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Diggins gets 11th in Davos 15km freestyle

Sun, Dec  13, 2015 - By USSA

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 12, 2015) – The World Cup skiers met in Davos on Saturday for a 30/15k interval start freestyle race. In the women’s competition Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) skied some of the fastest checkpoint times, but that didn’t seem to fend off the dynamic Norwegian women’s team which snatched up all three spots on the podium as Therese Johaug dominated with a one minute, 10 second lead over Ingvild Oestberg and Heidi Weng who finished third (+1:15.3).

Diggins, who finished 11th, and Caitlin Gregg, 20th, (Minneapolis, MN) proved to be dominate freestyle racers despite the altitude, as they both took turns in the lead at several check points in a cat and mouse race with Germany’s Nicole Fessel, Finland’s Ritta Roponen and Norway’s Heidi Weng throughout the race. Once Johaug took to the course and charged through the race, she eventually gained her one minute plus winning margin.

Jessica Diggins skied to an 11th-place finish in the FIS Nordic World Cup in Davos. (Getty Imagas-Vianney Thibaut)

Jessica Diggins skied to an 11th-place finish in the FIS Nordic World Cup in Davos. (Getty Imagas-Vianney Thibaut)

“It’s a really special course here in Davos, because it goes gradually up for a few kilometers and then gradually down, but you never really get to rest out there!” described Diggins. “You have to work the whole way. In past year’s I’ve gone out too hard and blown up, especially since we’re at altitude here, so this year I paced a lot more conservatively and was able to really hammer the downhills and pick off seconds.”

In the men’s 30k race, defending Davos distance champion Maurice Manificat from France and Norway’s Martin Sundby battled for first throughout the race until Sundby broke away and continued to gain time on Manificat at 20k. Sundby won the race by 20.7 seconds over Manificat, who hung onto second, while Norway’s Anders Gloeersen finished third.

Competition continues Sunday in Davos with freestyle sprint races. The races will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra with the women’s and men’s finals at 5:00am EST. Full length replays are also available at NBC Sports Live Extra.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Norwegian women swept the podium for the first time in this year’s World Cup competitions. Therese Johaug was first (35:40.3), Ingvild Oestberg second (+1:10.3) and Heidi Weng finished third (1:15.3).
  • Norway’s Martin Sundby (1:06:27.9) beat out defending Davos distance champion Maurice Manificat, by 20.7 seconds and Norway’s Anders Gloeersen finished third (+28.6).
  • It was Sundby’s fourth World Cup win this year out of six.
  • Noah Hoffman led the U.S men in 52nd (+5:00.1), Brian Gregg 65th (5:43.7) and Kris Freeman 67th (+6:15.1).
  • Johaug has won five out of the last six World Cup races this season.
  • Johuag is now only the second female skier to win five consecutive World Cup competitions before Christmas. With today's win she tied her teammate Marit Bjoergen at five.
  • Brian Gregg joined the U.S. men’s team in Davos for the weekend, as a result of his first place finish in the men’s 15k freestyle at the USSA SuperTour in West Yellowstone, MT Nov. 28.
  • The distance races are on a 5k course instead of the planned 7.5k track, due to the current weather and snow situation in Davos.
  • Competition continues Sunday in Davos with freestyle sprint races.

STREAMING SCHEDULE (times EST)

Sunday, Dec. 13
5:00 a.m. ET – Men’s and Women’s Sprint Finals – NBC Sports Live (Extra Nordic Schedule)

QUOTES

Jessie Diggins
I was happy with today’s race, and I had great skis! It’s a really special course here in Davos, because it goes gradually up for a few kilometers and then gradually down, but you never really get to rest out there! You have to work the whole way. In past years I’ve gone out too hard and blown up, especially since we’re at altitude here. So this year I paced a lot more conservatively and was able to really hammer the downhills and pick off seconds.

However, after finishing I was a little disappointed because I still had some energy left, and, if I could do it again, I would have gone for a faster first lap than I did. But it was better for me to err on the side of being able to finish hard than blow up, so I’m still learning things every time I race this course!

Caitlin Gregg
Today's race was very fun! My skis were fantastic thanks to Tom (my coach/wax tech) and the whole U.S. Ski Team staff. The energy is great right now on the team and we are looking forward to more solid results tomorrow.

RESULTS