Jessie Diggins wins 1st Tour de Ski title for United States

United States skier Jessie Diggins poses after winning the women’s cross-country Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Sunday.

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — The eighth time was the charm for Stratton Mountain T2 Elite athlete Jessie Diggins.

Diggins put it all together over the past week and half and became the first U.S. skier to win the FIS Tour de Ski and the first non-European to win the event.

“This is a lifelong goal...it really means a lot,” Diggins said to U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Tom Horrocks. “We have had an amazing team atmosphere this whole time, amazing support, and help, and so many cheers from all around the world, so that really gave me wings up the hill today.”

Diggins, who had a previous best Tour finish of third in 2018, wrapped up the women’s Tour de Ski title with a second-place finish in Sunday’s 10-kilometer freestyle mass start, the eighth and final Tour event. She finished the race in 36:54.8, which was 9.2 seconds off first-place finisher Ebba Andersson.

Diggins’ effort put her final Tour de Ski time at 3:04:45.8, which bested Russia’s Yulia Stupak by 1:24.8 and Andersson by 2:00.8.

Diggins had wins in the 10k freestyle pursuit and 10k freestyle interval start, along with four podium finishes throughout the Tour.

American teammate Rosie Brennan, a Dartmouth College graduate, finished sixth overall, after placing seventh in Sunday’s final race.

Hailey Swirbul finished 18th overall, Stratton Mountain School’s Katharine Ogden was 23rd, UVM product Caitlin Patterson was 34th and SMS’s Julia Kern was 38th.

Swirbul (15th) and Ogden (24th) both had top-25 finishes in the Sunday finale. Patterson just missed out in 27th and Kern was 37th.

This year’s Tour was historic for the U.S. women. According to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, it was only the third time in the 15-year history of the Tour de Ski that four U.S. women were in the top 30 overall finishers.

Through two periods of the women’s cross country FIS World Cup schedule, Diggins holds a 130-point lead in the overall standings over Stupak, with Brennan sitting in third.

Russia’s Alexander Bulshunov repeated as men’s Tour de Ski champion in dominant fashion, besting second-place Maurice Manificat, of France, by 3:23.9.

Bulshunov won five of the eight tour events and made the podium in every race.

U.S.’s Gus Schumacher finished 18th overall, after his 19th place finish in Sunday’s race. His overall finish was the best by an American man in the event’s history. He moved into 27th in the World Cup standings.

UVM product Scott Patterson finished 37th in the Tour and Kevin Bolger was 48th.

Women’s Alpine skiers were in St. Anton, Austria this weekend for a pair of races. U.S.’s Breezy Johnson made the podium in third in Saturday’s downhill race, with a time of 1:25.10.

Italy’s Sofia Goggia finished first, ahead of Austria’s Tamara Tippler.

U.S.’s Isabella Wright finished 27th and Laurenne Ross was 39th.

Wright was the top American finisher in Sunday’s super G, where she finished in 1:20.83. AJ Hurt took 26th and Johnson was 32nd.

More women’s Alpine action is on tap on Tuesday with a slalom race in Flachau, Austria.

Burke Mountain Academy alumna Mikaela Shiffrin is starting fourth in the race. Shiffrin has yet to win a slalom race this World Cup season, but has four top-five finishes. She won a giant slalom race in mid-December.

UVM product Paula Moltzan starts 29th on Tuesday, Lila Lapanja in 36th, Burke alumna Nina O’Brien in 37th, Resi Stiegler in 47th, Katie Hensien in 48th, Hurt in 50th and Burke’s Zoe Zimmerman in 61st.

The men’s Alpine athletes were in Adelboden, Austria this weekend. Mount Mansfield Ski Club’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle was 19th in Saturday’s giant slalom, following his 12th place finish on Friday. Cochran-Siegle finished with a time of 2:21.88, which was 3.52 seconds off the leading time.

Teammate River Radamus was 20th on Saturday, while Ted Ligety didn’t qualify for the final run. SMS product George Steffey didn’t finish his first run.

U.S.’s Luke Winters was 23rd in the Sunday slalom race. Green Mountain Valley School’s Benjamin Ritchie didn’t qualify for the finals.

In snowboard action, Stratton Winter Sports Club’s Dylan Udolf was 57th in the parallel giant slalom in Scuol, Switzerland on Saturday.

adam.aucoin

@rutlandherald.com

Follow on Twitter: @AAucoin_RH

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