Jessie Diggins battled during the eighth and final stage to solidify a top-five overall Ski Tour Canada finish. (Getty Images-Trond Tandberg)
CANMORE, Alberta (March 12, 2016) – Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) pulled out all the stops in the eighth and final stage to claim a coveted spot in the top-five overall at Ski Tour Canada Saturday.
Diggins led the U.S. Team in the eighth stage - a FIS World Cup 10k classic pursuit – to solidify her fifth-place overall in the Tour standings, matching the U.S. major tour mark held by Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) from the 2015 Tour de Ski. This Tour also had the deepest U.S. finish ever, with three women in the overall top 25 - Diggins fifth, Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) 11th and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) 24th.
“I was so happy with this tour and the season as a whole,” said Diggins. “I'm so proud to be a part of this team! I had great skis today and although I woke up with the start of a cold, I knew I could fight it out one last time.”
In the women’s 10k pursuit, Norway’s Therese Johaug dominated the race to steal the Ski Tour Canada overall victory from teammate Heidi Weng. Weng started 30 seconds ahead of Johaug and in no time, Johaug stole the lead from her and continued to lengthen the gap between them. Johaug skied to a convincing first place finish a minute seven seconds ahead of Weng and teammate Ingvild Oestberg who was third. Despite Johaug’s huge win, she did not have the fastest time of the day. Finland’s Krista Parmakoski had the fastest time just 0.6 seconds ahead of Johaug.
In the men’s 15k pursuit, Norway’s Martin Sundby stole the win and the overall Tour victory from Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov. Sundby started 39 seconds behind and by 2.1k he had taken the lead ahead of Ustiugov. From there, Sundby commanded the race to win the 15k by 57.7 seconds ahead of Ustiugov and teammate Petter Northug who finished third. Despite Sundby’s win, he was the third fastest of the day. France’s Maurice Manificat was first, followed by Finland’s Matti Heikkinen. Sundby was 49.9 seconds behind in third.
In the final fight of the Tour, despite hot, slushy conditions, Diggins skied one of her strongest classic races ever. She posted the third fastest time of the day, just 18.9 seconds behind Parmakoski and Johuag. Diggins and Parmakoski battled aggressively for fifth in the overall Tour, but Parmakoski jumped ahead of Diggins at 4.5k. Diggins held on and eventually closed the gap and caught Norway’s Astrid Jacobsen, which guaranteed her fifth..
“It was a hot slushy hard race and I did my best to stay with Krista as long as possible,“ said Diggins “We caught Astrid and I ended up in fifth place, and was psyched to learn that I got my first classic podium ever with third-fastest time of day!”
Bjornsen and Brennan also skied impressive races in the grueling eighth stage of the Tour. Bjornsen stayed strong and determined in the final race, to finish 11th overall in the Tour standings. Despite tough conditions, Brennan dug deep to move up to finish 24th overall.
Norway’s Therese Johaug and Martin Sundby, both won the overall Ski Tour Canada as well as the overall World Cup victory.
Jessie Diggins was in the top 10 in the Overall World Cup Standings, finishing eighth overall. Sadie Bjornsen was 14th overall and Sophie Caldwell was 30th.
The USA had 14 athletes finish Ski Tour Canada out of the 23 who started last week.
Chelsea Holmes (Girdwood, AK) finished 31st overall, followed by Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis, MN) in 33rd, Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) 34th, Katharine Ogden (Landgrove, VT) 36th, Kaitlynn Miller (Lake Elmore, VT) 41st, Anne Hart (Stillwater, MN) 43rd, and Jennie Bender (Johnson, VT) 48th.
Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) led the U.S. men in 34th, followed by Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) 42nd, Scott Patterson (Anchorage, AK) 46th and Tad Elliot (Durango, CO) 51st.
USA MAJOR TOUR FINISHES
5 – Jessie Diggins, 2016 Ski Tour Canada
5 – Liz Stephen, 2015 Tour de Ski
7 – Liz Stephen, 2014 Tour de Ski
10 – Kikkan Randall, 2012 Tour de Ski
11 – Sadie Bjornsen, 2016 Ski Tour Canada
12 – Kikkan Randall, 2013 Tour de Ski
13 – Jessie Diggins, 2014 Tour de Ski
15 – Liz Stephen, 2013 Tour de Ski
17 – Jessie Diggins, 2013 Tour de Ski
21 – Kikkan Randall, 2011 Tour de Ski
24 – Rosie Brennan, 2016 Ski Tour Canada
24 – Liz Stphen, 2012 Tour de Ski
I was so happy with this tour and the season as a whole. I'm so proud to be a part of this team! I had great skis today and although I woke up with the start of a cold, I knew I could fight it out one last time. It was a hot slushy hard race and I did my best to stay with Krista as long as possible. We caught Astrid and I ended up in fifth place, and was psyched to learn that I got my first classic podium ever with third fastest time of day!