Jessie Diggins gets first win of cross-country skiing season, essentially books Olympic spot


Jessie Diggins essentially wrapped up a spot on her third U.S. Olympic team by earning her first cross-country skiing World Cup victory of the season on Tuesday.

Diggins won a freestyle sprint in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, to open the annual Tour de Ski, a Tour de France-like stage race that takes place over the next week across Central Europe.

Last year, Diggins became the first North American to win the Tour de Ski, though some of the world’s best sat out. Some stars are again passing on this year’s Tour, including World Cup overall leader Maja Dahlqvist of Sweden and Norwegian standout Therese Johaug.

Diggins, a 2018 Olympic team sprint champion with the now-retired Kikkan Randall, is nonetheless a legit contender to win the U.S.’ second individual Olympic cross-country skiing medal come February. It would be the nation’s first in an individual women’s race.

Diggins handed Johaug a rare defeat in a 10km last January, then placed fourth in the distance at the world championships in March. Those were freestyle races. The 10km at the Olympics will be in the classic skiing technique, where Diggins is not as strong.

However, she now has two podiums in four freestyle sprints this World Cup season. The freestyle sprint is on the Olympic program in February.

Diggins will soon become the first American cross-country skier to mathematically earn an Olympic spot.

Qualification criteria for up to the first six of eight U.S. female skiers is set at a top eight finish in certain World Cup races, with the tiebreakers being skiers’ highest finishes.

Diggins is the lone American to place in the top two of a World Cup this season (which she’s done three times), and there are seven World Cup races left before the qualifying cutoff.

The Tour de Ski continues Wednesday. A full broadcast schedule is here.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice

The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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