Federico Pellegrino loaded for the Tour de Ski

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The words of Federico Pellegrino

The 18th edition of the Tour de Ski opens on Saturday, Dec. 30, with a sprint in free technique inside the Nordic Arena in Toblach, in the province of Bolzano, the first act of a triptych in Pustertal, which will be followed by the stage in Davos (Switzerland) that will precede the final act in Val di Fiemme (Trento).

The Italian snows will thus host five of the total seven stages of the 2023/24 Tour de Ski, and the opening round will greatly whet the appetite of Federico Pellegrino, who leads the group of 21 Italians (12 men and 9 women) summoned to take on the stage tour on narrow skis.
In last year’s edition, Federico Pellegrino finished fourth in the overall standings.

“Today we had a classic pre-race on the Dobbiaco track – are the words of the champion from Nus – The Tour de Ski opens with a format favorable to me, although it will be a tricky race. The Dobbiaco è course is optimal for hosting a sprint and the pretenders are numerous. There will be several pitfalls to manage”.

So far in the season Federico Pellegrino has come close to a podium finish in the inaugural sprint in Ruka (in classic) while in the subsequent sprint in Trondheim (skating) he did not make an impact. Now the Tour de Ski effort is on the horizon.

“I am out of the’flu that hit me in mid-December and I am curious to see how I’ll do as early as tomorrow. But I’ll give it my all because I’m really enjoying the Tour de Ski calendar with two sprints in free technique, the individual trials in classic and the chases that put me in the spotlight last year. And then the final-climb on Cermis in which I have defended myself quite well lately.
My intention è to start well from the first leg, trying to replace question marks with exclamation points”.

There have been several dropouts in recent days, including Finland’s Iivo Niskanen, France’s Richard Jouve and Norway’s Simen Krüger. Today è also came the news of Johannes Kläbo’s Covid positivity, which means he will have to forfeit a Tour de Ski that has seen him win on three occasions, including the last two editions held.

“There will be several absentees, true. Honestly, I think it was foreseeable: I always thought that four consecutive race weekends in the cold northern weather can be demanding on the body, which is likely to weaken. That’s precisely why I had preemptively decided to forgo the second race weekend, but it è didn’t help because I got sick anyway”.

In any case, I do not think about who is not there’è but I stay focused on myself. The real challenge è always to give 100 percent and only then look to others”.

As anticipated, there are 21 overall Azzurri engaged in the Tour de Ski, in detail in addition to Pellegrino will be at the start Francesco De Fabiani, Giacomo Gabrielli, Paolo Ventura, Davide Graz, Simone Daprà, Elia Barp, Alessandro Chiocchetti, Dietmar Noeckler, Giandomenico Salvadori, Martino Carollo and Michael Hellweger in the men’s field, Francesca Franchi, Caterina Ganz, Anna Comarella, Nadine Laurent, Martina Di Centa, Iris De Martin Pinter, Federica Cassol, Federica Sanfilippo and Nicole Monsorno in the women’s races.

Already, the opening act arouses the curiosity of the absolute debut in the highest circuit of Cuneo’s Carollo, fresh from his success in the Fesa Cup in Austria’s St. Ullrich am Pillersee; World Cup debuts also for Federica Cassol, Naudine Laurent and Iris De Martin Pinter.

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