For the first time in the Tour de Ski history, the stage race takes place without the France’s Jean Marc Gaillard.
Gaillard is the only racer still active in the World Cup who has competed in every edition of the Tour de Ski, which first ran in the 2007 season.
But the 41-year-old, who has competed in 300 World Cup races so far, has not had a stellar start to the season. Gaillard’s last chance to qualify for the Tour de Ski team was the Central European continental cup last weekend. But his results did not suffice, and Gaillard is not a part of this year’ French Tour team, according to Sports Infos.
France has named 13 athletes to the Tour de Ski: four women and nine men. Tour de Ski starts on December 28, 2021 and finishes on January 4, 2022.
For many of the racers, their Tour de Ski results will make or break their shot at a ticket to the 2022 Olympics in February. For Gaillard, who is not on the Tour team, the World Cup on home turf in des Rousses on January 14 to 16 is the very last opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.