It is time to congratulate everyone involved in the successful organisation of the third edition of the Tour de Ski. In only three years it has developed to become the most attractive and spectacular Cross-Country event. Three years ago I was almost alone on the alpine slope leading up to Alpe Cermis, this year the organisers estimated more than 20,000 spectators helping the athletes up the steep climb.
4,76 million Germans saw the final climb on TV and in Norway more than 1 million followed the last meters for the men. These are figures that we have only seen in the most exciting fights in the relays in our Championships before. In Switzerland a new star is born covering the front page of the biggest newspapers, and bringing live CC transmissions back to the Suisse spectators for the first time since the time of Andy Grünenfelder.
I am also happy that the complicated logistics and long travel distances seem to get less criticism from athletes and coaches. Although I admit that everything is to be evaluated and hopefully improved before next year. Greater interest will in future make it easier to choose resorts with shorter travel distances and/ or faster and more convenient transport methods.
Different wishes from athletes and nations regarding the lengths and techniques of the competitions should normally be discussed and changed from year to year but the basics of the sport concept has during three years shown to work very well. A minor but important adaptation that should be discussed at out spring meetings is the consequence of having to complete the whole Tour in order to get WC points earned in the single stages. This year we had examples of sick racers skiing the last races to get their important WC points earned at previous stages. It can't be like this.
It is also time to acknowledge FIS, its President, the Council Members and its administration who believed in the idea and took the risk to go for it. On behalf of the CC ski sport thank you all for trusting us make it become a reality.