Diggins Fourth, leads Four U.S. Athletes Into Top 30
Racing through deep, sugary snow in her first race since finishing the Tour de Ski earlier this month, Jessie Diggins led four Davis U.S. Cross Country Team athletes into the top 30, finishing fourth in Saturday’s 10k FIS Cross Country World Cup freestyle in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
Rosie Brennan was 17th, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen was 25th and Julia Kern was 30th. Caitlin Patterson finished 39th and Alayna Sonnesyn, racing in her first World Cup event of the season following a three podium performance at the recent L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships, was 46th. Norway’s Therese Johaug won Saturday’s race with a time of 23 minutes, 51 seconds. Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva was second at 32.7 seconds off Johaug’s time and Norway’s Heidi Weng in third at 40.3 seconds back.
“Today was a good race for me, although it was kind of funny because, with the super deep, sugary snow, it never felt like I was moving very fast, especially stepping through the sugar on the uphills,” said Jessie, who was 48.5 seconds off the winning time. “But overall I’m happy with where my body is after the Tour de Ski, and I’m working on training as smart as I can to find that balance between racing and training hard, and finding good recovery after such a big effort.”
The weekend schedule at Nove Mesto was swapped in order to take advantage of the limited snow coverage, with freestyle technique on Saturday, classic on Sunday. With limited natural snow and overnight temperatures hovering just below the freezing mark, the vast majority of snow used to build the course was either machine-made or snow trucked in to build the course.
“We faced some challenging conditions today,” Rosie said, “...it was deep sugary and dirty.
“I wasn't sure how I would feel after the Tour de Ski but tried to stay optimistic that my break was good and I would be back where I left off,” added Rosie, who finished 15th overall at the Tour de Ski. “I started well and was happy with my first lap. But I faded much more than I had hoped in the end, and think I am still feeling a bit of fatigue from the Tour. Overall, it was a solid day and I hope I can find another gear tomorrow.”
Sunday’s race for the women will be a 10k classic pursuit, with the start order based on Saturday’s results. “Tomorrow should be an exciting pursuit start and I’m excited to ski with so many speedy ladies,” Jessie said.
In the men’s 15k freestyle Saturday, David Norris was the top American in 27th. Ian Torchia, competing in his first career World Cup, finished 67th.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Jan. 19
5:00 a.m. - Women’s 10k classic pursuit, Nove Mesto, CZE - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s 15k classic pursuit, Nove Mesto, CZE -Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
10:30 a.m. - Women’s 10k classic pursuit, Nove Mesto, CZE - 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.