Wednesday, January 19

The madness and excitement must return. Here is our dream tour

When the Tour de Ski is to be arranged in the championship-free season 2023/2024, it should look completely different than today. Scrap all plans, find your way back to madness and “make the Tour de Ski great again”. Here is Petter & Petter’s dream tour!

Compared to the glory days, the program in this season’s edition of the Tour de Ski is one big yawn. Admittedly, it is more exciting in the women’s class than ever before, but it should now strictly be lacking when the time in the summary has only just passed the hour in what they put out on the last stage in Val di Fiemme.

Here goes Russia’s shooting star Northug’s relay school

The only thing that would have been worse than this year’s tour program would have been a one-year break, which after all was the option with such an early Olympic start in Beijing.

What really happened to the Tour de Ski? Where did the spectacular stages go? What happened to the city sprints and the long races? Where did the introductory prologue and joint starts get filled with bonus seconds? Why are all races clinically the same as they otherwise are in the World Cup every weekend, with the final alpine slope as an honorable exception?

This is not the Tour de Ski that took the cross-country skiing community and audience by storm. This is not the tour we fell in love with. So we had something that worked, and then we ended up further and further away from the success formula. This is no longer possible. Something has to be done. The madness and excitement must return.

Here is our dream tour!

In the 2023/2024 season, the Tour de Ski should start with a 3.75 and 5 kilometer prologue in the biathlon mecca Oberhof on Sunday 17 December. Early start gives a good distance to the championship in all other years, and the cross-country sport also takes hold of the TV route at Christmas time. Two and a half hours east of Oberhof you will find Dresden, where the tour in the evening the next day should have its first of several city sprinters in the evening.

– Please. Now you have to fight!

Barely two hours southeast of Dresden you will find the World Cup city from 2009, Liberec, and a little further south they have previously had Tour de Ski stages in Nove Mesto. We let the Czechs argue about the tour’s first distance race, a classic distance race. Ideally, this can be a hunting start, to contribute to the greatest possible excitement in the summary.

In the middle between Liberec and Nove Mesto is Prague, which gets the honor of having the tour’s second city sprint – in classic style. Cross-country skiing is strong in the Czech Republic and here the Czechs will have a city party in one of Europe’s most popular capitals. Prague has streets, parks and bridges that can give the tour another spectacular stage. This city sprint will of course also take place in the afternoon / evening.

– Seriously for cross-country skiing if only the World Cup and the Olympics matter

From Prague there are both planes, trains and roads to the south of Europe, and before the next stage the circus must be moved to Italy and Toblach. There you should have a short classic race, more specifically 5/10 kilometers with individual start, before one of the tour’s real classics. The long run from the Olympic city of Cortina to Toblach must be part of the tour. Talk about Christmas gifts for both performers and audiences!

From Toblach to the jumping city of Innsbruck it is not a long way. After a short train or car ride, the athletes are ready for the tour’s final city sprint. This also includes Austria in the Tour de Ski, which has been too limited to a few countries. Seefeld is also a good alternative here.

From Austria, it is not far to the World Cup trails in Oberstdorf, which will of course be part of the fun. Here it is well arranged for a 15/20 kilometer joint start with ski change, an exercise that should be accommodated in the tour. Here, too, you should be able to pick bonus seconds along the way, perhaps also for the fastest ski change? Tour de Ski needs excitement and show!

Do not have time for the Tour de Ski

Switzerland belongs in the Tour de Ski, and the first place that should get tour stages in Switzerland is Val Müstair. That’s where tour king Dario Cologna grew up. Why not honor him with the Cologna Classic, a classic joint start over 10/15 kilometers. Dario deserved it!

The closing weekend in Val di Fiemme is always exciting. Back will be the long classic joint start which in several cases has decided the tour. Tired athletes will be asked for bonus seconds along the way and at the finish line, and the lubricators will get one last proper test of the adhesive on the sun slope at Lago di Tesero.

The only positive thing about this year’s edition of the Tour de Ski is the final monster slope. With so few races, it basically means far too much for the summary to belong in a mini tour, as this year’s Tour de Ski is, but in our dream tour it is of course included. The entertainment value is huge and so are the TV numbers.

The ground specialists get their chance to shine with the New Year’s rockets on the last day of the year, and when the winner crosses the finish line in the floodlights on the alpine slope, Val di Fiemme will be filled with fireworks!

Petter & Petter’s dream tour:
December 17: 3.75 / 5 kilometer prologue freestyle, Oberhof
December 18: City sprint freestyle, Dresden
December 19: Rest / transport
December 20: 10/15 kilometer classic hunt start, Liberec / Nove Mesto
December 21: City Sprint Classic, Prague
December 22: Rest / transport
December 23: 5/10 km classic, Toblach
December 24: 35 km freestyle hunting start, Cortina-Toblach
December 25: Rest / transport
December 26: Sprint freestyle, Innsbruck
December 27: 15/20 km joint start with ski change, Oberstdorf
December 28: 10/15 km classic joint start, Val Müstair
December 29: Rest / transport
December 30: 20/30 km joint start classic, Val di Fiemme
December 31: Monsterbakken, Val di Fiemme

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