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Diggins Third, Brennan Fifth in FIS Tour De Ski Opener

By Tom Horrocks
January, 1 2021
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins crossed the finish line in third but was moved up to second after Slovenia’s Anamarija Lampic was relegated to sixth in the opening stage of the 10-day FIS Tour de Ski in Val Müstair, Switzerland, Friday. (Modica/NordicFocus)

Editor's Note Jan. 2, 2020: Appeal from Slovenian Ski Association against FIS Jury decision of January 1, 2021 partly granted by FIS Appeals Commission

The appeal by the Slovenian Ski Association against the FIS Jury decision of the Sprint Freestyle case concerning Anamarija Lampic from January 1, 2021 was partly approved. The Appeals Commission asks to change the sanction to a written reprimand (yellow card). 

As a consequence, Friday's Sprint results will be updated and Anamarija Lampic will be ranked as second and Jessie Diggins ranked as third and Frida Karlsson ranked as fourth. Additionally, the decision impacts the Tour Overall standing, the Tour point standing, and therefore also the start list of Sunday’s Pursuit competition.

Jessie Diggins suddenly found herself sprinting for her first podium result of the season in the opening stage of the FIS Tour de Ski in Val Müstair, Switzerland, Friday. And, she certainly didn’t let her good fortune slip away, eventually finishing second to kick off a solid start in the 10-day event for Davis U.S. Cross Country Team. Rosie Brennan finished fourth to maintain her overall FIS World Cup Cross Country lead.

"Today was a fun way to start 2021! " Jessie said. "But I think it’s important for me to say that I’m equally as proud of my all-out effort and our team as I am when I’m not on the podium. It was just another day of giving it my absolute best effort, but the patience and trust in the training plan that (coach Jason) Cork and I set down together have been paying off and my race form is coming into sharper focus now."

Qualifying 14th on the longest sprint course so far this season, Jessie won her opening quarterfinal heat and finished second in her semifinal heat to advance to the finals. Rosie, meanwhile, qualified fifth and finished third in her opening quarterfinal heat, advancing to the semifinals as one of the Lucky Losers. Racing in the second semifinal with Jessie, Rosie finished fourth, but again advanced to the finals as one of the Lucky Losers. 

"This might be the hardest sprint course I have ever raced. It's long, at altitude, and had some slow snow out there today," Rosie said. "I worked hard in the semi to keep the pace high to ensure our heat would have lucky losers, which I then benefited from. However, I was pretty beat by the time we got to the final."

In the finals, Jessie and Rosie were up against three of the best sprinters in the world in Slovenia’s Anamarija Lampic, Sweden’s Linn Svahn, and Switzerland’s Nadine Faehndrich - the current World Cup sprint leader. With Linn holding the lead into the final 300 meters, Anamarija made a pass on the inside around Nadine on the final downhill, to move into second, clipping the front of Nadine’s skis and sending her face-first onto the snow. In a move to avoid the Swiss skier, who was sprawled out on the snow, Jessie made a high-speed dash to the inside and jumped over Nadine to move into third. 

"The final was exciting, for sure," Jessie said. "I fell behind a bit on the steep climb, and was working my way down the downhill sections with as much speed as I could when I saw Nadine go down and slide around the corner in front of me. I didn’t want to hit her (or break her equipment, or my own) so I jumped over her pole while rounding the corner! In sprinting you can get lucky or be the recipient of incredibly bad luck, and today the luck definitely came my way (and I’m grateful for it)."

Across the finish line, Linn took her fifth career individual World Cup sprint victory, with Anamarija in second and Jessie in thirdher first podium of the season. However, after further deliberation by the race jury, Anamarija was relegated to sixth for obstruction, moving Jessie up one step on the podium to second, Sweden’s Frida Karlsson into third, and Rosie into fourth. 

"I stayed out of trouble and for that was rewarded another two places," Rosie added. "That's a sprint race for you...It's also very cool to note that we had our fourth different girl on the podium in just four weeks of racing. Our team is really working hard to get through this tough season together and support one another as we navigate the world."

"It was so exciting to have (U.S. athletes) as one-third of the women’s final," Jessie added. "And for myself, it was exciting to be out there having fun, not putting pressure on myself but still skiing with confidence and enjoying the banked turns and rollers all at the same time."

In addition to Jessie and Rosie, five other U.S. athletes qualified for the heats Friday, including Sophie Caldwell Hamilton, Julia Kern, Hailey Swirbul, Simi Hamilton, and Kevin Bolger. Simi, Hailey, and Sophie just missed advancing to the semifinals, each finishing third in their respective quarterfinal heats. Unfortunately for Kevin, his race day was cut short when he clipped a ski, fell and broke a pole just a few hundred meters into his quarterfinal heat. Gus Schumacher just missed qualifying for the heats, finishing 31st in the qualifier. 

Hailey posted a career-best World Cup sprint result finishing 15th, while Sophie was 16th, and Julia 24th.

In the men’s race, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino took the winhis 16th individual World Cup sprint victory. Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov finished second and maintained his overall World Cup lead, while France’s Richard Jouve was third. Simi was 13th and Kevin 30th.

Up next, Stage 2 features a classic mass start, 10k for the women and 15k for the men Saturday in Val Müstair. 

Stage 1
Women’s freestyle sprint
Men’s freestyle sprint

Women’s Tour de Ski overall (through stage 1)
Men’s Tour de Ski overall (through stage 1)
Women’s World Cup overall
Men’s World Cup overall

Saturday, Jan. 2, Val Müstair, SUI
Women’s 10k classic mass start
Men’s 15k classic mass start

Sunday, Jan. 3, Val Müstair, SUI
Women’s 10k freestyle pursuit
Men’s 15k freestyle pursuit

Tuesday, Jan. 5, Toblach, ITA
Women’s 10k freestyle
Men’s 15k freestyle

Wednesday, Jan. 6, Toblach, ITA
Women’s 10k classic pursuit
Men’s 15k classic pursuit

Friday, Jan. 8, Val di Fiemme, ITA
Women’s 10k classic mass start
Men’s 15k classic mass start

Saturday, Jan. 9, Val di Fiemme, ITA
Men and women’s classic sprint

Sunday, Jan. 10, Val di Fiemme, ITA
Women’s 10k freestyle mass start hill climb
Men’s 10k freestyle mass start hill climb

Saturday, Jan. 2
6:30 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski Women's 10k Mass Start - LIVE, Val Mustair, SUI, Streaming Peacock
8:45 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski Men's 15k Mass Start - LIVE, Val Mustair, SUI, Streaming Peacock

Sunday, Jan. 3
5:30 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski Men's 15k Pursuit - LIVE, Val Mustair, SUI, Streaming Peacock
9:30 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski Women's 10k Pursuit - LIVE, Val Mustair, SUI, Streaming Peacock

The remaining Broadcast/Streaming Schedule will be available here!


Diggins 2nd TdS Sprint