FIS Tour de Ski - Final Climb
4 5 January 2020

One month to the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme

A double interview with the cross-country couple Debertolis-Noeckler


Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme on 5th and 6 January
On Saturday the Mass Start at the Cross-country Stadium in Lago di Tesero
On Sunday the Final Climb on the slope Olimpia III on Alpe Cermis
Interview with Ilaria Debertolis and Dietmar Noeckler

The final stages of Tour de Ski are scheduled for next month, on 5th and 6th January, in Val di Fiemme (Italy); the Final Climb on the slope Olimpia III will crown the best athletes of the tough seven stages. Among the participants there are also Ilaria Debertolis, from Primiero, and Dietmar Noeckler, from South Tyrol; they are two of the best athletes of the Italian national team and are also a couple in life. Ilaria made her debut in World Cup in December 2011 and in the same month she took part in the first stage of Tour de Ski. Her best result is a fifth place in the team sprint in the World Championships 2013 in Val di Fiemme. Dietmar comes from Brunico and is historically the teammate of Federico Pellegrino in the team sprint, with whom he won two World Championships medals (silver in the team sprint of Lahti 2017 and bronze in the team sprint of Falun 2015).
Ilaria, when did you start skiing? "When I was a little girl, thanks to my father and family, where everyone is a bit sporty. My dad was a trainer and he took me skiing, but never forced me to. I began to like it and it all became natural". For Noeckler too there was a decisive father in the children's career: "I remember that as a child my father sometimes used to take me skiing, but I started to take part in the races a little later. I certainly inherited my passion for sport from my father". After the start, the step is short to arrive in the national team. But it was a difficult path for Ilaria Debertolis: "We don't even know why, but we ladies are struggling to achieve good results in cross-country skiing. In my opinion, the difference is physical and not technical, we train a lot, but obviously it's not enough from a muscular point of view”. Even for Noeckler the start was not easy: "I have passed the various youth categories with bad results. As a junior, I started to get good results and this allowed me to be part of the junior national team. In the following years I have always been part of the team, first in team B and then in team A". How many Tour de Ski did you take part in? Starting from Ilaria: "I don't remember! Many anyway..." Dietmar? "If I'm not mistaken, I took part in 7 Tour de Ski. My best final place is 21st in 2015".
And now let’s talk about the emotions of the stages of Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, starting with Ilaria: "Tour de Ski has always been one of my favourite races, also because the more I train the better I feel from a physical point of view. The final climb of Cermis has always been very difficult but it is the most beautiful of my sporting life; the people and the emotions are unique. Last year I couldn’t participate for health reasons, but this year I promise myself to return to my levels. I was 13th on the climb two years ago and I want to improve starting from that result”. According to Noeckler... "The Mass Start in Val di Fiemme is my favourite race of Tour de Ski. In that race I managed to enter in the top 10 for the first time in my career. In my opinion, the trails of the Cross-country Stadium of Lago di Tesero are among the most beautiful in the World Cup circuit. The final climb on Alpe Cermis is not so congenial to me. I have a lot of difficulties in skating steep uphill, but with the help of the large public always present along the track I managed to get to the finish line several times”. Ilaria, which is the most beautiful and the ugliest track of the World Cup? "The trail of Val di Fiemme is the most beautiful and the hardest one; this could seem absurd because it is where I did my best race, but my least favourite trail is Davos, a track a bit particular that is not easy to decipher". Dietmar?: " In my opinion, the trail used for the 50 km at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme in 2013 is the most beautiful of the World Cup. The trails in Planica and Davos, on the other hand, are the ones I like the least”. Seasonal expectations? "I expect to be in the top 30 at the end of the season, if a better results comes, I will be happier. Maybe this could be the right year for the ladies’ Italian team, even the Russians have struggled for many years" - says Ilaria, while Dietmar aims to ... "return to a good level. I've worked hard and I'm very confident. I'll face all the races at my best and then, depending on the results, I will see what to aim for".
The "cross-country couples", Ilaria Debertolis with Dietmar Noeckler and Federico Pellegrino with Greta Laurent, are very close to each other: "We have a great relationship, we are close friends and we often go on holiday together, we are good both as sports couples and as life couples".

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