Going “Beast Mode” into 2024

January 1, 2024

Madshus racers greet the new year by going “beast mode” at the opening stages of the 2024 Tour de Ski. 

By Inge Scheve

Seven stages in nine days and three locations. Tour de Ski is designed to be the ultimate test of skills, versatility, endurance and perseverance. The 2024 edition kicks off with action and drama from day one: Ben Ogden (USA) bags his first-ever World Cup podium in the opening stage in Toblach (ITA) on Saturday. 

"That was unbelievable! I don't have words," Ogden said after charging in to third place in the skate sprint on December 30. 

The 23-year-old from Vermont describes the sprint as a perfect day where everything fell into place. 

"I managed to claim the positions I wanted in every heat, and when I did that in the final too, I just thought I might as well try to be on the podium," Ogden says. 

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Photo by: Nordic Focus

Additionally, Harald Østberg Amundsen (NOR) also made it to the final in the opening sprint race after advancing from both the quarterfinal and the semifinal as a "lucky loser." However, by the final he has used up his charm: He breaks a pole and finishes 6th. 

The 25-year-old, who is considered a favorite for the overall Tour de Ski podium, still snags 42 bonus seconds. 

"It was an amazing start to the Tour, and it's fun to make it to the final. I break a pole but those things happen. The silver lining is that I could save my energy at the end," says Østberg Amundsen.

On Sunday, Østberg Amundsen pulls off his first Tour de Ski podium, finishing third in the 10-kilometer classic race and setting himself up perfectly for the 20-kilometer skate pursuit on Monday, January 1.  He also reclaims the overall World Cup lead.  

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Then, on Monday January 1, Østberg Amundsen greets 2024 with his second World Cup victory for the season and his first-ever Tour de Ski stage win after pulling off yet another perfectly executed race: Cool and calculated for the first 15 kilometers, then going “beast mode.” Over the last seven kilometers, he progressively increases his lead and wins by more than half a minute. 

“It’s really cool to bag my first Tour de Ski stage win,” Østberg Amundsen says after the victory, adding that it wasn’t nearly as easy as it appeared. 

“It’s arguably the hardest 20-kilometer skate race I’ve ever done, and it was actually more like 22 kilometers. The fresh snow that had fallen last night was incredibly sticky, and it was brutal out there. But fortunately, my competitors felt it too.”

Østberg Amundsen heads into the next stage of leading the overall Tour de Ski by 32 seconds. 

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Additionally, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) is headed into the next part of the Tour in 10 place overall. After a rough start to the World Cup season, the Finnish veteran posted top-10 finishes in both the Tour de Ski distance races in Toblach (ITA). For the 33-year-old, the brutal final stage up the “monster hill” Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on Janaury 7 is one of her main goals for the entire season.   

And finally, Henrik Dønnestad (NOR) moved up to 12th place overall in his very first Tour de Ski. Dønnestad also had the second-fastest time for the Monday stage. 

Tour de Ski, which consists of seven stages in nine days, now features a rest day before moving on to Davos (SUI) for the next two stages and then to Val di Fiemme (ITA) for the final two stages. 

Related coverage: All you need to know about Tour de Ski 2024

Photo by: Nordic Focus