Jessie Diggins (2) leads out teammate Sadie Bjornsen (15) at the start of the women’s 10k Classic at Ski Tour Canada Wednesday. (Reese Brown)
MONTREAL, Canada (March, 2 2016) – Day two of the Ski Tour Canada was greeted by deep snow and frigid winds at the Parc du Mont-Royal course in Montreal on Wednesday. Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) led the U.S. Team for the second day, finishing eighth in a FIS Nordic World Cup 10.5k classic mass start race. Diggins is now fifth overall in the Ski Tour Canada standings.
“It was a good race for me today and I'm happy with where I am in the tour so far,” said Diggins.
Norway’s Therese Johaug was back on top, dominating the women’s 10.5k classic race. Johaug started in the back of the pack in bib 27, but managed to move herself to the front to eventually win the race by one minute over teammates Heidi Weng in second and Astrid Jacobsen in third, to complete a Norwegian podium sweep. The men’s 17.5k classic was not as predictable. Norway’s Emil Iversen and Petter Northug skied patiently behind Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov for 14k. Then Iversen jumped ahead to take the lead and steal the victory by 5.3 seconds over Northug and 14.5 seconds ahead of Ustiugov.
Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 31st Wednesday in Montreal. (Reese Brown)
Through the deep snow, technical downhill sections and steep climbs, Diggins remained resilient through it all, staying in the chase pack through to the finish. Diggins nearly grabbed seventh, but Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen lunged a little further to steal the spot by just 0.2 seconds in a close battle.
“That was a very strange race for sure, with the narrow course and wind gusts, but I was very happy with my skis and I hung tough in the chase pack,” Diggins said.
Overall the women’s team showed a lot of depth in the 10.5k classic, as four U.S. women finished in the top 30. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) dabbled in the chase pack until two kilometers to go when fatigue set in and dropped back to finish 16th overall. Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) finished 22nd, just 7.5 second out of the top 20, and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) finished 28th.
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) put in a tough fight to lead the U.S. men in the 17.5k classic race. Bjornsen dabbled in the top 25 until 10.5k where he dropped back, eventually finishing 31st as Austria’s Dominik Baldauf lunged at the line to steal 30th by just 0.4 seconds.
Competition continues Friday in Quebec City with a freestyle sprint. The races will be streamed live at 3:30pm EST on NBC Sports Live Extra.
After claiming her 16th victory of the season in a 10.5k classic mass start on Wednesday, Norway’s Therese Johaug is now one victory away from equaling teammate Marit Bjoergen for the most wins in one season.
This was Norway’s Emil Iversen’s first distance win of the season.
The mass start competition took place in Parc du Mont-Royal (George Etienne Cartier Monument), the oldest skiing site in Canada dating back to 1879, right in the heart of Quebec’s largest city.
It was at this same place that the legendary Montreal Ski Club was founded.
Norway’s Therese Johaug now leads the Ski Tour Canada by 26.8 seconds over teammate Heidi Weng.
Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov still leads the overall Tour by 6.1 seconds over Norway’s Emil Iversen.
Jessie Diggins is fifth in the overall Ski Tour Canada standings, followed by Sadie Bjornsen in 12th and Liz Stephen in 25th.
Erik Bjornsen leads the U.S. men in 28th in the Ski Tour Canada overall standings.
STREAMING SCHEDULE (times EST)
Friday, March 4 3:30 p.m. - Men’s and women’s freestyle sprint - Quebec City - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra
Saturday, March 5 3:00 p.m. - Women’s 10k freestyle pursuit - Quebec City - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra 4:00 p.m. - Men’s 15k freestyle pursuit - Quebec City - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra
Tuesday, March 8 3:00 p.m. - Men’s and women’s classic sprint, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra
Wednesday, March 9 12:00 p.m. - Women’s 15k skiathlon, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra 2:30 p.m. - Men’s 30k skiathlon, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra
Friday, March 11 11:45 a.m. - Women’s 10k freestyle interval start, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra 3:00 p.m. - Men’s 15k freestyle interval start, Canmore - LIVE - NB Sports Live Extra
Saturday, March 12 3:00 p.m. - Women’s 10k classic pursuit, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra 4:00 p.m. - Men’s 15k classic pursuit, Canmore - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra
Jessie Diggins That was a very strange race for sure, with the narrow course and wind gusts, but I was very happy with my skis and I hung tough in the chase pack. It was a good race for me and I'm happy with where I am in the tour.