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)
“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.
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!
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.