Diggins Wins in Lillehammer
Jessie Diggins skied to her 13th individual World Cup win - tying her former teammate Kikkan Randall for the most U.S. World Cup Cross Country victories - in Friday's opening 10k individual start in Lillehammer, Norway.
"First and foremost, I want to say thanks to the wax techs and the team. I am really proud of their effort because my skis were so awesome out there," said Jessie Diggins in a post-race reflection. "I went into the race with the plan of trying to ski really smooth, pace it evenly, work the transitions and the corners and push hard into the downhills and maximize every second that I could."
On a fast, 3.3k loop course lined by numerous American fans, fast skis, high tempo, and quick transitions made all the difference for Diggins. Germany's Katharina Hennig was sitting comfortably in the hot seat until Diggins skied through every time check with positive splits. Hennig held on for second, 3.8 seconds back, with Heidi Weng of Norway rounding out the podium in third.
"My fitness and brain were in a really good place and today I felt like when I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded," said Diggins.
Julia Kern and Sophia Laukli also posted top 30 results, finishing 25th and 29th respectively. Alayna Sonnesyn was 32nd, and Lauren Jortberg was 48th in her first World Cup distance race.
With the win, Diggins has racked up 250 World Cup starts, 41 podiums and 15 overall World Cup wins, including a U.S. Team Sprint win in Quebec in 2012, and a Mixed Team victory in Falun, Sweden, last season.
In the men's 10k, Zak Ketterson led the U.S. Ski Team, finishing 26th. Gus Schumacher was 32nd, Scott Patterson 40th, Hunter Wonders was 45th, and Ben Ogden was 56th.
"The fans were pretty fun," Ketterson said. "I actually noticed the cheering the most while I was skiing around the course on my warmup. Tons of American and Norwegian fans cheering for me and asking me silly questions. Can always rely on Norway to provide an awesome World Cup experience."
Racing continues in Lillehammer Saturday with a freestyle sprint, followed by a 20k classic mass start on Sunday. All events are streamed LIVE on skiandsnowboardlive.com.