Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen in the finish Sunday in Val di Fiemme, Italy after Stephen posted the USA's best overall Tour de Ski finish in history with seventh, skiing to the third-fastest time of the day up the 9k Alpe Cermis hill climb finale. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom/Vianney Thibaut)
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Jan. 5) – Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) posted the USA's best overall Tour de Ski finish in history with seventh, skiing to the third-fastest time of the day as she battled rain, sleet and snow for 9k up Alpe Cermis on Sunday. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) also earned the best ever finish for U.S. men in 25th. World Champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) finished a career best 13th in the Tour, while Therese Johaug led a Norwegian sweep for the women. World Cup Champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) will rejoin the team next weekend for World Cup sprints at Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic.
Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) posted the USA's best overall Tour de Ski finish in history with seventh, skiing to the third-fastest time of the day as she battled rain, sleet and snow for 9k up Alpe Cermis on Sunday. Stephen took the second-fastest time last year, finishing 15th. See below for a breakdown of past USA Tour results.
World Champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) finished a career best 13th in the Tour.
Therese Johaug took the first ever women’s Tour victory for Norway, while also leading a Norwegian sweep with Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Heidi Weng.
Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) took the best ever finish for U.S. men in 25th, while Norwegians Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Chris Jespersen went one-two.
Athletes charged through rain in the start, sleet at the base of the climb and very heavy snow on the climb, which all led to slower than usual times.
The seven-stage Tour de Ski featured a grueling nine-day schedule in different venues across Germany, Switzerland and Italy and culminated with Sunday’s steep 9k hill climb finale up Alpe Cermis, rising over 1,600 vertical feet (495m).
Sunday’s race was seeded by Tour standings, so the race results are overall Tour results.
Universal Sports will broadcast coverage of the Tour finale Sunday night at 7 p.m. EST.
World Cup Champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) will rejoin the team next weekend for World Cup sprints at Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic.
Women’s Tour de Ski Results: 2014 7 – Liz Stephen 13 – Jessie Diggins
QUOTES Liz Stephen I actually didn't know that I set a record for American's today, so I am really proud to be part of the crew that is making history in the nordic world for our country.
But we inspired people today, and most of all one another and ourselves. Somehow, on this small alpine resort in Italy, each year, we push ourselves beyond the normal limits of the body and really get into our soul, with the goal of not only climbing as fast as we can and catching as many other competitors as we can, but also pushing so hard that we feel empty at the top, numb, kaput, but satisfied. I think it is this feeling that I look forward to every year when I line up to the start line for this race, and it is the feeling I will be searching for in Sochi as well.
Noah Hoffman I am psyched with my improvement over last season in the Tour de Ski. I narrowly missed accomplishing my goal of a top-20 finish, but I am looking forward to another opportunity next season and many other goals to work towards this season.
The Final Climb is always brutal, but it was made harder today by dumping snow. The conditions were extremely slow and challenging. I struggled heading down the valley to the base of the climb, but once we hit the hill I felt good. I am pleased to move up on the day and am happy with my fitness with just a month to go until the Olympics.
Jessie Diggins The conditions today were really interesting, with pouring rain that turned to snow just before the start of the race. But the climb is hard and slow going no matter what, so the weather almost doesn't matter; I knew that when I reached the top I’d be nearly blacked out anyways and in more pain than any other race.
My strengths are the rolling hills and especially the flat sections, so that's where I tried to make up the most time. I caught the four girls in front of me, but with the exception of Aurore Jean (France), nobody would take a turn pulling the pack. I didn't want to hang around playing that game, so I just did most of the work for the section connecting to the base of the climb. I am not a great climber, but I definitely gave it everything I had and I’m proud of that. I am also psyched to have made my goal of a top-15 finish with a 13th place.
I'm especially psyched for Liz with such an awesome tour–the best any U.S. woman has ever had! Our staff was amazing, working so hard through this whole Tour de Ski, and I'm really proud to be part of this crew.