Diggins Top-10 in Ruka 10k
RUKA, Finland (Nov. 25, 2017) - Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) put down a top-10 finish in the opening distance race of the season Saturday in Ruka, Finland. Diggins was 10th, just over a minute back from a dominating win by Norway’s Marit Bjoergen in the 10k classic. Ida Sargent was 22nd with Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) 23rd – just a day after her classic sprint podium.
“I was really impressed with our wax staff,” said Diggins. "It was extremely tricky waxing conditions out there with new snow that got wet and glazed in the tracks. And since we chose wax over wax-less, I was able to run right up those Ruka hills for the first time in my career! It was awesome. I always work my way into the season and it’s nice to feel my race shape starting to take form again!”
“It was a classic Ruka day – zero degrees Celsius with a rainy mist coming down and cold snow underneath the surface of the snow,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “It was a brutal day for the service team.” Ski selection ran the gamut from hairies to klister covered and warm hard wax.
“I really struggled with skis today and didn't have the extra power to push through it,” said Sadie Bjornsen, who now stands fifth in the FIS World Cup overall rankings. She went with hairies, which ended up a bit slick.
“I was really proud for fighting hard, and pushing on like I was racing for a medal. What I have learned with classic skiing in this world of crazy conditions is that when the stars align, it can turn into an incredible day.”
“Skis worked well for some and were quite a bit off for others unfortunately,” added Grover. “Jessie was happy with her performance - perhaps one of her better early season classic races in Ruka. Really big distance performance today for Ida Sargent in 22nd - one of her best distance performances ever."
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) led the U.S. men in 26th, catching a ride from podium finisher Iivo Niskanen, who started 30 seconds behind him, but wasn’t quite able to hold onto him during the last lap. Bjornsen is in a good place for Sunday’s pursuit. Action wraps up in Ruka Sunday with a 10k freestyle pursuit for the women and 15k for the men.