Five Women Score Points in Ski Tour 2020 Classic Sprint
After a travel day from Meraker, Norway on Friday, the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team arrived in Trondheim, Norway—the final destination of the Ski Tour 2020—for a classic sprint. Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen were the top finishers for the Americans, finishing 14th and 16th, respectively.
With 10,000 Norwegians watching in the Granasen Ski Centre, Maiken Caspersen Falla put on a show in front of the home crowd to take the win. Linn Svahn of Sweden was second and Nadine Faehndrich of Switzerland third.
The weather was a combination of rain, snow, and sun throughout the day, which made waxing difficult. "It was a fun sprint course with some fast downhills and nice stride-able uphills and there were varying kinds of skis on a tricky wax day," said Sophie. "Some of us felt that our skis weren't the fastest out there, but tomorrow is another day and we are looking forward to one more stage that could bring all kinds of excitement with more rain, snow and sun all in the forecast!"
Sadie said she felt sharp and powerful through the qualifier, but couldn’t hold it through the heats. “I was quick out of the start, but struggled to hold the speed up the first climb,” commented Sadie. “Since climbing is generally my strength, it’s unclear whether it was skis, body or both that held me back. But, that’s how ski racing is. You can’t overthink anything too much—you just keep believing and chasing away!”
Julia Kern had her first FIS World Cup classic sprint points finish, taking 20th place. Rosie Brennan was just behind her in 21st and Jessie Diggins took 23rd. Katharine Ogden, Alayna Sonnesyn, Caitlin Patterson and Rosie Frankowski all started but did not qualify for the heats.
"We just finished stage five out of six races in the Ski Tour and while it wasn't our best day, we're proud to have made it this far," added Sophie. "It's hard to know how your body is going to respond at the end of a tour, but I think we all woke up feeling ready to give it a go. It's definitely not a bad day to have five girls make the heats, but I know we were left wanting more."
Delighting the Norwegian crowd, it was a clean sweep on the men’s side with Norway in first through fifth place. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo took the win, Paal Golberg second and Erik Valnes third.
No U.S. men finished in the points or made it to the heats. Simi Hamilton wasn’t feeling well enough to start and Logan Hanneman was just outside of qualifying. Kevin Bolger, Ben Lustgarten and David Norris also started for the men.
“Today was not our best day out there,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “It’s quite unusual for us to not be able to advance some women to the semifinal and the final, but the Ski Tour 2020 is a strange beast! Our silver lining is that Jessie is sixth overall in the Tour, Rosie is 10th and Sadie is hovering just outside the top-10 in 12th.”
The team goes into the final day of the Ski Tour on Sunday with a 15/30k classic pursuit. “It is the tour of crazies for me, so I’m going to let it go and look on to ‘the chase’ tomorrow,” said Sadie. “With the Tour ending with a 15k classic, I am sitting just outside the top 10 overall and really hoping to climb my way within that tomorrow. Let’s see if I can channel all amounts of frustration towards some constructive racing in the final day!”
Chris also said he’s excited about the final event on Sunday. “We are looking forward to a big day tomorrow in the 15/30k classic and finishing this tour with some momentum,” said Chris. “We’d like to thank the organizers of this logistically intricate Ski Tour 2020 for an amazing experience and for the depth of their vision creating this event!”
Sunday, Feb. 23
Stage 6 Trondheim, NOR
Classic pursuit, 15k women, 30k men
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Feb 23
5:00 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 15k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:05 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 30k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m.. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 15k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - Olympic Channel*
1:00 p.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 30k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - Olympic Channel*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.