Therese Johaug of Norway leads the field at the start of the FIS Nordic World Cup Skiathlon Sunday. Sadie Bjornsen finished 15th and Jessie Diggins 17th. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom- Vianney Thibaut)
LAHTI, Finland (Feb. 21, 2016) – The final race in Lahti was greeted by tough conditions as Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the U.S. team with a 15th place finish in a FIS World Cup 7.5kx7.5k skiathlon race on Sunday. Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) followed close behind in 17th.
“I felt really good today, but didn't feel like I was able to ski to my full potential, but of course I am always satisfied with a top 15,” said Bjornsen.
Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen race in the skiathlon. (Hansi Johnson)
For the second day, the Norwegians claimed both men and women’s victories as Therese Johaug claimed her 15th World Cup victory this season. Johaug dominated the race by more than one minute ahead of teammate Heidi Weng and Ingvild Oestberg who finished third. In the men’s race, the finish was not as predictable as Norway’s Martin Sundby snatched first by 4.9 seconds ahead of teammates Finn Krogh and Hans Holund who finished second and third respectively.
Bjornsen and Diggins worked together in the grueling conditions and tough course, to finish in the top 20 of the skiathlon. Bjornsen finished just 3.2 seconds ahead of Diggins, and only 25.3 seconds out of the top 10.
Sadie Bjornsen skis to 15th in the skiathlon. (Richard Narum)
“With the slow conditions, things didn't break up enough in the classic leg to allow for ‘true classic skiing’ for me,” said Bjornsen. “I felt like I was constantly fighting for a place on the trail to ski, so I wasted a lot of energy and didn't manage to find my place in that front chase pack. I was really excited to switch to skate skis, because I knew there would be more room to ski.”
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the U.S. men in 27th in a men’s 15kx15k skiathlon. Bjornsen was just 27 seconds out of the top 20.
The skiathlon in Lahti concludes the European World Cup races. The next competitions continue with the Tour de Canada March 1-12.
Jessie Diggins races to 17th.
Norway’s Therese Johaug has won the last four Skiathlon events held in the World Cup. She is unbeaten in this event in World Cup races for more than four years, since she was third in 10k skiathlon in the Tour de Ski on 1 January 2012.
Norway’s Martin Sundby is the third man to win two consecutive World Cup events in skiathlon.
It was a dream weekend for Team Norway, which claimed 11 of the 12 total podiums during the two men’s and two ladies’ competitions at the pre-World Championship Lahti Ski Games.
Bjornsen led the U.S. women in 15th, Diggins finished 17th, and Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, AK) 29th.
Erik Bjornsen led the U.S. men in 27th. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) finished 36th, and Scott Patterson (Anchorage, AK) 52nd.
Sadie Bjornsen Today was another good day of racing on a really challenging course. That new distance course is incredibly hard and demanding to your legs. With the slow conditions, things didn't break up enough in the classic leg to allow for "true classic skiing" for me.
I felt like I was constantly fighting for a place on the trail to ski, so I wasted a lot of energy and didn't manage to find my place in that front chase pack. I was really excited to switch to skate skis, because I knew there would be more room to ski. I felt really good today, but didn't feel like I was able to ski to my full potential, but of course I am always satisfied with a top 15. I will be looking for more during the Canadian Tour for sure!