Nordic

Sadie Bjornsen Top USA in Stage Two

by
USSA
2017-03-18 14:03
 

QUEBEC CITY, QC (March 18, 2017) – Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) led the way for the USA in day two of the FIS Cross Country World Cup Finals on a fast, sunbaked track in front of thousands of fans lining the Plains of Abraham course in downtown Quebec City. Bjornsen finished 15th in the 10k classic mass start to stand 10th going into Sunday's freestyle pursuit.

Marit Bjoergen of Norway continued her unbeaten streak in classic technique distance races this season, winning by just six tenths of a second over her teammate Heidi Weng. Finland's Krista Parmakoski, who overcame an early crash, finished third. Bjornsen was followed by Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) in 27th. Weng retained the mini tour lead after two of three stages.

The lead women set a fast and furious pace from the start as both Bjornsen and Diggins tried to maintain contact with the lead group with both running top 10 in the early going. Bjornsen remained with the chase group running inside the top 10 before dropping. A last lap attack by the Norwegians blew the group apart with Bjornsen unable to maintain her position.

“I just couldn’t get up that hill,” Bjornsen said. “I was slipping so much and I was just trying to keep it together. That was a bit of a mistake because I really wanted to go with that group there.

“I don’t think I lost too much time on the group in front of me, so I’m excited about tomorrow,” Bjornsen added. “I haven’t done a skate race since January, so I’m really excited.”

Indeed, Bjornsen stands only a minute, 10 seconds off the lead and just 41 seconds from the podium going into Sunday's 10k freestyle pursuit. While Diggins finished 27th in the classic leg, she stands 20th overall just a minute, 41 seconds behind the leader Weng. She's expected to move up in the freestyle season finale Sunday.

In the men’s 15k classic mass start race, a lead group of 20 came into the final 500 meters in an all-out sprint with Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo taking his first career World Cup distance victory - just a day after becoming the youngest ever World Cup overall sprint winner. Norway’s Niklas Dryhaug was second as Russia’s Aleksander Bessmertnykh was third. Friday’s sprint winner, Alex Harvey of Canada, was fourth. With the win Saturday, Klaebo moved into the overall tour lead with Sunday’s 15k freestyle pursuit remaining.

American Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) picked his way through some carnage, and just missed catching onto the lead group at the midpoint of the race. He finished 31st and stands 33rd after two stages.

“It’s so fun to be racing here in North America,” Bjornsen said. “I love having people cheering for me and I really feel like we have a lot of fans out there.”

Men's 15k
Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo glides to victory in the men’s 15k classic mass start Saturday. (USSA-Reese Brown)

 

Erik Blornsen
Erik Bjornsen (55) and Matt Gelso (64) work their way through the field in Saturday’s 15k classic mass start race in Quebec City. (USSA-Reese Brown)

“It felt like it was rally car racing at the start,” he said. “There were people snapping poles and falling all over the place. I went out hard because I needed to get into position. Starting bib 55 was not ideal. I worked real hard on that first lap and I definitely paid for it a little bit, but I knew that’s what I needed to do.”

“My form hasn’t been great, so I’m just trying to have some fun here this weekend,” said Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO), who was stoked to be racing in a stadium atmosphere. “How can you not have fun when there’s not a cloud in the sky? The atmosphere is incredible. This is so cool to be in North America. We should do this more often.”

Sadie Bjornsen
Sadie Bjornsen sits 10th overall after her 15th-pace finish in Saturday’s 10k mass start classic race in Quebec City. (USSA-Reese Brown)

 

Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins finished 27th Saturday and stands 20th overall heading into Sunday’s 10k freestyle pursuit. (USSA-Reese Brown)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won the men’s 15k classic mass start, as 20 athletes broke away and finished all within 15 seconds of his winning time Saturday.
  • Sadie Bjornsen was the top American woman in 15th Saturday.
  • Bjornsen stands 10th after two stages, with Jessie Diggins is in 20th.
  • Erik Bjornsen was the top American man in 31st.
  • Marit Bjoergen of Norway continued her unbeaten streak in classic technique distance races this season, winning the women’s stage two, 10k mass start classic by 0.6 seconds over her teammate Heidi Weng.
  • The final stage will be a 15k freestyle pursuit for the men and 10k freestyle pursuit for the women to end the 2017 FIS Cross Country World Cup season.  

 

QUOTES
Sadie Bjornsen
I just couldn’t get up that hill. I was slipping so much and I was just trying to keep it together. That was a bit of a mistake because I really wanted to go with that group there.

I don’t think I lost too much time on the group in front of me, so I’m excited about tomorrow. I haven’t done a skate race since January, so I’m really excited.

Erik Bjornsen
It felt like it was rally car racing at the start. There were people snapping poles and falling all over the place. I went out hard because I needed to get into position. Starting bib 55 was not ideal. I worked real hard on that first lap and I definitely paid for it a little bit, but I knew that’s what I needed to do.

It’s so fun to be racing here in North America. I love having people cheering for me and I really feel like we have a lot of fans out there.

Noah Hoffman
It was a tough start, there were people going down all over the place. Paddy, Scott and I were in a lane where someone went down right at the start. It was just such a mess.

My form hasn’t been great, so I’m just trying to have some fun here this weekend. How can you not have fun when there’s not a cloud in the sky? The atmosphere is incredible. This is so cool to be in North America. We should do this more often.

Caitlin Patterson
Any time I was struggling a little bit, I could tune into some American voices shouting my name. It was a great atmosphere out there.

BROADCAST (all times EDT)
Sunday, March 19
11:20 a.m. - Women’s 10k freestyle pursuit - nbcsports.com/live - LIVE STREAM
12:45 p.m. - Men’s 15k freestyle pursuit - nbcsports.com/live - LIVE STREAM

RESULTS
Men’s 15k classic
Women’s 10k classic
Men’s overall tour standings (through two stages)
Women’s overall tour standings (through two stages)