Four down, four to go – time to make some thoughts about Tour de Ski. Is the thrill still on top?
In the warm up for the fifth Tour de Ski, Lukas Bauer was announced as the absolute favourite in the men’s class. Concidering last year’s triumph and the victory in 2008, Bauer was to become the first to take the hat-trick in the ultimate stage race of cross-country. The truth halfway on the Tour is 1.51 behind a capacity phenomenon from Switzerland.
Rivella in Oberstdorf
Dario Cologna had a rather late debut in cross-country skiing, and thought the sport was terribly hard. Today, he has an Olympic gold medal stored in his house in Davos. Dario’s favourite food is Italian, and he doesn’t say no, thanks to a glass of Rivella, this odd Swiss soft drink with milk powder. His favourite race is Tour de Ski.
Fight to the top
Cologna is now the leader of the Tour, 40 seconds ahead of the black horse Devon Kershaw. Favourite in advance Bauer is at 8th place. But the Tour is not over yet, from the next stage in Toblach to the top of alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme, several victories and bonus seconds are handed out. That's a fact in which Bauer puts his trust. As well as Alexander Legkov. And Petter Northug, we choose to believe.
The Norwegians still cling to the hope of seeing their star dive over the finish line, totally exhausted, but for his first time winner of Tour de Ski. It might remain just a dream, because the ones in the best shape sometimes win no matter style nor distance. If so, Cologna will be hard to beat.
Someone living up to expectations, is Justyna Kowalczyk. In the absence of Marit Bjørgen, the Polish girl is playing with her competitors. She is well trained and simply has the capacity needed to ski fast. That's why she is found among the best ones on the scoreboard after every race.
Sprint, two distance races and Grande Finale in Val di Fiemme. Swiss determination versus Czeck experience. To remove lactate or not to remove lactate, that’s the question.