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U.S. Cross Country Team Named for 2015 World Championships

U.S. teammates Jessie Diggins (l) and Kikkan Randall celebrate a gold medal in the freestyle team sprint at 2013 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

On Monday, the U.S. Ski Team (USST) announced its much-anticipated cross country selections for the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships.

USA II’s Sargent, Brennan in the Money in Sixth in Otepää Team Sprint

Ida Sargent racing earlier this month in the opening prologue of the 2015 Tour de Ski in Obertsdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

In her second-ever team sprint (and first one since 2009), Rosie Brennan teamed up with Ida Sargent to advance to the final, where they placed sixth of 10 teams. The U.S. women’s first team, Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell placed 11th, as did the U.S. men’s second team (Erik Bjornsen/Matt Gelso), and Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton ended up 19th after a late semifinal crash.

Americans Go 15th, 16th, 17th with Bittersweet Feelings After Otepää Sprint

Simi Hamilton (l) and Switzerland's Gianluca Cologna going head-to-head in the quarterfinal of the men's 1.5 k classic sprint on Saturday in Otepää, Estonia. Hamilton placed third in the heat, ahead of teammate Andy Newell in fourth (not shown) and Cologna in fifth. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

Three Americans made the quarterfinals on Saturday in the second World Cup classic sprint of the season: Sadie Bjornsen, Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell. None of them advanced to the semifinals, and while it wasn’t a bad day, most were left wanting more.

For Randall, First Mid-Season Trip Home in Five Years Feels Surreal

Kikkan Randall skating to 22nd in the Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

Kikkan Randall’s been home for just over a week, and in a phone interview on Tuesday, she said she was ready for the break. “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the racing circuit … but with Falun being my big goals, I wanted to really try to make a drastic change,” she says.

Stephen: ‘I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Imagined a Classic Race Shaping Up into Fifth’

Liz Stephen (U.S. Ski Team) racing in the Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany, last weekend. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

Liz Stephen found herself in fifth place in Saturday’s 10 k classic mass start at the Tour de Ski, and she thought, why not? Why don’t I belong here? She hung on to record her best-ever finish in the classic technique, and hopes to move from sixth up to fourth in the Tour’s final stage on Sunday.

Bjornsen & Stephen in the Thick of Things in Tour Pursuit, Finish 14th & 15th; Sargent Improves to 40th

Sadie Bjornsen had half of a "dream race". Photo: Graham Longford.

After leading a chase group in fourth place for the first portion of the race, Sadie Bjornsen finished 14th in today’s World Cup 10 k pursuit – closely followed by American teammate Liz Stephen. The U.S. faced some disappointments, with Jessie Diggins dropping 40+ places, but saw one athlete, Ida Sargent, climb through the ranks.

American Men Have Disappointing Day in Oberstdorf, Finish Out of Points

Simi Hamilton (bib 26) descends into the stadium on his way to finishing in 61st place during the second stage of the Tour de Ski, a 15 k classic pursuit in Oberstdorf, Germany (Photo: Graham Longford)

Sunday’s 15 k classic pursuit proved to be rough for the American men on the Tour de Ski. Erik Bjornsen led the Americans in 60th, while Simi Hamilton, following a successful prologue, finished just behind in 61st. Andy Newell suffered a crash and finished in 88th.

U.S. Women Come Out Firing in 7th, 8th with Bjornsen, Stephen in Tour Prologue; Two More in the Points

Sadie Bjornsen skating to seventh place in the 3.3 k Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

By attacking Oberstdorf’s long, hard climb on the second lap, Sadie Bjornsen, Liz Stephen, and Jessie Diggins chalked up their best results of the season: seventh, eighth, and fourteenth in the 3.3 k Tour de Ski prologue. Kikkan Randall joined them in the points and the U.S. women’s team is confident.

Harvey Leads Canadians in Tour Prologue; USA’s Hamilton Scores First Distance Points

Alex Harvey placed 13th in the 4.4 k Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany, today. Photo: Marcel Hilger.

Last year, Canada’s Alex Harvey won the Tour de Ski prologue. That wasn’t going to happen today: “I haven’t quite found my groove in skating this year,” he said, but he’s still in a great position for tomorrow’s 15 k pursuit. Meanwhile, Simi Hamilton of the U.S. Ski Team scored his first World Cup distance points in 26th.

Wednesday Workout: Tour de Ski Prologue Prep with Diggins

Jessie Diggins (U.S. Ski Team) on her prologue-race prep day about a week ago in Davos, Switzerland. (Courtesy photo)

How does one get ready for the Tour de Ski, or more specifically, prep for a prologue? Jessie Diggins takes us through a “prologue practice day” workout, which she did about a week ago in advance of the 3 k freestyle prologue on Saturday, the first day of the 2015 Tour de Ski.

Weekly Roundup: Good Vibes Before the Holidays

Crawford at the flower ceremony. Photo: Christian Manzoni/NordicFocus.com.

With their eyes on the prize of a holiday break (for biathletes and non-Tour de Ski participants, two weekends off of the World Cup), a number of North American skiers notched competitive results, and for some — even career bests — in the last week.

U.S. Women Chalk Up ‘Good’, But Not Great, Day as Sargent Leads in 16th

Sargent on her way to qualifying 15th at the World Cup skate sprint on Jan. 18 in Szklarska Poreba, Poland. She went on to finish 13th then notch a career-best distance result of ninth in the 10 k classic sprint the next day. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

Three women in the quarterfinals and one just barely outside? U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb was thrilled with Ida Sargent’s and Sophie Caldwell’s quarterfinal appearances and pleased to see Kikkan Randall a bit more like herself, he also stayed realistic: “I wouldn’t use any other word that celebrates it more than [good].”

Newell 15th in Davos: ‘I Want to Show People What We’re Capable Of’

DAVOS, Switzerland— “I’ve been feeling pretty good this season,” U.S. Ski Team veteran Andy Newell says after the finish of today’s skate sprint. “I think I was carrying a little bit of fatigue just from the fall training, but still […]

Photo Gallery: Women’s 10 k Classic in Davos

Petra Novakova (CZE), 35th place and the Helvetia U23 points leader, and Giulia Stuerz (ITA), 51st place.

Photos from an exciting day of World Cup racing in Davos, Switzerland. Take some lessons in classic technique from the best!

Stephen, Focusing on Aggression, Snags Top-20 in Davos

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Liz Stephen wants to ski like skiing really matters: “I was focused on that aggression, and wanting to win more than I’ve ever wanted to win.” That took her to 20th place in the 10 k classic, leading teammates Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen who all finished within a few seconds. Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 48th place in the 15 k classic.

Weekly Roundup: Lillehammer Mini Tour, Östersund and Bozeman

A pumped Martin Johnsrud Sundby (Norway) after winning the men's 15 k classic pursuit for the overall Lillehammer mini-tour title on Sunday in Norway. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

The first individual IBU World Cup race took place a week ago in Östersund and wrapped up this past Sunday. Here, we recap everything from biathlon in Sweden and at home in Canmore, to the Lillehammer mini tour and nordic-combined competitions, and second U.S. SuperTour stop in Bozeman, Mont.

Bjornsens Post Top Results for U.S. in Lillehammer Pursuit

Sadie Bjornsen leads a group on her way to 18th in today's 10 k pursuit in Lillehammer. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

A tough mini-tour in Lillehammer came to a close today with siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen leading the U.S. Ski Team.

Weekend Roundup: Goodbye Ruka and West, Hello Rest of 2014/2015

Ida Sargent racing to a career-best fifth in Saturday's classic sprint at the World Cup opener in Kuusamo, Finland. She placed 51st in the 10 k classic the next day. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Before the first stop on the IBU World Cup circuit continues in Östersund on Wednesday, we bring you a synopsis of last weekend’s racing action and links to full reports.

Hoffman Checks in En Route to Denver, Blogs About Broken Fibula

Hoffman getting a hard cast on his left leg for travel. (Photo: NoahHoffman.com)

Never fail, on Monday afternoon during a flight from Frankfurt to Denver, Noah Hoffman blogged. And not just any quick update, almost a whopping 2,000 words. The U.S. Ski Team’s top male distance skier got online to explain exactly what happened Sunday in Kuusamo, Finland, where he fell hard with slightly less than 2 kilometers to go in the first World Cup distance race of the season.

Not Spectacular, But She’ll Take It: Bjornsen Leads U.S. in 17th in Kuusamo 10 k

Sadie Bjornsen (U.S. Ski Team) racing to 29th in the World Cup classic sprint on Saturday in Kuusamo, Finland. On Sunday, she placed 17th in the 10 k classic to lead the U.S. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Sadie Bjornsen was, in a way, trying to avoid the kind of seventh-place showing she broke out with last year in Kuusamo, Finland. Instead, she placed 17th on Sunday for a result she was pleased with, especially considering how much it hurt. Jessie Diggins was 39th and four more Americans were in the top 60.