Nordic

Bjornsen Closes Out Strong Season

by
Tom Kelly
2017-03-19 14:15
 
QUEBEC CITY, QC (March 19, 2017) - Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) closed out a strong season finishing 10th in the final 10k freestyle pursuit to cap a three-day mini tour in Quebec City. Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) moved up to finish 16th.
 
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won for the second straight day, coming from behind in the three-day tour standings to beat teammate Heidi Weng by 1.2 seconds.
 
In the men’s 15k, Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo hung perilously to his tour lead, edging out Canada’s Alex Harvey in a photo finish. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) had a strong finale, moving up into the points at 25th with the 11th fastest time of the day.
 
Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Weng took the season titles.
 
For the USA, Diggins finished a career-best sixth in the overall World Cup standings, seventh in distance and 10th in sprint. It was the best U.S. finish since Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was third in 2013.
 
It was a fitting finish to a strong season for Sadie Bjornsen, which included a World Championships medal.
 
“It feels good to end the season on a good note with a top 10 tour finish,” said Bjornsen. “I have always loved the tour style of racing, so it was great to end the season that way. The highlight of today was trying to stay with (Sweden’s Charlotte) Kalla. I am not yet at the point that I can be the one charging from the front, but I feel confident to know I can ski with one of the strongest skaters in the world. That gives me great confidence, excitement, and hope for the coming season of training.”
 
Head Coach Chris Grover was happy with the weekend as a measure of the team. “Sadie’s skating has reached a new level this season,” he said. “Jessie also had a measure of redemption leading a train of women and moving up four places in the standings today. Rookie Julia Kern continued to impress, staying in front of the chasing group for the entire race and winning the sprint at the end.
 
The North American event included an additional dimension for the USA with top domestic athletes getting a chance on the World Cup tour, plus integration with USSA club coaches from around the country.
 
“We are very proud of the American effort this weekend - athletes, club coaches and U.S. Ski Team staff,” said Grover. “We had some great races but, of course, were left wanting a bit more.”  
 
The very large USA contingent had a significant cheering squad all weekend on the Plains of Abraham.
 
“That was one of the more fun weekends of the entire season,” said Bjornsen. “It was so great to feel the ‘home crowd’ cheering so loud, and I really enjoyed all the races!”
 
With the World Cup season complete, U.S. athletes will get a short break at home before heading to Fairbanks, AK for the USSA SuperTour Finals and long distance finale of the U.S. Cross Country Championships March 27-April 2.
 
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sadie Bjornsen wrapped up the World Cup season strong, finishing 10th. Jessie Diggins was 16th.
  • Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men moving up into 25th with the 11th fastest tie of the day.
  • Jessie Diggins finished sixth in the season-long overall World Cup.
 
 
QUOTES
Sadie Bjornsen
That was one of the more fun weekends of the entire season. It was so great to feel the ‘home crowd’ cheering so loud, and I really enjoyed all the races!
 
It feels good to end the season on a good note with a top 10 tour finish. I have always loved the tour style of racing, so it was great to end the season that way. The highlight of today was trying to stay with (Sweden’s Charlotte) Kalla. I am not yet at the point that I can be the one charging from the front, but I feel confident to know I can ski with one of the strongest skaters in the world. That gives me great confidence, excitement, and hope for the coming season of training.
 
Thanks to the entire staff, team, and the crowd for making a perfect weekend!
 
Chris Grover, Head Coach
Sadie’s skating has reached a new level this season. Jessie also had a measure of redemption leading a train of women and moving up four places in the standings today. Rookie Julia Kern continued to impress, staying in front of the chasing group for the entire race and winning the sprint at the end.  
 
On the men's side, Erik Bjornsen had a big race with the 11th fastest time of the day to move him into the top 25. Paddy Caldwell was also charging, taking the 25th fastest time of the day and taking World Cup points in his first World Cup weekend.  
 
We are very proud of the American effort this weekend - athletes, club coaches and U.S. Ski Team staff. We had some great races but, of course, were left wanting a bit more.  
 
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