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Diggins Wins 20k Pursuit in Third Stage of Tour de Ski

By Leann Bentley - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
January, 1 2024
jessie diggins
Jessie Diggins celebrates atop the podium in Toblach, Italy in the third stage of the Tour de Ski.

On the third stage of the 2023-24 Tour de Ski, Jessie Diggins clinched her 17th career World Cup victory in the 20k pursuit, maintaining her firm grip on the overall Tour de Ski standings. Meanwhile, Gus Schumacher secured his first top 10 result of the season to solidify his 10th place position in the overall Tour de Ski standings. Each of the first three Tour stages in Toblach, Italy featured a Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete on the podium, as the Tour moves on to Davos, Switzerland.

Despite the appearance of a mass start, a pursuit race can come across as complicated from the outside. A pursuit-style race in the Tour de Ski means that those who are leading the overall standings are off the start line first and are “pursued” by those in second place, third place and so on. The first person to cross the finish line at the end wins. The ‘time of day’ result reflects the athlete’s overall speed and is calculated separately than the overall result.

Navigating the challenging five-lap course on slow, wet snow, the racers put the hammer down and showed impressive skiing at each point on the course. The men were on the snow first, with Ben Ogden, fresh off his inaugural podium in the skate sprint, starting third based on his overall Tour ranking. However, Schumacher was the top American for the men and consistently posted top-10 times at each marker, elevating his race in the challenging conditions. His chip time placed him sixth overall in the time of day standings, but he crossed the line in 10th place, adding his first top 10 of the season to his resume. Accompanying him, Scott Patterson secured 28th overall with an impressive 20th in the time of day standings, followed by Zanden McMullen in 48th, Ogden in 63rd, and Kevin Bolger in 65th. 

Diggins, donning the coveted overall leader bib for the pursuit, started seven seconds ahead of the second place athlete, Victoria Karl of Germany. Diggins embarked on the course with a clear mission to widen the gap. Through the splits, Diggins kept on it, leading the race at every turn. Skiing the entire 20k by herself, Diggins had to dig deep and put together a race without any competitors around her. Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Rosie Brennan, Sophia Laukli, Novie McCabe, Sammy Smith and Julia Kern also raced, with Laukli putting together a strong race—highlighting by her winning the ninth fastest time of the day, showcasing her skill in longer distances skate races. Brennan finished 15th, Laukli 21st, McCabe 27th, Kern 45th and Smith 47th.

As the final racer crossed the line, the victory belonged to Diggins, securing her second win in the initial three stages of the Tour and fortifying her leadership in the overall rankings as the race heads to Davos, Switzerland. Stage four features another skate sprint on Jan. 3.

Women's pursuit
Men's pursuit