The 13th edition of the International Ski Federation Cross-Country Tour de Ski has begun with men’s and women’s sprint action in Toblach.
The seven-day event, part of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup and featuring seven stages, will eventually see the men cover almost 81 kilometres, while the women will total almost 61km.
Taking home the spoils from today’s first stage in Italy were Stina Nilsson from Sweden on the women’s side and Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo on the men’s.
After a day of qualifying, the 2018 Olympic sprint champion Nilsson took the win on the women’s 1.3km course in 2min 36.26sec, ahead of compatriot Ida Ingemarsdotter and Jessica Diggins from the United States.
Ingemarsdotter, winner of a World Championship gold medal in 2011 in the team sprint event, finished exactly three second back, while Diggins, part of the US team that won Olympic team sprint gold at Pyeongchang 2018, finished a further seven-hundredths of a second back in third.
Last year’s overall winner, Heidi Weng from Norway, finished way down in 42nd place.
In the men’s event, triple Olympic champion Johannes Høsflot Klæbo continued his dominance of the sprints to win in 2:17.99, but it was by no means easy.
He finished ahead of two Frenchmen by just 0.34 and 0.39 seconds respectively.
Taking second place was Richard Jouve, with2016 under-23 world champion Lucas Chanavat claiming third.
The Tour is due to continue tomorrow in Val di Fiemme, also in Italy, with stage two, a 10km freestyle race for the women and a 15km contest for the men.