GAELLIVARE, Sweden (Nov. 22, 2015) — On a cold day in Sweden, Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) secured another win this Sunday in Gaellivare during a 10km freestyle FIS race, with Petra Novakova of the Czech Republic following closely behind to claim second and Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis, MN) third. Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) just missed podium spots, grabbing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I was really happy with today!” said Diggins after her win. “It’s a challenging course with lots of climbing, twisting downhills and not too much recovery, but my plan was to take it out hot from the start and hold the pace as long as I could.”
Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov also took the second win of the weekend in a 15km freestyle race at Hellner Stadium in Gaellivare. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both earned top-10 finishes to conclude a successful first winter race weekend for team USA.
The team will be in Ruka, Finland Nov. 27-29 to kick off the first World Cup races.
I was really happy with today! Again, the techs and coaches did a great job and it was a smooth running machine for team USA. It’s a challenging course with lots of climbing, twisting downhills and not too much recovery, but my plan was to take it out hot from the start and hold the pace as long as I could. It was a pretty chilly day – I think it was -11C – but it felt so good to be doing a skate race again!
Today's race was a lot of fun and a great cap off to our first weekend. The conditions were cold and hard packed and my skis were fantastic. I got to ski most of the second lap with Jessie and I felt a lot more relaxed when I was following her. I am really happy with how our entire team and staff are working together and I am looking forward to the season on the World Cup more than ever!
Today was a great test of fitness and a great opportunity to practice racing before things start to matter next week. The conditions here in Gaellivare are perfect. There's lots of snow and it's cold but not too cold. I've raced World Cup races here twice before, and I love these courses. They flow really well. There's lots of climbing but nothing too steep.
My plan today was to go out aggressively, and I did that well. Next week's individual start race is only a 10k so I'll need to go out hard. I faded a little on the last lap today, but I'm pleased with the way I skied, and I believe I can build on this performance in the coming weeks.
I feel strong and fit and I'm excited to start the World Cup.
Todays race was another great chance to practice racing. It wasn’t the effort I was looking for, but that's what these races are for: practice. I’m hoping to build into the season. I’ll be using these first few races to try and find form. I was a little surprised to finish in the top 10; I would have expected worse. I didn’t see any other racers on the course. If it weren’t for the coaches doing a great job yelling at me, I would have thought the race had been canceled or something. I’m looking forward to some head-to-head skiing on the World Cup soon.
Today was another brilliant race from Jessie. We weren't firing on all cylinders as a team, so it really came down to Jessie going to battle with Petra Novacova of Czech for the win. I'm excited for Jessie and her great weekend here in Gaellivare. And she's just getting started. I feel good about Caitlin, Liz and Rosie's races as well, though it was still a step or two from what they would call a good race. Today's effort is part of the solution to getting there. The girls are feeling good in training and have adjusted well to the travel demands. Now it is just a matter of racing our way into form. This weekend has shed light into where each athlete sits individually, so we know what type of work needs to be done. We will be ready for Kuusamo when the World Cup kicks off on Friday.
Our new service technicians already seem like they've been a part of the family for years, and because of a great camp in Gaellivare, we're entering the season more prepared as a staff than we were last year without races. This crew is tight already. The skis were gliding fast today!
Men's and women's FIS results