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Women's Depth Showcased at Davos

By Tom Kelly
December, 10 2017
Sadie Bjornsen

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 10, 2017) - Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) matched a career-best 10k freestyle Sunday, skiing to 12th in Davos. Bjornsen led four Americans into the top 20 with five in the top 30 points. it was one of the strongest overall performances on a higher elevation distance course for the U.S. Ski Team.

Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg took the win for the women while Maurice Manificat of France won for the men. It was the first race of seven this year not won by Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, who chose to sit out. Paddy Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.) led the U.S. men in 41st.

While the American women did not challenge for the podium, they were formidable in depth. The distance in Davos had been 15k the last two seasons for the women, dropping this year to the 10k Olympic length.

Just a day after her skate sprint podium, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was 14th - her best 10k skate finish since she was on the podium in Gaellivare, Sweden over five years ago. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was 15th with Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah) 17th for one of her best distance finishes ever. Continental Cup leader Chelsea Holmes (Anchorage) was 29th for her first World Cup points outside North America and first time on the track at Davos.

“Davos always feels like the hardest thing in the world,” said Bjornsen of the high altitude track that offers little rest. “Today my goal was to go out harder. When I pace things sometimes I have a tendency to go too slow and don’t get into the flow of the race. I new I was taking a dangerous path going out hard and try to hold it. I know I lost a little bit but I was happy at the end of the day. There’s a lot more in my skating bank this winter.”

The Davos course sits at over 5,000 feet elevation - the highest on the tour and around double that of the Olympic course in PyeongChang.

“Overall pretty decent but it’s going to leave us wanting for a little bit more,” said Head Coach Chris Grover.

Diggins is now eighth in the World Cup overall rankings with Bjornsen ninth..

The team capped the weekend Sunday afternoon with a reception to dedicate its new waxing truck, that has been responsible for faster skis and a better work environment for the team's ski technicians.

The tour now heads to Toblach, Italy for a pair of pre-Christmas events next weekend. Saturday will feature another 15k/10k freestyle race, an Olympic discipline, then wrap up Sunday with a 15k/10k classic pursuit.

Men's 15k freestyle 
Women's 10k freestyle