Diggins Top 10, Schumacher Top 20 in Lillehammer 20k Classic
Diggins Ninth in 20k Classic Mass Start
Coming off a victory in the 10k and a fourth in the skate sprint, Jessie Diggins rounds out the Cross Country World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway with a ninth place in today's 20k classic mass start and teammate Gus Schumacher skied a smart race and ended the weekend with a 17th place finish.
Diggins started the race in the lead pack and promptly finished in the lead pack, only 5.5 seconds back from the winner, Frida Karlsson of Sweden. In typical mass start fashion, it was chaos from the start, as over 57 racers descend onto the 3.3k lap course. "It was pretty clear it was a chaotic day out there, " Diggins said while laughing. "It is the kind of course that keeps things together. There were a number of attempts to break it up, but everyone just kept coming back together on that long winding downhill."
On the six-lap course, with spectators cheering at every corner, the women skied a fast and technical race. The Americans again had fast skis, evidenced by the lack of slipping on the steep uphills and gliding on the flats and downhills.
"Overall, I am happy with where my body is at and where my fitness is at, there are always things I want to work on and there are always learning opportunities out there. I definitely took some lessons away from this race that I want to apply forward to the next classic race," said Diggins.
Teammates Alayna Sonnesyn finished 36th, Sophia Laukli 39th and Julia Kern 44th, all scoring World Cup points for their top 50 finishes.
Schumacher Top 20 in Lillehammer
Gus Schumacher had a great day on the course, skiing with the pack and finishing in 17th place. Throughout the laps, Schumacher steadily chipped away and had energy until he crossed the line.
"It's been a while since I was stringing together good races, so to be getting better and better every time I put a bib on is huge for me," said Gus Schumacher. "Today in particular was a chaotic race, with no big operating features on the course, so the pack stayed together the whole race. Even so, the feeling of being able to be proactive closer to the front and reactive near the back was a good feeling and is a product of feeling good and having good skis. So, I'm stoked about it!"
Schumacher was only 6.6 seconds behind the winner, Paal Goldberg of Norway. Teammates Hunter Wonders was 31st, Zak Ketterson 26th, and Ben Ogden 46th, all scoring World Cup Points. Scott Patterson was 57th.
The next set of races will be in Beitostolen, Norway where the team will race a classic sprint, a 10k classic and a 4.5k classic/freestyle team sprint.