Eve of 2016 Tour de Ski: Whom and How to Watch

BrainspiralDecember 31, 2015

For the 10th straight year, the World Cup is going on a major tour. The 2016 edition of the Tour de Ski starts Friday, with eight races in 10 days. Racers will compete in three countries and four different venues, and if they complete the tour, they will have done five skate races (including two sprints), three mass starts and two pursuits — ending with a final 9-kilometer hill climb.

While it’s a lot to keep track of from a viewing standpoint, think of what the athletes, their teams and even the organizers have ahead of them. FasterSkier will be on site to report from two of three stops on the tour (in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and Obertsdorf, Germany), and NBC plans to stream the races live from NBC Live Extra (subscribe and watch online) and broadcast on TV via the Universal HD channel (4:30 Eastern time Friday for the opening stage in Lenzerheide).

Follow FasterSkier’s live updates during the races on Twitter and check our home page for comprehensive reports.


The races: (all start times converted to Eastern time)

  1. Friday, Jan. 1 (Lenzerheide, Switzerland): freestyle sprint (heats start at 9:55 a.m. ET)
  2. Saturday, Jan. 2 (Lenzerheide): 15/30 k classic mass start (7/9 a.m. ET)
  3. Sunday, Jan. 3 (Lenzerheide): 5/10 k freestyle pursuit (5:45/7:20 a.m. ET)
  4. Tuesday, Jan. 5 (Oberstdorf, Germany): classic sprint (8:30 a.m. ET)
  5. Wednesday, Jan. 6 (Oberstdorf): 10/15 k classic mass start (8:20/9:20 a.m. ET)
  6. Friday, Jan. 8 (Toblach, Italy): 5/10 k freestyle (5:30/7:30 a.m. ET)
  7. Saturday, Jan. 9 (Val di Fiemme, Italy): 10/15 k classic mass start (6:30/8:30 a.m. ET)
  8. Sunday, Jan. 10 (Val di Fiemme, Italy): 9 k freestyle pursuit (hill climb) (8/9:40 a.m. ET)


The players:

Last season’s winners: Marit Bjørgen, Martin Johnsrud Sundby (both of Norway).

Bjørgen is out this year as she gave birth to her first child (a boy!) on Dec. 26. Sundby has won the Tour de Ski (TdS) twice and last year’s runner-up Therese Johaug, who currently leads the World Cup overall standings (along with Sundby) won the TdS in 2014.


Wondering which skiers will be doing the 2016 Tour? We’ve compiled a list of several (but not all) national-team rosters below:



  • Liz Stephen
  • Rosie Brennan
  • Caitlin Gregg
  • Jessie Diggins
  • Sadie Bjornsen
  • Sophie Caldwell*
  • Ida Sargent*


  • Noah Hoffman
  • Erik Bjornsen
  • Simi Hamilton*
  • Andy Newell*

*Will likely end Tour after second Obertsdorf race (fifth stage on Jan. 6) or after Toblach race in order to prepare for World Cup in Planica, Slovenia (Jan. 16-17), according to U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover.



  • Ivan Babikov
  • Alex Harvey
  • Devon Kershaw
  • Len Valjas*

*Plans to end Tour after Obertsdorf, according to Canadian National Team Head Coach Justin Wadsworth

Graeme Killick, who was originally slated to race in the entire Tour, recently withdrew due to illness, according to a Cross Country Canada press release. Kershaw is competing in his 10th Tour de Ski.

In the first stage of the inaugural Tour de Ski in 2006, Kershaw reached the podium (in second in Munich, Germany). At the 2011 stage in Toblach, Italy, Kershaw won his first-ever World Cup.

“The Tour de Ski is a competition that’s so near and dear to my heart. I can’t believe that this is my 10th Tour de Ski start,” he said in the press release. “To have so many disciplines and distances all combined together to find the best overall skier over a 10-day period makes the Tour de Ski unique.”

Meanwhile, five Canadian women and three men will race the OPA Cup Jan. 8-10 in Planica, Slovenia, as part of the U25 B-Tour. Those athletes include World Cup skiers Emily Nishikawa and Jess Cockney, NorAm leader Dahria Beatty, Katherine Stewart-Jones, Maya MacIsaac-Jones, Cendrine Browne, Knute Johnsgaard, and Andy Shields.




  • Maiken Caspersen Falla
  • Therese Johaug
  • Heidi Weng
  • Ingvild Flugstad Østberg
  • Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen
  • Kari Øyre Slind
  • Ragnhild Haga


  • Martin Johnsrud Sundby
  • Petter Northug
  • Niklas Dyrhaug
  • Didrik Tønseth
  • Anders Gløersen
  • Finn Hågen Krogh
  • Hans Christer Holund
  • Sjur Røthe
  • Emil Iversen
  • Sondre Turvoll Fossli

Norwegian National Team Director Vidar Løfshus on selecting 17 athletes (10 men and seven women) to the Tour de Ski team: “It has been a very challenging process to select the team. We have probably never had a team with this many skiers who have a potential to podium in the overall Tour de Ski. At the same time, we have given special consideration to those who have a chance at winning the overall World Cups, and accordingly, there are several well qualified skiers who were not named to the team this time.

“Skiers such as Maiken Caspersen Falla and Sondre Turvoll Fossli are not intending to complete the entire Tour. As mentioned, the bar for making the team has been incredibly high. We have considered skiers with top-10 World Cup finishes within reach, and skiers who have a shot at winning one of the overall World Cups, which means that there is a discrepancy between the number of male and female team members.

“It is particularly exciting that Emil Iversen from the national development team and Kari Øyre Slind from the regional development project Team Veidekke Trøndelag have performed at such a level that they are qualified for the 2016 Tour de Ski squad. Both are rookies to the Tour de Ski.”




  • Simon Andersson
  • Emil Jönsson
  • Martin Johansson
  • Teodor Peterson
  • Anders Svanebo
  • Oskar Svensson
  • Carl Quicklund

According to Langrenn, Calle Halfvarsson is out


  • Hanna Falk
  • Anna Haag
  • Ida Ingemarsdotter
  • Charlotte Kalla
  • Stina Nilsson
  • Maria Rydqvist
  • Evelina Settlin
  • Emma Wiken




  • Anastasia Dotsenko
  • Alisa Zhambalova
  • Natalia Iljina
  • Polina Kalsina
  • Natalia Matveeva
  • Anna Pvalyaeva
  • Olga Repnitsyna
  • Elena Soboleva
  • Daria Storozhilova


  • Alexander Legkov
  • Sergey Ustiugov
  • Evgeniy Belov
  • Maxim Vylegzhanin
  • Ilia Chernousov
  • Alexander Bessmertnykh
  • Stanislav Volzhentsev
  • Konstantin Glavatskikh
  • Andrey Larkov




  • Ristomatti Hakola
  • Matti Heikkinen
  • Sami Jauhojärvi
  • Martti Jylhä
  • Iivo Niskanen
  • Ville Nousiainen
  • Anssi Pentsinen


  • Anne Kyllönen
  • Laura Mononen
  • Kerttu Niskanen
  • Krista Pärmäkoski
  • Susanna Saapunki




  • Dario Cologna
  • Curdin Perl
  • Toni Livers
  • Jovian Hediger
  • Roman Furger
  • Gianluca Cologna
  • Jöri Kindschi
  • Roman Schaad
  • Ueli Schnider


  • Nathalie von Siebenthal
  • Seraina Boner
  • Laurien van der Graaff
  • Heidi Widmer




  • Maurice Manificat
  • Jean-Marc Gaillard
  • Robin Duvillard
  • Adrien Backscheider
  • Ivan Perrillat Boiteux
  • Baptiste Gros
  • Renaud Jay


  • Anouk Faivre-Picon
  • Coraline Thomas Hugue




  • Federico Pellegrino
  • Dietmar Noeckler
  • Francesco De Fabiani
  • Roland Clara
  • Maicol Rastelli
  • Mattia Pellegrin
  • Simone Urbani
  • Giandomenico Salvadori


  • Ilaria Debertolis
  • Virginia De Martin Topranin
  • Gaia Vuerich
  • Debora Agreiter
  • Lucia Scardoni
  • Greta Laurent




  • Lucia Anger
  • Stefanie Böhler
  • Nicole Fessel
  • Denise Herrmann
  • Hanna Kolb
  • Sandra Ringwald
  • Monique Siegel


  • Thomas Bing
  • Lucas Bögl
  • Jonas Dobler
  • Sebastian Eisenlauer
  • Andreas Katz
  • Andy Kühne
  • Florian Notz

Fessel is a question mark, after suffering a cold over the holidays with the team manager Andreas Schlütter telling Germany’s DSV, “We hope she can go into the opening race on New Year’s Day.”

“Unfortunately I caught a cold just before the season highlight,” Fessel said. “Until Wednesday before Christmas I was able to train well in Toblach, then first signs of a cold manifested with a sore throat. My plan was to prepare intensively for the Tour in the past week. Instead I had to abstain from training for a whole week.”

In a non-World Championships season, Fessel explained the Tour is the highlight, especially with two stages at home in Germany.

“Those are my most important competitions this year. I wanted to show the best possible performance in front of family and friends,” she said. “Instead I now have to hope that I will be fit in time and able to start.”

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