Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins notched her first World Cup podium finish of the 2018-19 season, placing third in a freestyle sprint in Toblach, Italy. Sadie Bjornsen, who was the fastest woman in qualification, placed sixth.
The race marked the opening event of the Tour de Ski, an annual cross-country skiing competition where athletes race seven times in three countries over nine days. In addition to earning World Cup points at each stop, athletes also compete for the overall Tour de Ski title, which comes with 400 additional World Cup points.
Sweden claimed the top two spots on the women’s sprint podium, with Stina Nilsson finishing well ahead of the rest of the field and Ida Indemarsdotter placing second. Full results are here.
In a post-race interview, Nilsson reiterated her plan to only compete at the first four stops of the Tour de Ski. A number of top international athletes are not participating in the grueling multi-stage competition at all, including current women’s World Cup leader Therese Johaug of Norway. The 2019 World Championships, the most important cross-country skiing competition in a non-Olympic year, begin on February 20 in Austria.
On the men’s side, Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo finished first in the sprint, while France’s Richard Jouve and Lucas Chanavat placed second and third, respectively.
The Tour de Ski continues in Toblach tomorrow with the women’s 10km and men’s 15km freestyle races.
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