NewsRacingWorld CupU.S. Ski Team Officially Names STC Team; Tour Starts Tuesday (Updated)

Brainspiral BrainspiralFebruary 28, 2016
The celebration.
Jessie Diggins (center, laughing) pops some champagne as she and U.S. teammate Kikkan Randall (third from left) topped the podium in the freestyle team sprint at the 2012 World Cup in Quebec City. Germany’s Hanna Kolb and Denise Herrmann placed second (l) and Norwegians Celine Brun-Lie and Maiken Caspersen Falla finished third (r).

(Note: This article has been updated to mention that Caitlin Patterson will not be competing in the Ski Tour Canada because of illness.)

The U.S. will be well represented at the Ski Tour Canada (STC) with a roster of 24 athletes, the U.S. Ski Team officially announced Sunday. The list includes World Cup regulars as well as top Nation’s Group skiers who rank at the top of the domestic U.S. SuperTour standings. The selections were made based on a combination of criteria and discretion.

U.S. Women’s STC Team

  1. Sadie Bjornsen: Alaska Pacific University (APU)/U.S. Ski Team (USST)
  2. Sophie Caldwell: Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2/USST
  3. Jessie Diggins: SMST2/USST
  4. Ida Sargent: Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP)/USST
  5. Liz Stephen: Burke Mountain Academy/USST
  6. Katharine Ogden: SMS/USST
  7. Caitlin Gregg: Loppet Nordic Racing/Team Gregg/USST
  8. Anne Hart: SMST2
  9. Caitlin Patterson: CGRP*
  10. Chelsea Holmes: APU
  11. Kaitlynn Miller: CGRP
  12. Rosie Brennan: APU/USST
  13. Jennie Bender: Bridger Ski Foundation

*Note: Caitlin Patterson explained in an email to FasterSkier on Monday that she will not be taking part in the Tour. According to U.S. head coach Chris Grover, she canceled this morning and her start is non-transferable because she is the SuperTour (Continental Cup) leader.

“I was looking forward to it so much, but I caught a nasty cold late last week that I haven’t been able to shake off in time,” wrote Patterson, the two-time national champion in both distance races this year. “And so as painful as it was, I had to realize that I was not healthy enough to start the races and therefore did not travel to Canada.”

Of the 13 women, 10 have competed in World Cup races this season. Chelsea Holmes and Patterson earned mid-season World Cup starts after strong early season SuperTour performances. Caitlin Gregg began her season on the World Cup but returned home after the Tour de Ski and recently claimed her fourth Birkie title.

Newcomers to the squad include Katherine Ogden, Anne Hart and Kaitlynn Miller. Ogden led the U.S, contingent at U23 Junior World Championships, finishing 13th in both distance races. She also posted consistent top-10 SuperTour results, highlighted by an early season win at the 10-kilometer freestyle in West Yellowstone, Mont. Hart claimed a pair of runner-up finishes at U.S. nationals in both the classic and freestyle sprints and her first SuperTour win in the 5 k freestyle in Craftsbury, Vt., earlier this month. Miller broke through earlier this season, winning the classic sprint and placing second in the women’s 10 k classic at U.S. nationals.

U.S. Men

  1. Simi Hamilton: SMST2/USST
  2. Andy Newell: SMST2/USST
  3. Erik Bjornsen: APU/USST
  4. Noah Hoffman:  Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV)/USST
  5. Matt Liebsch: Gear West
  6. Eric Packer: APU/
  7. Scott Patterson: APU
  8. Brian Gregg: Loppet Nordic Racing/Team Gregg
  9. Reese Hanneman: APU
  10. Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess: Bend Endurance Academy
  11. Tad Elliott: SSCV

For the men, eight of the 11 athletes have competed in a World Cup this season. Reese Hanneman, Scott Patterson and Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess earned mid-season World Cup starts. Brian Gregg raced the 30 k freestyle at the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland, after his early-season win in West Yellowstone. Matt Liebsch, Tad Elliott and Eric Packer will be making their first World Cup appearances for the 2015/2016 season.

The national 30 k freestyle champion, Elliott recently placed second in the 10 k at the Craftsbury SuperTour and 10th at the American Birkebeiner. Packer stands as the overall SuperTour leader after consistent strong performances highlighted by a classic sprint victory at U.S. nationals. After posting two top-10 results at nationals and a runner-up finish to Brian Gregg in West Yellowstone, Matt Liebsch was the next man in line after Adam Martin, who declined his STC spot, in the SuperTour distance standings.

Spectators got quite the World Cup experience Dec. 7-8 in Quebec City.
Spectators at the 2012 World Cup in Quebec City. The last time the World Cup came to North America, races took place in Quebec City and Canmore in December 2012.

Since World Cup racing is rarely held on this side of the Atlantic, the STC offers a unique opportunity for athletes and fans in North America. With no Olympic Games or World Championships this season, the eight-stage tour will be the culminating event of the 2015/2016 World Cup season.

The STC includes eight races between four venues. The tour will start in Gatineau on Tuesday with a freestyle sprint before athletes travel 200 kilometers east for classic mass starts on Wednesday in Montreal. The next two stages are located 250 k northeast as Quebec City hosts a freestyle sprint and a freestyle pursuit on Friday and Saturday. The final four races will be held across the country in Canmore, Alberta, with classic sprints, skiathlons, freestyle individual starts, and finally, classic pursuits to close the tour.

Races will be broadcast live for cable/satellite subscribers on NBC Sports Live Extra, according the the schedule below. All times are Eastern Standard Time.

Tuesday, March 1: Gatineau
1:45 p.m. – Men’s and women’s freestyle sprint

Wednesday, March 2: Montreal
12:00 p.m. – Women’s 13 k classic mass start
2:30 p.m. – Men’s 20 k classic mass start

Friday, March 4: Quebec City
3:30 p.m. – Men’s and women’s freestyle sprint

Saturday, March 5: Quebec City
3:00 p.m. – Women’s 10 k freestyle pursuit
4:00 p.m. – Men’s 15 k freestyle pursuit

Tuesday, March 8: Canmore
3:00 p.m. – Men’s and women’s classic sprint

Wednesday, March 9: Canmore
12:00 p.m. – Women’s 15 k skiathlon
2:30 p.m. – Men’s 30 k skiathlon

Friday, March 11: Canmore
11:45 a.m. – Women’s 10 k freestyle interval start
3:00 p.m. – Men’s 15 k freestyle interval start

Saturday, March 12: Canmore
3:00 p.m. – Women’s 10 k classic pursuit
4:00 p.m. – Men’s 15 k classic pursuit

For more on the Tour, visit the Ski Tour Canada website and on Twitter at @skitourca.

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