Two countries, three localities, eight race days and nine Czech skiers. Tour de Ski 2021 starts on 1st January and reaches its pitch by traditional climbing to Alpe Cermis 10 days later. In the opening stage there will be participating five Czech women and four Czech men.
Prestigious multi-stage race starts in Val Müstair where at 1.700 metres the skiers will race in three stages – sprint, 10/15 classic with mass start and 10/15 free pursuit. We expect nine Czech participants in the start list – Michal Novák, Petr Knopp, Adam Fellner, Ondřej Černý, Kateřina Razýmová, Kateřina Janatová, Petra Nováková, Petra Hynčicová a Tereza Beranová. Sprinters Černý and Beranová will leave the group after the first stage and the rest will continue for total standing.
"Tour is physically extraordinarily difficult and the start in 1.700m only increases the load," the Czech national team coach Vasil Husák explains why our pure sprinters will not continue the race.
"Tour will be interesting right from the first stage because the trail of sprint is very attractive in Switzerland. Concerning the height I believe those who come to Tour in a good form, they won’t have any troubles up there," says Jan Franc, women’s coach.
Tour later moves from Switzerland to Italian Toblach where the races take place on 5th and 6th January. On programme there is firstly 10/15km free and one day later 10/15km classic pursuit. Tour de Ski traditionally culminates in Val di Fiemme. From 8th to 10th January the skiers will race in 10/15km with mass start, sprint and finally 10km stage free technique that is finished by 3.5km climbing with 420m vertical drop.
"We’re not fixated only to one race but we mind mainly the total standings. I believe Katka Razýmová can attach top 10. If Katka Janatová succeeds to reach top 20, it’d be great. All women are able to race to top 30, so all point places," Jan Franc says.
"I’m convinced Michal Novák has great potential thanks to his universality. These multi-stage races are created for him. All men are better prepared than in previous seasons so I hope their results get better," Vasil Husák adds.
Tour de Ski is organized without spectators as well as previous races of the current season. Except fans Norway will also be missing because of their official announcement concerning their fear of coronavirus. Now it is clear Norwegian dominance in women’s total standings will be interrupted after 7 years. In men’s category Russian Alexander Bolshunov will defend last season’s victory.