Nordic

Diggins Fourth in Historic Davos 15k Freestyle

by
Tom Kelly
2016-12-10 08:08
 

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 10, 2016) - Coming off her 5k win last week in Lillehammer, Norway Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) powered her way through the field in Davos, finishing just off the podium in fourth in a 15k freestyle at the Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup. It was the best U.S. women’s finish at that distance in history.

Diggins started last in the field of 60 and chased the earlier time of Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg who took a 7.9-second win over teammate Heidi Weng. Finland’s Krista Parmakoski was third. Diggins was 54.3 seconds off the lead and 37 seconds off the podium.

Chasing the leaders all the way in her typical all-out style, Diggins was working to keep a strategic pace on a challenging course.

“I was really happy with my race today,” she said. “I had great skis and my best pacing effort to date in Davos - this is such a tricky course! It’s very hard to figure out exactly how fast you should go on each part of the course because it’s all gradual up, then all gradual down, and you need to put as much effort into the downhill as the uphill.”


Jessie Diggins skied to a fourth-pace finish Sunday in Davos. (Getty/AFP- Fabrice Coffrini)

In the virtual race, Diggins started out the splits in fourth and fifth, before dropping into a large group through the midway section race – and falling as low as eighth - before moving steadily up in the final few kilometers.

“My plan was to ski smooth and as evenly as I could,” she added, “and although I don’t think I did it perfectly, it was much better than years past. It was an exciting race being so close in time to the girls around me and I was happy to have my best ever finish at this venue!”

The finish moved her up from ninth to seventh in the FIS Cross Country overall rankings.

Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) continued her comeback after taking last season off for the birth of her son, finishing 33rd - just outside the points.

“This was a step in the right direction,” she said. “Getting the right race gears back has been more challenging than I thought. But each race I do feels a little closer.”

Randall and her husband Jeff Ellis have baby Breck on the tour. While Randall’s racing, Jeff is working the finish line for FIS while his parents watched their little boy.

Snow conditions had been challenging in the region, but Randall praised organizers. “The course was in the best shape it’s been all week,” she said. “The OC and the jury did a great job of preserving the sections that had been breaking down previously. The course is a challenging one with so many long gradual flat sections. ”

Randall, who has been the architect of a strong and deep women’s team over the last decade, was joyed at Diggins’ finish. “Jessie is on a roll right now,” said Randall. “It’s great to see her in the mix at every event.”

In the men's 30k freestyle race, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) was 44th.

On Sunday, the weekend will wrap-up with the first freestyle sprint of the World Cup season.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) was fourth in a 15k freestyle at Davos.
  • It was the best U.S. women’s finish in history at that distance, beating her old mark of 11th set a year ago on the same course.
  • Diggins moved from ninth up to seventh in the overall FIS Cross Country rankings.

 

QUOTES
Jessie Diggins
I was really happy with my race today. I had great skis and my best pacing effort to date in Davos - this is such a tricky course. It’s very hard to figure out exactly how fast you should go on each part of the course because it’s all gradual up, then all gradual down, and you need to put as much effort into the downhill as the uphill.

My plan was to ski smooth and as evenly as I could, and although I don’t think I did it perfectly, it was much better than years past. It was an exciting race being so close in time to the girls around me and I was happy to have my best ever finish at this venue!

Kikkan Randall
This was a step in the right direction. Getting the right race gears back has been more challenging than I thought. But each race I do feels a little closer.

The course was in the best shape it’s been all week. The OC and the jury did a great job of preserving the sections that had been breaking down previously. The course is a challenging one with so many long gradual flat sections.  My skis were right in the mix. After a year of skiing mostly on my training skis, it’s really nice to be back on my fast race skis!

Jessie is on a roll right now. It’s great to see her in the mix at every event.

RESULTS
Men’s 30k Freestyle
Women’s 15k Freestyle