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Diggins Eighth in Beitostolen 15k

By Reese Brown
December, 8 2018
Jessie Diggins 15k
Jessie Diggins Finishing the Grueling Beitostolen 15k (Getty Images/NTB Scanpix/AFP - Terje Pedersen)

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) capitalized on a tough day of racing to end with an eighth-place finish in the FIS Cross Country World Cup 15k freestyle Saturday in Beitostolen, Norway.  Diggins led a strong performance by the U.S women with Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) in 13th and Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah) 15th.

Norway’s Therese Johaug hammered the field to win by more than a minute ahead of Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla in second, followed Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg in third.

Beitrostolen is considered one of the easier courses on the World Cup circuit, but with the falling snow and gradual terrain, there wasn’t much opportunity to rest.  

“I feel really good about today as it was a positive step in the right direction,” Diggins said. “After racing with a cold last weekend in Lillehammer it was really nice to be feeling more like myself this week. My body felt like it was responding much better when I kept pushing the limits, which is a good sign! It was a good fight out there today and I’m happy with where my shape is headed.”

“Work, work work. That was the theme of the race out there today,” Bjornsen said. “Sometimes as a World Cup skier, I dream of easier courses since we spend most of our time on walls and high-speed luge track downhills. But today, I was reminded why sometimes an easier course is in fact harder.”

Brennan agreed, “Overall, it was just a tough race, but I am satisfied with my effort and really excited to have a relay tomorrow.”

Norway’s Sjur Roethe won the men’s 30k race, followed by countryman Martin Johnsrud Sunby in second. Russia’s Andre Melnichenko was third. The top U.S. finisher for the men was Scott Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska) in 47th.  

The Beitostolen weekend continues on Sunday with a team relay, a favorite of the U.S. team.

“I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s relay event,” Bjornsen said. “We have a collection of girls on the team racing really well, and a new relay squad to pick from, so I am excited to see what the coaches will pick, and what we can accomplish.”

Women’s 15k freestyle
Men’s 30k freestyle

All times EST
*Same-day delayed broadcast

Sunday, Dec. 9
4:20 a.m. - Women’s team relay, Beitostølen, NOR - & NBC Sports Gold
7:20 a.m. - Men’s team relay, Beitostølen, NOR - & NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. - Women’s team relay, Beitostølen, NOR - Olympic Channel-TV*