Laukli, McCabe Climb To Career Best Results At Tour de Ski Finale
Sophia Laukli and Novie McCabe saved their best for last, finishing fifth and seventh respectively to post career-best World Cup results in the final stage of the FIS Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Tuesday.
“It felt pretty good,” McCabe said after finishing the traditional final 3k climb up the Alpe Cermis in Cavalese. “It was tough, obviously, but I’m stoked about it.”
“It was quite a shock,” Laukli said of her fifth-place result. “After yesterday, I was extremely tired, so it was a bit of a 180. I was really looking forward to this race though, and I knew that this was my style of course, so I was really excited.”
Indeed, the Alpe Cermis certainly fits the style for Laukli and McCabe with pitches as steep as 28 percent. The course kicked off with a 2.5k loop before heading out onto the famed Marcialongo trail, which provided a fast respite for the athletes prior to the final climb. Jessie Diggins was fifth coming out of the Marcialongo, with Laukli and McCabe a bit further back in the field of 46 athletes who started the race.
“I was right with Sophia,” McCabe said as they began the climb, “and I knew that she was going to be in a good position, so I tried to follow her.”
“I tried to stay pretty chill and ski it tactfully well,” Laukli said, “and I was able to start the climb with a lot of energy. Like Novie said. We were pretty far back, up until the climb started, so we were well-rested and able to make some moves on the climb.”
Norway’s Heidi Weng won the race, with Sweden’s Ebba Andersson in second and Delphine Claudel of France in third. Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva was fourth to secure the overall Tour de Ski victory. The overall win also moved her into atop the World Cup overall standings. Jessie Diggins was 15th Tuesday and finished eighth overall. Alayna Sonnesyn was 36th Tuesday.
In the men’s 10k freestyle mass start, Norway’s Sjur Roethe took the win, with Russia’s Dennis Spitsov in second and Friedrich Moch of Germany in third. Norway’s 19 KLAEBO Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo took the overall Tour de Ski victory. For the U.S. Zak Ketterson finished 48th in Tuesday’s stage, completing his first six events on the World Cup circuit.
“That was definitely the hardest race I have ever done,” Ketter said of Tuesday’s final stage. “It just kept going and there was not a lot of rest of course because you’re only going uphill. But I’m proud to have finished because it was a long journey just to get here.”