Minutes after making history as the first American male to win a Tour de Ski stage in the third race of the 2013/2014 Tour, Simi Hamilton said it hadn’t sunk in yet.
The 26-year-old Colorado native started out the last day of the year winning Tuesday’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint qualifier, just ahead of fellow U.S. Ski Team member Andy Newell in second. Hamilton went on to win his quarterfinal and semifinal in picture-perfect fashion, coming from behind to win the men’s final in 2:37.02, just 0.32 seconds ahead of Canadian Alex Harvey in second.
“I didn’t think I had it until I was, like, five feet across the line,” Hamilton told FIS media coordinator Jeff Ellis after the final. “I just focused on skiing through the finish and sticking to my guns.”
Hamilton is the second American to win a Tour de Ski stage after Kikkan Randall, Ellis’ wife.
“I’m in very good company for sure; Kikkan is a hero to us as U.S. skiers,” Hamilton said. “This hasn’t really sunk in yet so I don’t know what to say … This course, this venue this town, it’s amazing.”
Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third (+0.74), Italy’s Federico Pellegrino placed fourth (+0.94), and an early leader Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway placed fifth (+1.61). Sunday’s sprint winner in Stage 2 in Oberhof, Germany, Calle Halfvarsson of Sweden finished sixth (+2.96).
Newell placed fourth in his semifinal to finish eighth overall, a season best.