she credited her wax-tech team for her fantastic result. Her teammate Sadie Bjornsen struggled with some tactical errors that left her poorly positioned on the first lap. She was then involved in a crash and burnt too many matches battling to make it to the front, yet she was still fighting for a top 10 in the overall.
Canada’s Harvey, 29, stormed to his first podium of the season, claiming a brilliant bronze in the men’s 15km Classic mass-start race, which was won by Alexey Poltoranin with one stage remaining in the Tour.
It was Harvey’s first podium in a Classic event since the 2015 Nordic Worlds. The Canuck was at the front of a large pack for the first 10 kilometres and then broke away with a group of five on the penultimate lap, and remained in fourth overall heading into the final stage.
Stage Seven – Val di Fiemme, Italy – 9/9km Freestyle Pursuit
The U.S.A.’S Diggins captured historic bronze on the slopes of the alpine ski hill Alpe Cermis, becoming the first American to finish on the final podium at the Tour de Ski. Sadie Bjornsen placed ninth – the first time two Americans have cracked the top 10.
Weng of Norway overtook her teammate Oestberg on the steep upper section of Alpe Cermis to claim her second-straight Tour de Ski title by 48.5 seconds.
Diggins started the race 10 seconds back from Parmakoski, and as they neared the start of the climb, she began to close the gap, attacking on the steepest part of the Alpe Cermis to solidify her podium position. American athletes Liz Stephen and Brennan also had a strong race, and wrapped up the Tour with the fifth- and 16th-fastest stage times.
Harvey became the first Canadian to finish on the final podium at cross-country-skiing’s famed Tour de Ski, fulfilling a long-term goal of the Canadian team. The 29-year-old finished third overall behind Tour winner Cologna, who claimed his fourth overall title.
Harvey tackled the nine-kilometre stage with the final three-kilometre climb up Alpe Cermis that maxes out at 28%, battling with Norway’s Johnsrud Sundby for the silver medal. The Canuck was ecstatic to land on the podium after several years of coming up short, earning the 26th World Cup podium of his career.
The U.S.A.'S Erik Bjornsen was a record 20th overall before departing the Tour after Stage Five to prepare for upcoming races.
The U.S.A.'S Patrick Caldwell completed his first Tour, finishing 38th. Canada's Harvey (r) claimed bronze in the men's 15km Classic mass-start for his first podium of the season.
American Rosie Brennan wrapped up her Tour, finishing 24th overall.
The U.S.A.'S Sadie Bjornsen skied to a career-first distance podium, placing third in the women's 10km Classic.
American Sophie Caldwell took home a career-best second in the women's freestyle sprint on Stage One.
Switzerland's Dario Cologna won a record fourth TDS title.
Alex Harvey claimed Canada's first-ever final TDS podium, finishing third overall in the men's race.
Jessie Diggins became the first American to land on the TDS final podium, taking third overall in the women's race.
American Liz Stephen completed her final Tour ranked 16th, having held the previous U.S. record of 5th overall.
Historic final women's overall TDS podium (l-r) Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg 2nd, Heidi Weng 1st, Jessie Diggins 3rd
Men's historic final overall TDS podium (l-r) Martin Johnsrud Sundby 2nd, Dario Cologna 1st, Alex Harvey 3rd.