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Diggins, Schumacher Lead U.S At Falun World Cup

By Tom Horrocks
January, 30 2021
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins finished seventh in Saturday's 10k classic mass start in Falun, Sweden. (Thibaut/NordicFocu)

In a fast and chaotic World Cup classic mass start in Falun, Sweden, Saturday, Jessie Diggins and Gus Schumacher led the way for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team. Diggins was seventh in the women’s 10k, while Schumacher was 29th in the men’s 15k.

Once again the athletes were treated to a cold, hard and fast track that unlike Friday's individual freestyle races, featured numerous crashes and mishaps due to the mass start. In the men’s race, Schumacher got tangled up on a short climb around the 4k mark and fell back to the 46th position in the three-lap race.

"I got stepped on by the guy behind me," Schumacher said. "Kinda crazy it didn’t happen more because of how tight that pack was."

Midway through the second lap, World Cup leader Alexander Bolshunov went down in a high-speed corner that scattered the field. Bolshunov jumped back into the race and Schumacher was able to ride his gravy train and weave his way back into the top 30.

In a remarkable display of athleticism, Bolshunov outsprinted Norway’s Johannes Klaebo and Paal Goldberg for the win. Klaebo was second and Goldberg third. Hunter Wonders, competing in only his fourth World Cup, skied an outstanding race to post a career-best 36th. Adam Martin was 57th; David Norris 60th; Ian Torchia 64th; and Scott Patterson 65th.

In the women’s 10, Diggins went with the first surge by Norway’s Therese Johaug as she pushed the pace.

"Today was awesome as this course had a lot of power striding," Diggins said. "We had really competitive skis, and I actually have been loving how cold it is because when it’s cold like this I feel like I can just keep pushing and pushing my body!"

With the lead group cut down to 10, Sweden’s Ebba Andersson and Linn Svhan pressured Johaug, but unfortunately, Andersson overcooked a tight right-hand corner and fell. That left the door open for Svahn, who is one of the best sprinters in the world, to dive to the inside of Johaug on the second to last corner and open a lead, which she held all the way to the line for her eighth individual World Cup victory. Russia’s Yulia Stupak was second, followed by Johaug in third.

Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, racing in only her second World Cup of the season, posted another solid result, finishing 15th. Rosie Brennan was 33rd; Katharine Ogden 42nd; Sophia Laukli 50th; Caitlin Patterson 51st; and Alayna Sonneysn 56th.

"After spending 11 months away from racing, this weekend has been particularly fun to just kind of re-remember how this works," Maubet Bjornsen said. "I haven't yet raced without spectators, and I will say it is a different feeling. It almost feels like a super serious summertime trial. You hear your coaches cheering more than ever, which is kind of fun in a new way! It kind of takes racing back to the core, which is special."

Sunday’s classic sprint wraps up three days of World Cup racing in Falun. Next weekend, the World Cup tour moves to Ulricehamn, Sweden, for a freestyle sprint and team sprint, Feb. 5-6.

Diggins continues to lead the overall World Cup standings, with Stupak in second and Brennan in third. Diggins also leads the World Cup distance standings with four distance races remaining on the 2020-21 World Cup schedule.

Women’s 10k classic mass start
Men’s 15k classic mass start

Women’s World Cup overall
Men’s World Cup overall
Women’s World Cup distance
Men’s Worlld Cup distance

All times EST

Sunday, Jan. 31
7:30 a.m. FIS Cross-Country World Cup Men's and Women's Sprints - LIVE, Falun, SWE, Streaming Peacock