Team USA own the podium for the final day of Cross Country Racing



On a glorious bluebird day at Snow Farm, Benjamin Saxton and Jessie Diggins from the USA took home gold at the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Classic Mass Start Race. 
Credit Winter games NZ
The spring day gave the athletes perfect conditions for cross country racing. PyeongChang 2018 Gold Medallist Jessie Diggins took out her second gold title for the 2018 Audi quattro Winter Games NZ. After completing a challenging 10km course with a time of 29:38:6 Jessie states “It was really hard but it was really good. It was really fun going back and forth with Caitlin (Patterson, Team USA), changing leads and pushing each other to be better. It was a tough course with a lot of herringbones so it was really good practice for us, you need to know how to do that technique so this was the best pre-season race we could ask for.” 
Diggins and Patterson stuck close to each other for the duration of the race with Diggins taking the gold by just a mere second. Patterson also received silver in the 2017 Winter Games NZ for the ladies 10km classic mass start. Ida Sargent from Team USA came in at third place with a finishing time of 30:27:00.  
Diggins was grateful to all the volunteers and staff involved “I want to extend a huge thank you to all the volunteers, staff and Snow Farm. They’ve made this a really amazing experience and a really fun atmosphere so we are really really grateful to be able to race here every year.”
Benjamin Saxton, who placed second in yesterday’s Freestyle Sprints managed to take the top spot in the Men’s Classic Mass Start 15km race. “It feels really good, today was a beautiful day with some awesome race track and I’m really thankful that I had some good legs and was able to bring it home.”  
The men stayed in very close range of each other, resulting in the top three placings coming in with only 1 second between them making for a very exciting finish. Saxton said, “I thought it (the course) was very challenging and technical, the volunteers and groomers here did an unbelievable job and we are very lucky that we had all those guys putting in hard work as this is a world class venue”. US teammates Adam Martin took out second place with Benjamin Lustgarten taking third. 
Kaichi Naruse of Japan was very close to making the podium with only 4 seconds between himself and Lustgarten, however, Team USA managed to rule both the male and female podiums for the final day of cross country racing.