Just two rounds from the end, Defast is 5th in the overall classification, first of the Azzurri and one minute from the podium in the toughest race of the season. And the is preferred one, the 15 km of Lago di Tesero, is yet to come.
Oberstdorf, Germany – Jan. 01st 2022 • Probably the current one is Francesco De Fabiani's best Tour de Ski ever.
To forget the opening Sprint in Switzerland, splendid 6th in the 15 Km classic in Lenzerheide, fantastic 5th in the 15 Km skating and mass start in Oberstdorf yesterday, and able to reach the final today, once again in Germany in the Sprint classic at the end of a high-level qualification.
Francesco De Fabiani's roadmap at the Tour de Ski 2022 is of the highest level, so much so as to guarantee him the Top 5 with two stages to go, not so far from the podium, which is about a minute at the end of the Teutonic Sprint.
«It has been an almost perfect Tour so far – says the Alpine from Gressoney – I find myself in the positions that count thanks to excellent energy management and also thanks to fabulous skis, due to the excellent work of our Team!».
The final, unexpected, did not allow him to get the podium, despite a perfect start: «It's a pity not to be able to hit the Top 3, when you are in the final you would always want to aim to get on one of the three steps, but honestly I think I suffered yesterday's race, which remained in my legs. I didn't even expect to reach the final and in my personal opinion today's sixth place is as good as yesterday's Top 5 in the distance».
The balance, two stages from the conclusion, is undoubtedly positive, given the fact that the 15 km of Lago di Tesero is still to be raced (in the last two editions Defast had closed both times in second position behind first Klæbo and then Bolshunov) and the fearsome Cermis which, on Tuesday 4 January, will deliver the outcome of the most iconic race in cross-country skiing to history.
And the 15 km mass start in classic will be the real goal of De Fabiani: «In fact it is, as my real seasonal goal before the Beijing Olympics for years, I'm motivated and fit, but above all ready to give battle on the gradients of the Trentino course, which I love to madness. I’m strongly looking at the distance event of Lago, I get there in condition and I will still have a day of rest to recover. The condition is excellent, and the aptitude for that format really gives me hope for a top-level performance».
The Tour de Ski will end as usual with the ascent of Cermis, which Francesco does not particularly like: «The Final Climb is not in the cards for me, it has never given me satisfaction, but this year I want to hope to tackle it in a different way. The seconds recovered today will help me not to lose too many positions in the general classification. I hope not to suffer too much from that one and to give emotions to the Italian fans».
Press Office of Francesco De Fabiani
Written by Paolo Mei
Translated by Nicolò Caneparo