Brennan Takes Home First Individual Classic Career Podium in Ruka
On the second day of racing in Ruka, Finland, Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete Rosie Brennan took home her first individual classic podium in the 10k classic. Teammate Jessie Diggins crossed the line in 11th, a career best classic result in Ruka.
The first World Cup races of the season can set the tone for what's to come and Brennan is already coming out on top. Despite not having many days on snow prior to the first races, she showed promise in the grueling 10k classic, with two solid laps around one of the hilliest and most technical courses on the World Cup calendar.
Ruka is known for its long hills and challenging terrain. Out of the starting gate, racers descend a steep hill and immediately begin climbing another - a section referred to as the "halfpipe" - with very little room for recovery. At the 5k mark, Brennan moved into a podium spot and comfortably stayed until the finish line. When she crossed the line in front of the large Ruka crowd, Brennan was only 5.5 seconds back from first. At the end of the day, Ebba Andersson of Sweden took home the victory with teammate Frida Karlsson in third - Brennan broke up the Swedish podium sweep in second.
"I had really nice skis out there today, that's for sure," said Brennan in a post-race interview. "I've been really happy with the improvements I've made in classic skiing and it all worked out today - I'm very happy with my result!"
Today's second place result gave Brennan her first World Cup individual classic podium and her eighth overall World Cup podium. Right behind Brennan was teammate Diggins, who crossed the line in 11th. This result is Diggins' best classic result in Ruka, and when asked about her race, she focused on her teammate. "I was so proud of Rosie and just seeing her ski with confidence and authority like that was so beautiful," said Diggins. "It made me really happy!”
Novie McCabe followed Diggins with an impressive 30th place and Gus Schumacher led the American men with a 22nd place. Now, the team will race one more time before the end of the first World Cup race weekend with the 20k mass start on Sunday, Nov. 26. Watch LIVE on skiandsnowboard.live with commentary by Kikkan Randall and Chad Salmela.