Despite the deep freeze engulfing Europe and Russia, athletes in their warm Salomon boots and apparel, and fast skis continue to speed to victory.
Jessie Diggins, a 20 year old World Cup rookie from America, made everyone double check their watches when she qualified 1st , 2.5 second ahead of the field in the freestyle sprint race in Moscow on Thursday. As she eased her way through the rounds to make the A final the circuit soon realized that Jessie Diggins, and the speed of her Salomon skies where for real. Jessie continued to impress with a 5th place finish in Saturday’s Freestyle mass start and a 12th in Sundays Skiathlon. Diggins states “I had no idea - no idea on where I stood (in qualifications). The course was really long and hard – it was cold and with new snow skied a lot longer. There were two pretty steep but short bridges. You had to be ready to change up your pace but (my) skis were awesome.”
Devon Kershaw scored a sensational victory in 15 km mass start freestyle on Saturday in Rybinsk. Kershaw from Canada, made a decisive move on the finishing straight as he overtook llia Chernousov. Ketshaw states “I’m happy, it’s my first World Cup victory in distance races. I felt very comfortable today and I liked a new course because I am strong now in finish sprint. It is very good we have a strong team – it helps a lot. My today’s win is the win of the whole Canada team.”
Therese Johaug won Sunday’s 15 km World Cup Skiathlon under the most frigid temperatures in Rybinsk Russi. Johaug from Norway won with a big margin of +27 seconds over Justyna Kowlaczyk and Marit Bjoergen. Therese Johaug, “I’m happy to be the first today in such a company. It is my first time in Russia and I like the place. I’m in a very good shape at the moment so I felt enough strength to attack. With such rivals as Marit and Justina you have to work hard and go forward.”
In Nordic Combined, Jason Lamy Chappuis was victorious for the 4th time this season. This time it was in the World Cup penalty race in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. The defending World Cup champion from France extended his World Cup lead to a nearly insurmountable 208 points.
In Biathlon, Germany’s Arnd Peiffer moved from second in the sprint Friday to first Saturday in the men’s 12.5K pursuit. Peiffer’s time of 31:44, put him 31.2 seconds ahead of Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen.
In World Loppet action, Team Exspirit’s women Susanne Nyström, Jenny Hansson, and Seraina Boner, dominated the field once again. This time they swept the podium at the in König Ludwig Lauf 50km Classic in Oberammergau, Germany. Rookie teammate Jimmie Johnsson repeated his string of great performances with a 4th place finish. Despite the frigid temperatures Team Exspirit in their Salomon apparel remand warm and comfortable.