Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) had career best second place effort this week and Sadie Bjornsen (Anchorage, AK) also skied a personal record to fifth place leading an impressive U.S. finish in the women’s 5k/5k Skiathlon in stage three of the Tour de Ski at Oberstdorf.
Diggins’ podium came exactly one month after her first podium of the season, when she won the 5-kilometer in Lillehammer, Norway.
“That was a really exciting race with the whole field staying so close together the entire race. I’m so proud of Sadie and excited for her career-best finish! She is such an impressive racer, and it was great to get four girls into the points today! A big, huge thanks to our staff and wax techs. My skis were absolute rockets today and they’re the real heroes behind the scenes making it possible for us to go race our hardest!- Diggins
Moving into the 5th position in tour season standings, Diggins challenged eventual winner Stina Nilsson of Sweden, finishing just 0.2 seconds behind the Swede’s time of 27:23.8. Norway’s Heidi Weng was 1.2 seconds behind Diggins in a thrilling conclusion to the skiathlon race, which combines both the classic and freestyle forms of cross-country skiing.
Along with Diggins and Bjornsen, two other U.S. Team members cracked the top 30 including Kikkan Randall 28th and Liz Stephen 30th. Bjornsen spoke highly about the tech team after the race.
“Today was amazing for me because it’s a new PR. I skied the fifth-fastest split in the pursuit start skate in Quebec last year, but this is my first official time to break my ‘seventh-place streak.’ It gives me some good confidence going forward in this tour! Big thanks to the wax crew! I had incredible skis on a challenging day midway through the tour. Pursuits are always tricky, and then stick it in the middle of the tour, and it speaks volumes for the wax crew.”- Bjornsen
The Tour de Ski is back in action Wednesday with a freestyle pursuit – women running 10k and men 15k. Diggins and Bjornsen are expected to be contenders in stage four of seven before the Tour de Ski heads to Italy for its final three stages.