Team USA took a second place finish in Milan earlier today with U.S. Ski Team teammates Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins worked together to earn a place on the podium for two at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Milan. Diggins was responsible for skiing a very strong final leg, handing off to Randall to anchor with the World Cup leader. Sweden took first place and Canada took third. Russia took victory in the men’s sprint.
This as the very first team event for Diggins, “Today was the first time I’ve been in a team sprint. I asked Kikkan and my other teammates how it worked, what you did in the breaks and trying to learn how my body would feel. In warmup, Kikkan and I practiced some exchanges. And we talked about tactics like trying to stay at the front but not leading. Everyone helped me prepare!”
During the second hand-off of the final lap, a skier from Sweden cut Diggins over as she was coming into her hand-off to Randall! The contact sent Diggins sprawling into Randall, and forced Randall to back track to confirm the tag.
Randall discusses their hard-fought victory, “I think another skier cut right in front of Jessie just before the tag. I was already accelerating, thinking we were about to have an awesome tag, when I felt Jessie crash into me. I didn’t feel the hand to body contact though so I had to stop and go backwards towards her. She fell again as we tagged but we got the right contact this time and I had to charge after the pack which had already turned the corner.”
The FIS World Cup now heads to Otepaa, Estonia for a classic sprint and 15k/10k classic.
Diggins has had some previous experience with Otepaa, “I’m looking forward to going to Estonia this weekend. I’ve been there twice, including Junior Worlds last year, so it will be cool to go there with some familiarity.”