Jessica Diggins finished fifth in the opening freestyle sprint the Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup season. (Getty Images-Fabrice Coffrini)
DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 11, 2016) – After her strong fourth-place finish a day earlier in the 15k freestyle, Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) led the USA in the opening freestyle sprint of the season making finals and finishing fifth. Both Diggins and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) skied into the semifinals with five Americans making the heats.
Diggins skied a strong and stable opening heat finishing second to Sweden’s Hanna Falk. In the semifinals, Diggins was seeded into the heat with eventual race winner Maiken Kaspersen Falla of Norway who set a torrid pace. Diggins came in fourth but advanced as a lucky loser. In the finals, Kaspersen Falla was an easy winner with Diggins in fifth.
Sophie Caldwell chases Norway's Mari Eide. (Getty Images/AFP-Fabrice Coffrini)
“I was definitely carrying a bit of fatigue from the previous days race that caught up to me in the final, but mentally I was psyched and ready to go,” Diggins said.
Caldwell, meanwhile, won her opening heat with a crafty move on Finland’s Krista Parmokoski in the final turn to the finish. In the semifinals, Caldwell was in a challenging position in final corner with heavy traffic when she was taken out and crashed hard to the snow.
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) was the lone American to qualify and he failed to advance out of the opening heats. Russian Sergey Ustiugov took the win.
The tour now heads to La Clusaz, France with a newly-modified race schedule. The originally scheduled skiathlons (both techniques) have been replaced with freestyle mass starts of 15k for the men and 10k for women. The weekend will also feature the first team event of the season with the American women expected to challenge for the podium.
Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) skied to fifth in the opening freestyle sprint World Cup of the season.
Five Americans qualified for the heats, with Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) also making semifinals.
The tour now heads to La Clusaz for freestyle mass starts plus the first team event of the season with the U.S. women expected to challenge.
QUOTES Jessie Diggins I’m so impressed with our hardworking techs and staff, and they delivered some awesome skis for us today!
I was definitely carrying a bit of fatigue from the previous days race that caught up to me in the final, but mentally I was psyched and ready to go. And I think it’s so important for me to learn how to ski with that confidence and be able to keep my focus during all the rounds since sprint days are so long. I was also so proud of my teammates getting in the rounds and it was fun to see Sophie skiing so smooth and powerful.