Nordic

Diggins fourth in World Cup Freestyle

by
USSA
2016-02-14 12:16
 

FALUN, Sweden (Feb. 14 2016) – Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) led the U.S. team for the second day, finishing fourth in a FIS World Cup 10k freestyle mass start on Sunday. This was Diggins second top-five performance of the weekend in Falun.

“I’m really proud of my race effort and the weekend as a whole - to have both a classic race and a skate race in the top five is encouraging before the Tour de Canada,” said Diggins.

Norway’s Therese Johaug secured the win in the women’s 10k as she pulled away in the final kilometers to beat her teammate, Heidi Weng by 8.8 seconds. Norway’s Astrid Jacobsen finished third followed by Diggins in fourth.

10k

Jessie Diggins (left) chases Therese Johaug of Norway during mass start 10k freestyle World Cup Sunday in Falun, Sweden. (Getty Images-Trond Tandberg)

“With Caitlin earning these points, it now means seven U.S. women have been in the distance points this year, and that is something to get excited about,” said coach Matt Whitcomb. “Once you’re in the points, new horizons open.”

The men’s 15k finish was not quite as predictable. The lead pack remained close as the lead continued to change throughout the race. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov managed to claim first as Italy’s Francesco De Fabiani sprinted from behind to steal second from Norway’s Martin Sundby. The men’s race was truly a sprint to the finish, as the top 10 skiers were separated by just 2.8 seconds.

It was a strong day for the U.S. women in a competitive freestyle mass start race. Diggins made big moves from the beginning to get where she wanted to be in the front pack. She moved tactically through the first two kilometers to secure a spot behind Johaug, Weng, and Jacobsen by 4k and was able to hold on until the finish.

“I really went for it and tried to keep up with the leaders for as long as I could, and I was just a few seconds off at the halfway point, but then the race started to catch up to me and I couldn’t hang on any longer,” said Diggins.

Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) found her grove once again, making bold moves throughout the race as she started 23rd and finished 14th. Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, AK) who joined the U.S. Team on the World Cup circuit only a week ago, earned her first World Cup points finishing 25th overall.

“We thought that Liz would be back to her usual speedy self again today and we’re happy to be right,” Whitcomb said. “I’m very encouraged with her result today, and mostly because she looked happy, snappy and engaged.”

“Today was a really good feeling to leave Europe on and take home with me to prepare for Canada,” said Stephen. “I had the best energy I have felt all year today.”  

Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the U.S. men for the second day, finishing 35th overall, just out of reach of earning World Cup points.

“Erik was looking to capitalize on his good shape and repeat yesterday’s race into the points today, and nearly accomplished this, finishing 35th, less than five seconds out of the top-30, and seven seconds out of 26th,” said coach Jason Cork. “He’s definitely racing more as we know he can, and although today’s result wasn’t in the points.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Norway’s Therese Johaug has done what only two other female skiers have done in the history of the FIS World Cup Cross-Country by winning 14 competitions in one season.  
  • Only Marit Bjoergen has won more in one season and she has done it twice, winning 17 times in the 2011/12 season and 15 times last season.
  • It was the first FIS World Cup distance victory for Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, who is known best for his sprinting ability.
  • With Caitlin Patterson claiming her first World Cup Points on Sunday, those points now mean that 7 U.S. women have been in the distance points this year.
  • For the U.S. women: Diggins finished 4th, Stephen 14th, Patterson 25th, Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) 48th, and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) 67th.
  • For the U.S. men: Bjornsen finished 35th, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) 41st, Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) 61st, Scott Patterson (Anchorage, AK) 74th and Reese Hanneman (Anchorage, AK) 88th.

 

QUOTES

Jessie Diggins
Today was an exciting race. I really went for it and tried to keep up with the leaders for as long as I could, and I was just a few seconds off at the halfway point, but then the race started to catch up to me and I couldn’t hang on any longer. But I’m really proud of my race effort and the weekend as a whole - to have both a classic race and a skate race in the top five is encouraging before the Tour de Canada.

Liz Stephen
Today was a really good feeling to leave Europe on and take home with me to prepare for Canada. I had the best energy I have felt all year today.  

Matt Whitcomb – U.S. Ski Team Coach
Today was one of the more exciting races of the year. Jessie was predictably on fire, and made a gutsy move over the top of the Mordarbakken at 2k to cover a 10-second gap that had opened up to the leaders. Jessie’s move to catch the leaders early in the race protected her from a charging chase pack that ended up seconds from her tails.  

We thought that Liz would be back to her usual speedy self again today and we’re happy to be right. She struggled with the traffic today due to a slower start, but when a lane opened she was able to move into the top-10 by 7k.  I’m very encouraged with her result today, and mostly because she looked happy, snappy and engaged.

The real excitement happened when Caitlin Patterson scored her first World Cup points. These points now mean that seven U.S. women have been in the distance points this year, and that is something to get excited about. Once you’re in the points, new horizons open.  

Jason Cork – U.S. Ski Team Coach
Erik was looking to capitalize on his good shape and repeat yesterday’s race into the points today, and nearly accomplished this, finishing 35th, less than five seconds out of the top-30, and seven seconds out of 26th. He’s definitely racing more as we know he can, and although today’s result wasn’t in the points.

RESULTS
Men’s 15k Freestyle
Women’s 10k Freestyle