Diggins Third with One to Go
With one race remaining, Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) remains third in the FIS Cross Country World Cup overall and distance rankings. Diggins skied to eighth Saturday in a 10k classic mass start in Falun, Sweden. Finland's Krista Parmakoski came from behind to pass Norway's Marit Bjoergen at the finish line for the win. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) was 11th.
Diggins is poised to become only the second American woman to finish the season ranked in the top three. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was third in 2013.
Alexander Bolshunov of Russia won for the men with Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) 52nd in a 15k classic mass start.
It was another picture postcard day in Falun. Diggins charged out at the start to set the early pace before Bjoergen and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg took control. Near the midway point, Norway took firm hold on the lead pack with Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Heidi Weng joining while Diggins dropped a few seconds back with the chase pack. Just past the halfway mark, Parmakoski moved quickly to challenge.
In the final stages, Bjoergen, Oestberg and Parmakoski took control of the race with Parmakoski charging past Bjoergen to take the win.
"Today was an OK race for me, not my best feeling, which tells me how far I’ve come when eighth in a classic World Cup doesn’t bring the same fireworks anymore," said Diggins, who now has five top-10 classic distance World Cup finishes this season. "Today I just went as hard as my body would let me and it was good to only lose 15 seconds on the winner of the day, because in a mini-tour every second counts."
While Diggins takes pride in how she has developed her classic skiing, what really gets her heart racing is putting on the skate skis Sunday to wrap up the 2018 World Cup with a freestyle pursuit.
"I’m really excited for tomorrow - a pursuit style skate race is one of my favorite formats," she said. "My strategy is pretty simple - just go chase down as many seconds as I can and race the course as fast as I can! I’ll be starting bib #3 around some awesome girls, so I’m hoping we can work together to keep us moving at a fast pace."
The three-day mini tour in Falun wraps up Sunday with a 15k freestyle pursuit for men and 10k for women. Sweden's Hanna Falk is on top of the mini-tour after two days with Diggins fifth. The winner will get 200 bonus points for the overall World Cup.