Mixed Results For Cross Country World Champs Preview
Some days you have it, some days you don’t, and some days you just chalk it up as quality training and a good learning opportunity. Such was the theme of the day for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team as the FIS Cross Country World Cup continued with a skiathlon race in Oberstdorf, Germany, Saturday.
In the women’s 15k race, Rosie Brennan led the Team, finishing 17th. “It was pretty good,” Rosie said. “Not my best, not my worst, just somewhere in the middle.” She added that the narrow width of the course, part of which will be used for the 2021 FIS Cross Country World Championships next year, was a bit too narrow in places due to lack of snow.
“I was just having a hard time trying to figure out how to move through people, and get into the right positions at the right times,” Rosie added. “Tactically, I could have done better, but feeling wise, I felt quite good.”
With the World Championships next season, organizers debuted a new cross country stadium, and a new course, which featured numerous climbs and fast descents, as compared to previous Oberstdorf courses. The U.S. Team spent the entire week training in Oberstdorf, including a couple of days previewing the new track.
“I think I did a little bit too much this week,” said Jessie Diggins, who finished 22nd in Saturday’s race. “It’s tough to try and find the balance with training in the weeks immediately following the Tour (de Ski).”
Even with a challenging race day, Jessie was able to dig deep, knowing that it’s money in the bank for next year’s World Championships. “Even when it was not going well, and I was feeling like I was about to puke on every downhill, I still kept pushing and looking for every second, and never gave up,” she said. “I was using every opportunity to learn this course and to really take it all in and practice the things I could do well.”
Caitlin Patterson put down a solid effort, finishing 34th, and Alayna Sonnensyn continued her World Cup education, finishing 51st.
“It was a fun, hard and tough day,” Alayna said. “I got some sparkles from Jessie, which definitely made me feel good. But unfortunately, I sort of started towards the back of the pack and I was trying not to ski too frantically in the first lap. But by the time I could start moving around people, it was already too late. I was bummed not to be able to make that up. I tried my best throughout the next few laps, but it’s just another learning experience and trying to figure out the type of racing over here with this type of competition.”
In the men’s 30k race, David Norris, who has consistently been moving up in the World Cup results list this season, was well on his way to a career-best result - moving into 21st position midway through the opening 15k classic. However, his skis iced up and he found himself over the tips and onto the snow after cresting a climb. He quickly got up, but not before 10 guys past him.
“I went out steady, and I actually kind of liked that because everyone got strung out, so I was able to slowly work my way up through the field,” said David, who battled back and finished 28th. “And with the exception of that one fall, I think it went really well.”
Up next, a hilly, challenging classic sprint is on tap for Sunday.
“Going into tomorrow, anything can happen, and I’m going for it,” Jessie said. “It’s only 1.2k-ish. So I’m really going to send it tomorrow. I know the fitness is there, I know the technique is there, I know the strategy is there. So I’m just looking to fine-tune things a bit.”
Joining Jessie on the starting line will be Caitlin, Rosie, Alayna, Sophie Cladwell, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen (who won a classic sprint in Oberstdorf in 2016), Simi Hamilton, Andy Newell, Tyler Kornfield, and Noel Keeffe, who is making his World Cup debut.
HOW TO WATCH
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