One of the highlights of the cross-country skiing season, the 2022-23 Tour de Ski kicks off in Val Muestair, Switzerland on New Year’s Eve.
Reigning Men’s Champion Johannes Klaebo he will strongly desire to keep his crown while Jessie Diggins is fighting to regain the title she won two years ago when she became the first non-European winner of the Tour de Ski.
Skiers will take part in seven stages with just two days of rest, culminating on the famous steep and grueling Alpe Cermis Mass start on the final climb in Val di Fiemme.
17. Tour de Ski is the first in which men and women will race for equal distances after the FIS made all World Cup races the same length for all genders.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about this year’s Tour de Ski, including the full schedule and skiers to watch.
When is the Tour de Ski 2022-23?
The 2022-23 Tour de Ski will start with a freestyle sprint at Val Mustair in Switzerland on Saturday, December 31, 2022.
Skiers have two races in Val Muestair and then two in Oberstdorf in Germany before finishing with three at Val di Fiemme in Italy.
The final mass start of the Final Climb Alpe Cermis freestyle will take place on Sunday, January 8, 2023.
2022-23 Tour de Ski format
While Tour de Ski races are FIS Cross Country World Cup events with a standard scoring system, the overall classification of the Tour de Ski itself is decided on time like the Tour de France cycling race on which it is based.
Time bonuses are awarded for both sprint stages (stage 1 and 3) – 60 seconds to the winner up to four for finishing last in the quarter-finals – which are subtracted from the total time.
At the mass start of Stage 6 is located intermediate sprint with the leader at the moment, gaining 15 extra seconds to one second for 10th place.
The leader of the general classification wears yellow bibagain like the yellow jersey of the Tour de France.
There is also a standing point for the best sprinter, and the winner receives a red bib.
Finally there is a team competition where the times of the top two athletes of each gender and country in each stage are added together.
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Skiers to watch
The sprint king started the season under a cloud of injury with damage to the tendon that connects the tendon in his right leg to the pelvic muscles.
Despite not being able to train as much as usual, five-time Olympic gold medalist Klæbo managed to start his World Cup campaign with a bang with three wins in the opening weekend in Ruka, Finland.
A week later, the Norwegian had to miss the 10km freestyle in Lillehammer before claiming another sprint victory.
Illness caused Klaebo to miss two races at Beitostølen, but returned at Davos earlier this month (December 17) to finish second in the sprint behind the Italian veteran Federico Pellegrino and fifth in the 20 km freestyle race.
While his goal for this season is the 2023 World Championships in Planica, Slovenia in late February, it would be foolish to bet against the 26-year-old Norwegian to win his third Tour de Ski title.
Jessie Diggins: ‘I’m really good at suffering for a long time’
Diggins is still rewriting the history books and her 20k freestyle victory last Sunday in Davos was watched by an American The number of World Cup victories is 14more than any other U.S. cross-country skier.
It was her second win of the season, putting her second overall in the World Cup. The day before she finished second in the sprint behind the Swiss Nadine Faehdrich.
The 31-year-old from Minnesota made headlines when she and Kikkan Randall – whose record for World Cup victories was broken in Davos – won gold in the team sprint at PyeongChang 2018, winning Team USA’s first-ever cross-country skiing title.
But she has proven over the years that she is just as proficient over longer distances and has successfully lobbied to extend the length of the women’s World Cup races to match the men’s.
And with last year’s winner Natalia Nepryaeva absent due to the Russian ban, Diggins is one of the favorites for this year’s title.
Klæbo runs a strong Norwegian men’s team in the Tour de Ski, although it is Paul Golberg who currently leads the overall ranking of the World Cup.
The 32-year-old has been exceptionally consistent this season, finishing in the top six in every race and winning two of them: the 20km mass run in Lillehammer and the 10km classic in Beitostolen.
And despite the absence of Davos due to a cold, Golberg has an advantage over the distance and in the overall World Cup standings.
In his two previous Tour de Ski appearances, he finished sixth in the 2019-20 season and fifth last year.
This time it is expected to be better, although he will face many rivals from his own Klæbo team, Simen Hegstad Kruger, Hans Holund and Sjur Rothe sweeping the podium in the last race before Christmas.
Consistency matters a lot in Tour de Ski i Tiril Weng she’s been showing off a lot lately.
Although the Norwegian has yet to claim an individual World Cup victory, she has finished in the top nine in all races this season, five of which on the podium.
The 26-year-old finished only 10th in her third Tour de Ski last year, but she is second in the World Cup rankings for distance and is the leader of the World Cup in sprint.
Only two points ahead of her in the distance class is her teammate Anna Kalwa who has a breakthrough year at the age of 30.
At least three members of the Weng family and twin sister Tirila will participate in the game Lotte and her third cousin, a two-time Tour de Ski winner Heidi Wengalso in the queue.
Great Britain may not be one of the greatest powers of cross-country skiing, but Andrew Musgrave has challenged podium finishes over the last six or seven years.
The 32-year-old was fourth in the 50km mass start at the 2017 World Championships and seventh in the 30km skiathlon in PyeongChang 2018.
Long distances are his specialty, four-time Olympian Musgrave for the first time in five years he stood on the podium of the World Cup when he finished third in the 10k breaststroke race in Beitostolen, Norway earlier this month.
He currently sits fourth in the World Cup distance standings and looks set to improve on his Tour de Ski best of 15th in 2018.
With two 20k wins this season, Frida Karlsson seems to be one of the top contenders for this edition of the Tour de Ski.
Three-time junior world champion Karlsson has long been touted for big things.
And the 23-year-old returned to where she left off last season when she finished runner-up in the World Cup long distance and topped the U-23 World Cup standings.
Teammate Ebba Andersson is another competitor to watch after defeating Karlsson on the opening weekend of the campaign in the 10k breaststroke in Ruka, Finland.
With three podium finishes to her name this season, Andersson will be looking to complete her full Tour de Ski finish lineup after finishing third in the 2020-21 season and second last time.
While neither skier is particularly suited to sprint racing, both should do well in the overall standings with their ability over longer distances.
Full 2022-23 Tour de Ski schedule
Val Muestair, Switzerland
Stage 1 – Saturday, December 31, 2022 – women’s 1.5 km freestyle sprint, men’s 1.5 km freestyle sprint.
Stage 2 – Sunday, January 1, 2023 – women’s 10 km classic style, men’s 10 km classic.
Stage 3 – Tuesday, January 3, 2023 – women’s 10 km interval race, classic style, men’s 10 km interval race.
Stage 4 – Wednesday 4 January 2023 – Men’s 20km freestyle, women’s 20km freestyle.
Val di Fiemme, Italy
Stage 5 – Friday, January 6, 2023 – women’s 1.5 km breaststroke sprint, men’s 1.5 km breaststroke sprint.
Stage 6 – Saturday, January 7, 2023 – women’s mass run 15 km breaststroke, men’s mass run 15 km breaststroke.
Stage 7 – Sunday, January 8, 2023 – Women’s 9 km mass run freestyle, men’s 9 km mass run.
Full schedule and results can be found here.
How to watch Tour de Ski 2022/23
The Cross-Country World Cup multi-stage event will be broadcast by FIS partners and will be available on digital live streaming in multiple territories.
In Europe, the action will be available on Eurosport.