OBERSDORF, Germany (Jan. 3, 2015) - Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) kicked off the seven stage Tour de Ski with a strong 3 kilometer prologue Saturday in Obersdorf. “I felt like I was going today,” Bjornsen said of the opening event in the seven-stage tour, now in its ninth year. Bjornsen led a strong day for the U.S. women, finishing seventh. Teammate Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) finished eighth, while Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) finished 14th and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) 22nd.
“This is a great start to the tour,” explained Coach Matt Whitcomb, “We had a pacing plan that athletes executed patiently. At the halfway point Sadie was 27th, Liz 22nd, and Jessie 27th. They paced it extremely well to hit their final placing.”
Conditions on the course were fast following rain last week and colder conditions at race time. “It was beautiful,” Bjornsen said, “It’s a hilly course that was nice and firm.”
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) led the men’s team with a 26th place in the 4k prologue, a solid result for the sprinter. “We are excited with Simi's 26th place,” Whitcomb continued. “These are his first distance World Cup points on a very demanding course.”
The seven-stage Tour de Ski will cover three countries in nine days with stops in Oberstdorf, Germany, Val Mustair, Switzerland plus Toblach and Val di Fiemme, Italy. Sunday will feature a 15k classic pursuit for the men, 10k for the women, in Oberstdorf.
Sadie Bjornsen skis to an impressive seventh in the Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf. (Getty Images/Bongarts-Matthias Hangst)
TOUR DE SKI SCHEDULE
Saturday, Jan. 3 – Oberstdorf, Germany
Men’s 4k freestyle prologue
Women’s 3k freestyle prologue
Sunday, Jan. 4 – Oberstdorf, Germany
Men’s 15k classic pursuit
Women’s 10k classic pursuit
Tuesday, Jan. 5 – Val Mustair, Switzerland
Men’s and women’s freestyle sprint
Wednesday, Jan. 6 – Toblach, Italy
Men’s 10k classic
Women’s 5 k classic
Thursday, Jan. 7 – Toblach, Italy
Men’s 35k freestyle pursuit
Women’s 15k freestyle pursuit
Saturday, Jan. 9 – Val di Fiemme, Italy
Men’s 15k classic mass start
Women’s 10k classic mass start
Sunday, Jan. 10 – Val di Fiemme, Italy
Men’s and women’s 9k freestyle pursuit (hill climb)
I felt like I was going today. I was really stoked that it was a good day for all of us.
It was beautiful the day we drove here, it rained yesterday but was great today and nice and firm. Today was a nice hilly course with firm conditions.
I’m trying to think of it like spring series. You have to be a professional rester as well as a professional racer. There isn’t any time for any extra nerves or wasted anything.
It’s fun to see that we’re picking it up and the plan is working.
We had some rocking skis out there. Our techs were just awesome.
I think after the Davos races, I was needing just a bit of a break and the family time and relaxing time has put me in a good place. I’m really psyched to be racing again.
It’s a fun event. I like how the tour is a big adrenaline rush.
I’m pretty happy with it. I feel like my body is coming around.
I made the comment when I jumped in the van that day one is done but we’re going to do this a bunch more times. Your body falls into the rhythm and it likes the stimulus. You get started and go day to day. That rhythm is great.
The prologue is fun, we don’t get to do these enough.
I’m excited to return to Val Mustair. I’ve had great results there in the past and I’m excited to see what I can do.