On Monday, the U.S. Ski Team (USST) announced its much-anticipated cross country selections for the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships.
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.
Bjornsen & Stephen in the Thick of Things in Tour Pursuit, Finish 14th & 15th; Sargent Improves to 40th
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.
U.S. Women Come Out Firing in 7th, 8th with Bjornsen, Stephen in Tour Prologue; Two More in the Points
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.
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.
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].”
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.
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.
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.