MOSCOW, Rus.—Canada’s Devon Kershaw skied to his second-straight bronze medal in a skate-ski sprint at the Cross-CountrySkiing World Cup in Moscow on Thursday.
Arguably in the best shape of his life, the 29-year-old Kershaw advanced to the head-to-head heats with the top-30 athletes after posting the fastest qualifying time for only the second time of his brilliant career. Determined to land on the podium, the two-time Olympian charged to the front of the pack in each of the three rounds.
“My goal today was to just get to the front in each heat and I thought that would be the key to winning,” said Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont. “My body is shocking me everyday. It was a long cold day, but I felt great again and it was a super solid race today.”
Matched up against a stellar field in the final, Kershaw got off to a strong start where he ventured out for one final trip around the 1.5-kilometre flat course, which winds itself around the famous Luzhniki Olympic Stadium. While two Russian skiers jumped to the front, Kershaw tucked in behind Sweden’s Teodor Peterson for the first part of the heat until powering his way to the front while approaching the final of two man-made bridges. Leading the pack into the final straightaway, the colourful Canuck came up short in his quest for gold, butheld on for third.
“You should never be disappointed with a podium at a World Cup, but I am a little disappointed because I really felt like I was going to win,” said Kershaw, who also won a bronze medal last week in the 15-kilometre classic-ski race last week in Estonia – his first race since placing fourth in the grueling Tour de Ski.
“It (these results) is crazy. The body is so good right now and I just always seem to be in that zone when the race is on. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, but right now I just feel like racing is a sanctuary for me and I feel so present.”
Sweden’s Teodor Peterson finished on top of the podium, while Norway’s Anders Gloeersen skied to the silver medal.
Two other Canadian men also qualified for the heats, but were eliminated in the semifinals. Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was matched up alongside his friend and teammate Kershaw in the second round where he finished just short advancing to the finals putting him in ninth spot overall. Toronto’s Len Valjas’ day also came to an end in the semifinal-round, finishing 12th.
Meanwhile, two Canadian women also advanced to the round of 30 where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals. Daria Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., finished 22nd, while Perianne Jones, of Almonte, Ont., was 24th. Chandra Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., did not qualify for heats and finished 36th.
The Canadian squad will now head to Rybinsk, Russia for a series of races this weekend.
CrossCountry Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Teck Resources Ltd., Canadian Pacific, and Statoil – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com
CompleteWorld Cup Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=31294