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USA’s Bjornsen 15th in Women’s 10K Classic as Norway’s Bjoergen Rules Again – Canada’s Nishikawa 37th

by Laura Robinson

March 18, 2017 (Quebec City, Que.) – The USA’s Sadie Bjornsen was the top North American women in 15th as Norway’s Marit Bjoergen continued her unbeaten streak in classic technique distance races this season taking the win by just 0.6 seconds over teammate Heidi Weng. Finland’s Parmakoski claimed the final podium spot at 2.77 seconds back.


Sadie Bjornsen [P] Reese Brown
Women's podium [P] Reese Brown

Teammate Jessica Diggins was also in the points placing 27th at 1:06 minutes back while the top Canuck was Emily Nishikawa who skied to 37th place.

“It was really fun and I was doing really well for the for two laps, maybe two and a half laps, but I made a mistake when I decided to go with the leaders,” said Bjornsen. Indeed, Bjornsen was sitting just six seconds back of Bjoergen and Weng after her first lap.

Jessie Diggins [P] Reese Brown

She said she blew up on the last climb at the end of the second lap and grip also became a problem as her new classic skis have proven to be problematic. “Classic used to be my really strong point. I’ve kind of struggled with classic this year. I’m fighting with my skis these days,” explained Bjornsen.

The 71-strong women’s field started the second day of racing with clear skies and virtually no wind on the mainly open 3.3 km course that racers covered for three laps. Intense sunshine greeted skiers for the 10:40am start as temperatures were still below zero – perfection in other words.

Early break with Bjoergen, Weng, and Oestberg [P] Reese Brown
A break formed with Bjoergen leading the pace with Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg in tow. They were joined by Parmakoski and now there were the four protagonists with the chasers behind scrambling for the remaining top-10 spots.

The foursome would never be caught as Oestberg struggled with the pace at the end and only Weng could match Bjoergen with Parmakoski settling for third and Oestberg fourth. The chase group at 17.79 seconds back was led by Germany’s Nicole Fessel, who took fifth over Charlotte Kalla of Sweden by 0.9 seconds.

Bjornsen [P] Reese Brown
Bjornsen has had a stellar season, starting with a bronze in the 5km freestyle in Toblach, Italy, a silver in the 4x5km relay in the Nove Mesto WC, and a bronze at the Lahti World Championships in February in the Team Sprint with Diggins.

“I’ve had a strange season,” continued Bjornsen. “The highs have been really high and the lows really low. More than ever though, I know what I have to work on-what I can do in the summer to change. We knew that Kikkan [Randall, who didn’t race in Quebec] was good, but really we didn’t know that we could be good as well. With so many of us in the sprints [yesterday], we’ve given each other such a lift.”

Emily Nishikawa [P] Reese Brown
Canada’s Nishikawa was hoping for a top-30 result. “It was a pretty good day,” she said. “Perfect tracks; it actually couldn’t be any better. I focused on technique-skiing smooth and relaxed. I love classic, but I hope I break into the top 30 next year.”

While she’s headed to Canmore for the national championships, she not sure she’s racing. “Everyone’s a bit tired by now. I didn’t have a great summer because I was injured for most of it. I had abdominal muscle problems because my hips were out and they became miss-aligned. It took a lot of physio and work to get back on track.”

Caldwell and Browne [P] Reese Brown
Other North Americans were USA’s Sophie Caldwell, who finished 38th at 5 seconds behind Nishikawa. Canada’s Cendrine Brown was next in 41st. “I felt like I had good energy at the start, but there was a little pile up at the first hill. We were very fast on the descent, but then we kind of piled up at the climb right after. No one fell but I missed being in the first pack that way. I managed to catch the second pack, and 41st is a good finish for me on the world cup.”

Beatty and Guiney [P] Reese Brown
Julia Kern [P] Reese Brown
The USA’s Caitlin Patterson was 44th at 2:39:9 minutes behind followed by teammates Elizabeth Guiney in 45th at 2:48:3 minutes back while Kaitlynn Miller finished 47th at 2:46:5 minutes back to round out the top 50.

Full results here.
Mini Tour Standings here.

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