The women faced wet, foggy conditions in Sunday’s Holmenkollen 30k FIS World Cup classic race.
OSLO, Norway (February 7, 2016) – A blanket of fog and challenging snow conditions greeted racers at Holmenkollen for the second-straight day as Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the U.S. women’s team in 22nd in Sunday’s 30k FIS World Cup classic race.
Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) and Liz Stephen (East Montpellier, VT) worked together throughout the race. Despite the unfortunate weather, the team was resilient as Bjornsen finished just ahead in Stephen 23rd and Diggins in 25th.
“Today was a wet and rainy struggle with not much more than 75 feet of visibility - a perfect day for this team to take advantage of our resilience in demanding situations,” said Coach Matt Whitcomb.
Norway’s Therese Johaug dominated the women’s 30k classic race winning the race by over three and a half minutes, which has been the largest margin of victory at Holmenkollen and in a women’s FIS World Cup race. Johaug charged from the start and led the entire race ahead of teammate Ingvild Oestberg and Finland’s Anne Kylloenen who finished third.
“Conditions were challenging the entire race, and our team fought hard to stay in the mix,” Bjornsen said. “It was fun to share the majority of the kilometers with Jessie as we pushed each other along, and then chase Liz some there at the end.”
“I had much more energy and spunk today and I loved the foggy, wet conditions.” said Liz Stephen. I was mentally ready to charge again and my body responded positively to each push.”
Sadie Bjornsen finished 22nd, Liz Stephen 23rd, Jessie Diggins 25th, Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) 33rd and Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, AK) 36th.
Caitlin Patterson is joining the U.S. Team after her successful results at the USSA Super Tours and the 2016 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships.
The 30k for women was held for the 22nd time in Holmenkollen, the first was in 1988, when Finland’s Marjo Matikainen won the race.
Norway showed it’s strength again with four ladies in the top eight, and the Finnish ladies' continued their strong season with four in the top 11.
Sadie Bjornsen Today was one of the more challenging Holmenkollen's, but regardless, I still managed to truly enjoy the atmosphere out there while I was racing. Conditions were challenging the entire race, and our team fought hard to stay in the mix.
Unfortunately, my skis were not able to compete with the others out there today, so I did what I could with what I had. It was fun to share the majority of the kilometers with Jessie as we pushed each other along, and then chase Liz some there at the end.
Liz Stephen Today was a step in the right direction for me. I have been trying to manage a fatigued body this season and so the last 10 days that we spent training in Sjusjoen, Norway were all about recovery for me. I trained slow, worked on some technique and rested more than I wanted to with perfect winter conditions right out the door each day.
But each day I felt a little better and so today's feelings were of a body that is much more recovered, has much more energy and spunk in it and I loved the foggy, wet conditions we had today. I was mentally ready to charge again and my body responded positively to each push.
Matt Whitcomb – U.S. Ski Team Coach Today was a wet and rainy struggle with not much more than 75 feet of visibility - a perfect day for this team to take advantage of our resilience in demanding situations. At the end of the day, the athletes felt like everyone put together a great lap or two or three, but nobody tied together a great race.
There is no reason to be bummed about three athletes finishing between 20 and 25, and especially because they know that number doesn't represent what they were capable of today. A day like today makes this team hungry for much more and excited to stomp a couple races in Stockholm and Falun.