Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) finished fifth overall at the 2015 FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski. (Getty/Bongarts-Matthias Hangst)
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (December, 31 2015) - January 1 marks the 10th anniversary of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski presented by Craft Sportswear. This nine day, seven-stage event is a whirlwind of competitive competition and grueling courses between three different countries, January 1-10. Not only does this event test the endurance of the athletes, but also the wax technicians. Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) will be gunning for a podium finish this season, after finishing fifth overall in the last year's Tour de Ski, the best result every by an American in the multi-stage event.
One unique aspect of the Tour de Ski is that overall winners of the Tour do not necessarily need to win a single stage. In 2015, Norway’s Martin Sundby claimed the crown of the Tour de Ski without winning a single stage due to his consistent performance throughout the multi-stage event.
Lenzerheide will play host to the opening races of the Tour de Ski, which include a 1.5k freestyle sprint on January 1st, a 30/15k classic mass start January 2 and a 10/5k freestyle pursuit January 3.
With one day of recovery and travel, the teams head to Oberstdorf, Germany for a 10/5k skiathlon and classic sprint, January 5 and 6, then Toblach, Italy for a 10/5k freestyle race, January 8. The Tour de Ski concludes in Val di Fiemme with a 15/10k classic mass start on January 9 and the demanding 9k Alpe Cermis hill climb on the 10.
Justyna Kowalczyk has more overall Tour wins than any other athlete with four.
Dario Cologna has the most overall wins of the Tour de Ski for the men with three.
Among women, Norway has the most podium places overall in the Tour de Ski with nine.
Norway’s Petter Northug has the most Tour de Ski stage podiums, with 29 for the men and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk has 28 for the women.
Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) finished fifth overall in the 2015 Tour de Ski, the best result every by an American in the multi-stage event.
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) is the defending champion of the Lenzerheide freestyle sprint race from 2013.
Starters for the U.S. Cross Country A and B teams for the Tour de Ski include: Liz Stephen, Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA), Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis, MN), Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT), Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT), Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) and Simi Hamilton.
QUOTES Matt Whitcomb, women's cross country coach The team is healthy and ready to take on the Tour. We're coming off of a good holiday preparation camp in which everyone tapered a bit. More than ever, this is a team that believes it will succeed.
STREAMING SCHEDULE (times EST)
Friday, Jan. 1 9:55 a.m. – Men’s and Women’s 1.5k freestyle sprint finals NBC Live Extra – LIVE STREAM
Saturday, Jan. 2 7:00 a.m. – Women’s 15k classic mass start 9:00 a.m. – Men’s 30k classic mass start