Bjornsen Leads US in Beito Classic, Crawford Paces Canadians

FasterSkierFebruary 12, 20118

Europe seems to suit Sadie Bjornsen just fine. Nearly a month into her first long-term overseas tour, Bjornsen is skiing fast and appears to be getting faster. She led a contingent of a US World Championship skiers in the 5km classic FIS race in Beitostolen, Norway, placing 8th overall.

The race was won by former overall World Cup runner-up and current Norwegian World Championship team member, Astrid Jacobsen. The veteran posted a time of 15:02, 19.8 seconds ahead of runners up Martine Ek Hagen and Ragnhild Haga who tied for second.

Bjornsen was 16 seconds off the podium and 37.9 seconds in back of Jacobsen.

“I love 5k classic, so I went out there with a good amount of confidence and just skied a strong race,” Bjornsen wrote in an email to FasterSkier. She had Jacobsen starting 45 seconds behind, and entered the race with the goal of holding of the Norwegian.

“I just charged from the start and didn’t ever look back,” Bjornsen said. “I had the feeling I was having a good race…it was my goal to hold her [Jacobsen] off, and if I couldn’t, I was going to stick on her like glue!”

US Ski Team athlete Morgan Arritola placed 12th, +48 seconds, with Jessie Diggins in 15th, another 1.3 seconds down. Liz Stephen skied to 28th and Ida Sargent in 35th rounded out the US field.

Sprinter Chandra Crawford paced the Canadian team, finishing 18th, 51 seconds in back of Jacobsen, a solid performance for a skier who prefers both short distances and the freestyle technique.

Her teammate, Brooke Gosling, skied to a 99th place finish. One hundred and ninety-six skiers completed the race, and quite a few more opted not to start.

Temperatures were quite cold at the start, and the race was delayed 30 minutes. Bjornsen said that it ended up not being “too bad,” and that the day just required some extra layers.

Hamilton Leads Men

In the men’s 10km classic event, Simi Hamilton set the mark for the North Americans, placing 19th, 1:20 behind winner Ronny Fredrik Asnnes (NOR).

A day after sending two men to the A-Final, the Americans started just two athletes, and had significantly less success. Tad Elliott also raced, placing 74th, +2:32.5. Elliott just missed out on the sprint heats yesterday, but was unable to take appreciable revenge.

Junior Skyler Davis continued to gain valuable experience, placing 227th out of 486 starters.

Canadians Ivan Babikov and Len Valjas finished 29th and 30th respectively, separated by just half a second.

Devon Kershaw did not start for Canada, while Andy Newell, Torin Koos, and Noah Hoffman sat out for the US.

Kershaw never traveled to Beitostolen from Lillehamar, where the Canadian team has been training.

After a tough travel day on Wednesday, Kershaw opted not to take any chances with World Championships jsut around the corner.

“I didn’t really eat anything Wednesday and Thursday (for those two days my total food intake was: 3 pieces of white bread and a pretzel) and was (obviously) having some stomach issues,” Kershaw wrote in an email to FasterSkier.

“I am feeling better today (no more stomach issues), and my appetite is slowly coming back so I don’t think it will be a big deal for next weekend and beyond,” Kershaw said.

After Friday’s sprint, Newell told FasterSkier that he might not start the 10k if the weather was too cold, but despite “chilly” temperatures, the American sprint star told FasterSkier that it was “really nice outside.”

Newell cited a poor night of sleep due to an allergic reaction as the reason for skipping the event.

Koos dislocated his shoulder in the A-final of the sprint, and was not expected to race today following the injury.

Hoffman was listed on the start list, but the decision was made some time ago for the young American to remain in Sjusjoen to train over this weekend.

For all the North American athletes, with the exception of Davis, these races are serving as tune-up events for next weekend’s World Cup events and the World Championships immediately following.

Temperatures are supposed to be even colder on Sunday for the scheduled for 15/30km freestyle, and there is a chance the event will be canceled.

“The Norwegians are very smart about not racing when its too cold,” Bjornsen said, “so I can see postponing happening, if not canceling.”

Overnight lows are predicted to be -5F with temperatures just getting above 0F by race time.

Women’s Beitostolen 5km Classic (PDF)

Men’s Beitostolen 10km Classic (PDF)


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  • Reese

    February 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Yeah Sadie!! Youre the next big thing!

  • Martin Hall

    February 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    Hello Faster Skier—the results you are showng have for todays Beito race have the jrs and the srs combined whereas the race was run in seperate classes—ex. Jessie Diggins is listed in 5th place in the 19-20 yr old jr class—-they had their own start class—shouldn’t they be listed seperately like the organizers have them. Verrrry interrrresting???!!! Check with the address above.

  • Martin Hall

    February 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Went back and looked again—found the FIS list you used—not SOP to have seperate starting classes and then to combine them when the race is done—never seen it done—not sure it is right—the idea of racing in my mind is that it is head to head and not to give anyone an advantage or disadvantage conditions wise by starting position—-this is an interesting way to boost points—which for the Norwegian juniors/U23s helps them when going to international competitions like the World Jrs or U-23s in seeding—especially advantages when doing mass start races.
    I question this manipulation—the square heads are slicksters in trying to get any advantage—think about it—-check the points for the Jr race vs the points for the combined race.

  • shreddir

    February 13, 2011 at 2:21 am

    The Norwegian U23s didn’t get any additional advantage; they usually ski as seniors outside of the U23 Worlds. Anyway the bigger deal for me is that the two Jr girls beat everybody except Astrid over the same course. The super-cute Martine Ek Hagen and her cousin Heidi Weng who didn’t race will be the “next big thing!” And don’t try to claim that Jessica Diggins would’ve beaten them if she started in the same row at the dual pursuit 10k at JR Worlds in Otepaa! Only the German and Russian girls had the horsepower to challenge them.

  • xclad

    February 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    @Martin Hall. It is very common to combine senior and junior race results. It seems to be the organizers decision on whether the juniors are seperate on fis or the same as the seniors. More often that not it is put in the juniors favor. So what ever works out as giving the juniors best points the juniors get. However somewhere in the fis rules it states that if there is a race on the same trail on the same day and they are the same sex it should all be put together as one. It makes it interesting in teams where Juniors and and seniors a going for a selection based on fis points. I know of a situation where a senior skier skied faster but scored worse fis point that a junior.
    Just one of the many things that are wrong with fis points…

  • FasterSkier

    February 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    The official, FIS approved results combine the classes, and are thus the results we use for reporting purposes.

  • 4skiers

    February 14, 2011 at 5:22 am

    shreddir, looks like you spoke too soon – take a look at the results from yesterday’s 10K freestyle in Beitostolen. Diggins took the Junior championship, 17 seconds ahead of Hagen, and was third overall, behind Arritola and just in front of Stephen.
    Don’t be so quick to write off the US women. They obviously have the horsepower.
    Fasterskier has not reported on this race yet but there is a full article on with links to results.
    Junior results here:

  • shreddir

    February 15, 2011 at 3:59 am

    I don’t rely on Fasterskier. I was following the races in real time Sunday morning on the Beitostolen host site the Norwegian commentator even talked in english when he gave the American splits..ha, ha.. No doubt Jessica had a great day with good skis. However, Liz and Morgan have to be compared against Marit, Theresa, Vibeke, Kristin, Marthe, or even Marte Elden who all skipped this meet to get ready for Holmenkollen. I still stand by my Otepaa World Jr Championships assertion. Go download and watch the complete Pursuit race to actually see how who was skiing the strongest.

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