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Diggins Continues Podium Streak; Schumacher Fourth in Davos Sprint

By Leann Bentley - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
January, 3 2024
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins across the finish line in Davos, Switzerland. (NordicFocus)

The Tour de Ski continued today with an exciting skate sprint in Davos, Switzerland. Jessie Diggins claimed her spot on the podium for the third time this tour, finishing in third place, while Gus Schumacher was just off the podium in fourth - a career-best result. Diggins maintains her lead in the overall standings, while Schumacher rose to fourth place overall.

The first stage in Davos and the fourth stage overall kicked off with more ski racing, featuring a lively skate sprint in the sunny mountain town with fans filling the sprint course to cheer. In the qualifier round, seven Americans, including Diggins, Sammy Smith, Julia Kern, Rosie Brennan, Zanden McMullen, Schumacher and Kevin Bolger, advanced to the heats. Notably, it was McMullen's first time qualifying for the heats in his World Cup career.

The challenging course included a long approach to a steep hill, a fast downhill stretch and a sharp, technical right-hand turn. The strategy was clear – go hard from the start and maintain the effort until crossing the finish line.

Into the quarterfinal heats, where to advance, athletes must be top two in their heat, or hold one of the two third fastest times (commonly referred to as the “lucky loser”), Diggins won her heat, Kern was second, and Schumacher became the lucky loser to secure a place in the semis. Brennan, Smith, Bolger and McMullen did not advance.

In the semifinals, Diggins once again won her heat and Schumacher put the hammer down to post a fast time to secure the lucky loser position again and punch his ticket to his first-ever final sprint round.

As the sun set over the mountains, the final race unfolded with USA staff lining the finish stretch with the stadium lights illuminating the course and flame-throwing pyrotechnics decorating the stadium. Diggins showcased tactical moves, up and down the course and ultimately finished third behind Sweden's Linn Svahn and Norway's Kristine Skistad. For the men, Schumacher finished fourth, securing his career-best result in the process. His previous top sprint result was 18th place. 

Smith and McMullen also had career-best results, finishing in 22nd and 25th, respectively.

The Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team continues to excel, thanks to the athletes' incredible efforts and the dedicated staff working behind the scenes. The team looks forward to the 20k classic pursuit Thursday in Davos before heading to Val di Fiemme, Italy for the final two stages of the 2024 Tour de Ski. Heading into stage five with a podium in every stage so far, the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team is establishing itself as the team to beat.