LILLEHAMMER, Norway (Dec. 7) – Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) skied strong, giving up only one position to finish 18th overall in Sunday’s 10k pursuit race, the last of the Lillehammer World Cup mini tour. Bjornsen, 25, led the U.S. results through the second weekend of World Cup racing and demonstrated a more balanced level of skiing. Teammate Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) also skied well, moving up from 35th to 29th and scoring her first World Cup points of the season.
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the U.S. men with a strong effort in only his second Period 1 World Cup weekend. Bjornsen began the day in 53rd place overall before skiing the three-lap, five kilometer course with the 36th fastest split, 1:04 behind winner Martin Sundby (NOR). The effort moved Bjornsen’s overall tour finish up fourteen positions to 39th.
Sadie Bjornsen charges to an 18th place finish in the three day World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom)
Norway dominated the pursuit in the same fashion as the previous two stages. Norwegians again swept the podium in both the men’s and women’s events. Norway leaves the Lillehammer tour having won 17 of the 18 podium positions possible.
It’s always easy to pull your head together when you’re in the best race shape, but we aren’t yet so it’s hard to convince yourself that you have an extra gear at the end of the race when you’ve totally tapped the tank. Today, I was able to do that. That was the success of the day.
I had spectacular skis and I had the fun atmosphere of this World Cup. There were tons of people cheering for us today by name so that was great. I was yo-yo ing with the German team all day and I enjoyed that fight.
Chris Grover has been reminding us that we have goals for February. I think our team is exceptionally good at looking at everyday as a new day. You get that from being on the road for five months and knowing it is a long season with many opportunities.
I was stoked for (my brother) Erik. He trained so hard this summer and I think he’ll have an exceptional year and this is just the beginning.
Chris Grover, Head Coach
Sadie had a super solid day. She was in there fighting all day and that’s really cool because she recognizes that she’s not at her top fitness. When she gets it all together, she’ll be a threat in all disciplines and can do well in these tours.
On the men’s side, Erik Bjornsen was really stoked for his race, felt like he had really good skis and could attack and chase on the downhills and really go for it. For Erik, he’s learning the ropes and I’m excited to see what he’ll be doing in the weeks to come.
Liz Stephen had a great day too for her, she had a really good race and moved up consistently and comfortably.
It was tricky conditions, warmer and we had some fog. I’m really psyched that the wax team was able to give the athletes some great skis today. They allowed us to be competitive. Today was a really tough race too, made from two or three really tough 5k laps, it was among the toughest of the season.
Because it is so popular in Norway and there are so many athletes vying for World Cup positions, they come in really sharp. I know we - and other countries as well - will close ground on Norway in the week’s to come. Right now they are very fit and very sharp. It is a long season, however.