Diggins Sixth in Ski Tour 2020; Three U.S. Women in Top 15
The Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team wrapped up the sixth and final stage of the Ski Tour 2020 on Sunday with a 15k classic pursuit in Trondheim, Norway. Jessie Diggins was the top U.S. finisher of the day and in the overall tour, taking sixth place, while Sadie Maubet Bjornsen also snagged a top-10 result, finishing in 10th overall.
“Wow, I made it!!” said Sadie, who had a tough start to the Tour due to stomach issues. “That was one heck of a tough tour! Things were looking mighty rough to begin with, but I knew I had to just keep fighting and believing!”
In front of another huge Norwegian crowd in the Granasen Ski Centre, Norway swept the Tour podium with Therese Johaug, Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg going one-two-three. Therese has now won 62 FIS Cross Country World Cup individual distance events, tying Marit Bjoergen for the record.
Conditions were tough again with a combination of sun, heavy snow squalls, rain, wind and everything in between, making waxing tricky. But the service team did an excellent job of trying to anticipate the changes and the athletes were able to battle to the finish. The fight paid off, with Jessie taking a strong sixth-place finish and Sadie moving from 12th place overall into 10th.
"Today, like yesterday, was a crazy day in terms of weather and waxing," said Jessie. "It kept snowing on and off, the sun coming out and then the wind picking up as more snow came down! I was pretty much skiing an individual start race as I was alone the entire time, but I was really proud of my pacing and efforts as I held my placing without anyone to work with. There was a really tricky time in the middle of the race when the skis weren’t kicking very well (for much of the field, I think) but I was able to refocus and reset and keep pushing as hard as I could."
“I knew the name of the game was to just keep fighting because everyone would be struggling at some point out there,” added Sadie. “I managed to find something to work and went through some highs and lows out there in the 15k which brought me to 10th overall in the tour! I’m super happy and satisfied with that, given the little fatigue hole I had to crawl out of this past month. Thank you to our team for helping make a tricky classic day at the finish of the tour possible to fight with the others.”
While Rosie Brennan did not have her best day, she still put down a great overall result, finishing just out of the top 10 in 12th place. “Today was a very challenging day,” said Rosie. “After having a great tour, it was hard to end on this note, but I am doing my best to look at all the positives from the tour as a whole and make a nice little worklist to improve on the things that were so tough today.”
Julia Kern also took home points, finishing 30th. Caitlin Patterson was 36th, Katharine Ogden 42nd, Rosie Frankowski 43rd, Sophie Caldwell 44th, and Alayna Sonnesyn 48th.
“It was really cool to see Jessie stay in sixth overall for the Ski Tour,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “She skied today’s 15k classic pursuit alone in very tough conditions but held on to her hard-won placing, never facing a serious challenge from those chasing her. After not feeling good at the start of the Tour, it was also exciting to see Sadie win the pack sprint to move up to 10th overall in the Tour. And having Rosie Brennan in 12th made the USA one of the strongest nations in the women’s field, along with Norway and Sweden.”
Norway also swept the men’s podium in the 30k classic pursuit, taking first through sixth place. Paal Golberg took the big win, while Simen Hegstad Krueger was second and Hans Christer Holund third.
David Norris was the top U.S. man, finishing in 34th place. Ben Lustgarten also finished the tour, taking 54th place.
While the athletes are exhausted after nine days and six stages of hard World Cup racing, they still spoke about the fun and excitement of the first FIS Ski Tour. "I’m really happy with my efforts and how I hit my goals for every race," said Jessie. "One of my big goals was to see each day as an entirely separate opportunity and to not put pressure on myself for the overall tour, since there are so many factors that I can’t control that play into that placing. But by hitting my own process goals for each race and staying consistent I was able to have a tour that I’m proud of."
And there was nothing but praise for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team coaches, wax techs, physios, nutritionists and staff, who put in hard work throughout the stages to keep the team going. “And of course, hugest thanks to the staff,” said Sadie. “We couldn’t race day after day like this without them!!! They are the heroes.”
"I’m really proud of our tech team and coaches for their tireless efforts day in and day out through this tour," added Jessie. "It’s been exhausting, but they’re the hardest working guys out there!"
The team now moves in multiple directions, with some athletes headed back to the states to prepare for the North American World Cups in Canada and Minneapolis, while others go to Lahti for a 10/15k classic and relay or to Sjusjøen, Norway for recovery and a training camp prior to Drammen and Holmenkollen.
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.