On the last day of the Tour de Ski, every gram and every ounce of strength the athletes still have in their bodies counts. After a lap on the way to the Lago di Tesero cross-country skiing stadium and Alba Cermis, the final climb awaits. You'll run and sometimes climb the “Olympia III” downhill ski slope. Expect a gradient of up to 28 percent. Theresa Stadtlober says after her fifth place finish at the Classic Mass start: “There is only a full attack – from those who come up for the overall ranking and those who want to win tomorrow.” Styrian mica, for example, has it. Except for Vermeulen. Gentlemen go first and their turn at 2:30 p.m. Stadtlober says, “They're going to have a harder time, and they're going to get out of our way.” Because, like the mass start, snow is forecast. “So it's definitely not going to be fast and it's definitely not going to be perfect.” Earlier in the day, only essential items were given to fill the storage tanks. Before the start, Stadtlober indulges in gels and sports drinks. “Then we can party, and none of us will do anything on Monday.”
It becomes a matter of mind
Even if you can no longer walk on a sliding step in some sections, the material is important. “It's especially important in situations like this.” Skiing on the first part of the Alpe Cermis is still done using a technique and “otherwise you'll be standing between the gates with bad skis”. The slope does not go straight up; Directional gates are always set. “It's in over your head and everybody's tired now.”
Stadtlober was satisfied with fifth place in the mass start. Before the Tour she had a podium finish in this race in particular. “Of course it doesn't matter, the women's field is very close.” With the good thing, he always ran 15 kilometers in a good condition. At the top of the last ridge she had to avoid a collision with Joanna Sandling and lost a few meters. On the home straight there was fresh snow across the tracks and the pace was slow despite the enormous effort. “The level is very high. I am now tenth in the overall ranking and very happy. Lynn Swann won the day ahead of her compatriot Frida Carlson (SWE). The overall ranking is led by American Jessie Diggins.
Vermeulen in 39th place at the mass start
Due to the snow, the men's race was significantly slower than last year, with a winning time of 50:50 minutes (Glebo 39:59). A large field came up the final climb and there was a clash. Swiss Citril Fandrich attacked first and left with two Eric Walnes (NOR) and William Boroma (SWE). Norway pushed hard. Vermeulen crossed the finish line in 39th place.