Diggins Wins Tour De Ski
Jessie Diggins started the final stage of the 15th FIS Tour de Ski with two goals: to win the overall, and to absolutely bury herself on the final climb. Proudly, she accomplished both, finishing second in the final stage to become the first American to win the Tour de Ski overall title.
“Wow!” Diggins said after completing her eighth Tour de Ski, with her previous best result being third in the 2018 Tour. “This is a lifelong goal...it really means a lot. We have had an amazing team atmosphere this whole time, amazing support, and help, and so many cheers from all around the world, so that really gave me wings up the hill today.”
Diggins led another solid day for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team on what has become an incredible season with 13 podiums so far. In the men’s race Sunday, Gus Schumacher finished 19th in the final stage, to finish 18th overall - the best Tour de Ski finish ever for an American man. He also moved up to 27th in the overall World Cup standings.
Rosie Brennan attacked all the way to the finish after suffering a setback on stage 6, and then another mishap on the final stage.
"Unfortunately, I stuck a tip in the powder on the side of the trail leading into the climb and took another digger," said Brennan, who battled back to finish seventh on the stage to move up to sixth in the final overall standings, a career-best Tour de Ski result. "I worked really hard to make up the places that I could and then really went for it when we reached the climb to try to get into the leading group. I was able to recollect myself and hold strong but frustratingly missed the top five (overall) by a mere four seconds. Sixth place is absolutely a career-best and I am proud of my effort of fighting back after the disaster that was stage 6, but I always want more of myself and those four seconds certainly sting a bit."
Competing in her first Tour de Ski, Hailey Swirbul finished 15th in the final stage and 18th overall. Katharine Ogden was 24th Sunday to finish a career-best 23rd overall. Scott Patterson was 38th in Sunday’s stage and finished 37th overall, while Kevin Bolger was 48th Sunday and 48th overall in his first Tour de Ski.
Sunday’s final stage, a 10k freestyle mass start featured 6.5k of rolling terrain and two bonus point sprints before getting down to business on the final 3.5k climb up the alpine slopes Val Di Fiemme that averaged a 12% gradient, with stretches up to 44%. Sweden set the early pace for Linn Svahn to score maximum bonus points, but also set up Ebba Andersson to launch an attack at the base of the climb in hopes of landing on the overall podium.
Andersson started the day sixth overall, more than 2:00 behind Diggins, but just 19 seconds off the podium. She built a 10-second lead over Diggins and Russia’s Yulia Stupak on the lower slopes. With 1k to go, Andersson held her advantage over Diggins as Stupak fell off the pace, but the Russian kept Andersson in her sight to protect her second place in the overall standing. Andersson crossed the finish line nine seconds ahead of Diggins to take the stage win - her first career World Cup victory. France’s Delphine Claudel was third at 20-seconds back, and Stupak finished fourth at 24-seconds back to seal her second-place in the overall.
The overall victory caps off a very successful Tour de Ski for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team. Over the 10-day, eight-stage race, Diggins and Brennan landed on the podium nine times, with not one, but two historic 1-2 finishes for Diggins and Brennan in stages 3 and 4, and four U.S. women in the top 30 overall for the third time in the 15-year history of the event. With her victory, Diggins overtakes Brennan for the overall World Cup lead. Brennan still leads the overall World Cup distance standing.
"It was inspiring to watch Jessie put so much fight in every day and that certainly inspires me to find more," Brennen said of her teammate. "I couldn't think of a better person to take the yellow (World Cup Leader's) bib off my back. I am also really excited to hold onto the red distance bib!"