VAL DI FIEMME (VG) Some profiles in the ski community believe that the Tour de Ski has disappeared.
“Where did the madness go? Where’s the show? What do we really want with cross-country skiing’s response to the Tour de France?” ask tv 2s expert Peter Skinstad.
‘The magic is gone. The spectacular has been removed. International cross-country skiing will be missing out on the fantastic thing that was created in 2006 and that elevates this sport”, wrote sports commentator Birger Løfaldli di Adressa.
He discusses how the Tour de Ski became a popular innovation in skiing when it was launched, and how its status has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
This season’s edition has no races longer than 10/15 kilometers, and only one of the six races starts individually. The tour will consist of two fewer stages than before, as the Olympics start on February 4.
“The Tour de Ski has become less important. For runners and for spectators. At this rate, sponsors may think the same”, wrote Løfaldli.
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo will give up in a second if he feels negative about the Olympics. Frida Karlsson announced early on that she could be out – something she also did after a tough time penalty.
Klæbo was faced with the signal he sent with his statement.
– The Tour de Ski hangs high, but there are Olympics every four years and a World Cup every year. It goes without saying that the tour will never have the same status as the Olympics, said Klæbo in Oberstdorf adding that “Plan A must be implemented”.
This year, as before, a group of runners had failed: 86 women and 111 men started the first stage at Lenzerheide. For the penultimate stage, 52 women and 64 men were on the initial list.
Cannons like Therese Johaug, Hans Christer Holund and Sergej Ustjugov did not go on tour at all.
Britain’s Andrew Musgrave, an outsider for medals at the Olympics, experiences that the Tour de Ski has greater status than a regular World Cup.
– But whether it was as big as 10-15 years ago, I’m not sure, Musgrave told VG.
He even withdrew from the tour last year, something he regrets. Musgrave thinks practitioners need to do more to improve the product.
– We definitely have responsibilities. If more people say that is the goal, the media and the public will be more interested. I think when you start a tour you should try to finish and not say “it doesn’t mean much”, said Musgrave.
– I don’t think the tour comes too close to the championship. “I don’t know exactly what FIS will do to finish the biggest star,” he said.
VG confronted Pierre Mignerey, race director of the International Ski Federation (FIS), about whether the Tour de Ski had lost its status.
– I think we have had a lot of good competition so far and the excitement is alive. But no matter how we plan, not everyone will be happy. That’s how it is for us, Mignerey said.
– What do you think of the many maturities along the way, and the profiles that say they’re considering leaving?
– We have to respect that. This tour is very difficult with many stages in a short time and the last stage is tiring. We’re not here to force anyone to leave, Mignerey replied.
Swedish ski hero Johan Olsson understands that the FIS is getting narrower, but he clearly needs more long-distance running.
“My opinion is that the tour has been too monotonous in recent years, because the FIS’ fear scares the biggest stars. There are no long races or hunts to start and starting together on the last day reduces the risk that the tour will be too difficult and the stars don’t take it. risk of championship medals due to participation in the tour “, Olsson writes in Swedish Express.