RYBINSK, Russia (Jan. 25, 2015) - For the second time in as many days, Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) posted a fifth place in a World Cup. Sunday’s 15km skiathlon marked the strongest result from Diggins in a distance race this season. Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) finished closely behind Diggins in seventh. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) finished 13th and 20th respectively.
“I went into it with goals of staying really calm in the classic,” Diggins explained. “My goal was to be efficient in the classic and I was after fighting a ton for position get in front of skiers slowing through the inch-worm effect (of mass start racing.)”
Diggins skied with a pack of skiers throughout the classic and skate portions of the skiathlon benefitting from the effort that Stephen did to lead that pack. “I kept getting dropped off the back of the pack in the climbs and then I’d claw my way back on the flats. Just a bit more flat and I feel like I might have caught third and fourth place.”
For Diggins and the entire U.S. squad, the sharp upturn in results comes at a useful time. They team departs Russia for a pre-World Championship camp in Davos, Switzerland for the next two weeks. The Team will be named early this week.
The race is on for the women in the skiathlon to close out a three-day weekend of World Cup racing in Rybinsk. (Getty Images/AFP-Alexander Nemonov)
“It’s taken me all year to get into good form," said Diggins. "I had some low confidence times and finally it’s coming around and at a good time. I’d really like to get a top five in the skate race at World Championships and after today I’m thinking a lot about the skiathlon.”
The team returns to competition on February 14th with a pre-World Championship classic sprint event in Oestersund, Sweden, before the opening of World Championships in Falun, Sweden Feb. 18.
The course was two step hills followed by a winding double pole section. The course really suited me lots of gliding sections.
The snow had packed down a lot but the classic tracks were a little tricky. It was icy and a little hard. The techs really nailed the wax. I felt like I could kick up everything. My skate skis were phenomenol- they were so fast. I was so impressed with how well the coaches and techs did on the skis and they just hammered it so well. If they were stressed, I never saw it.
I went into it with goals of staying really calm in the classic. There were only so many tracks. My goal was to be efficient in the classic. I fought to get out of the inch worm effect. I was able to rest on the flats and the downhills and recover really quickly.
I was on the back of this pack all day and Liz did a lot of work. I kept getting dropped but I just had to believe that I’d keep catching them again. The final uphill I went for it and I was able to get quite close to third and fourth. The fans were amazing and ever time we wen through the stadium it was super exciting. I had a lot of fun.
It’s taken me all year to get into good form. I had some low confidence times and finally its coming around and at a good time. I’d really like to get a top five in the skate and I’m thinking a lot about the skiathlon.