cross-ctry can

—Alex Harvey took his turn to lead Canada’s cross-country skiers at the final day of World Cup racing in Szklarska Poreba, Poland with a 15th-place finish.

On a challenging day for wax technicians with mild temperatures, the 23-year-old Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., powered his way around the 15-kilometre track to post a time of 40:39.4. Harvey was inside the top-10 for most of the race, but dropped to 15th in his final lap.

“It was one of my best results for an individual start. My body felt very strong, but it was a hard day and I wasted too much energy in the first 10 kilometres,” said Harvey.

Tricky weather conditions with snow in the forecast; the Canadian team gambled to go with hairies skis rather than wax.

“It was tricky for everyone. Some athletes went on wax and others on hairies. The hairies were working good early on. We expected it to snow, but it didn’t, and the track started to get icy so it made it really tough today,” added Harvey.

Sweden’s Johan Olsson set the time to beat at 38:48.2, while Switzerland’s Dario Cologna found his way back onto the podium by grabbing the silver with a time of 39:07.5. Russia’s Alexander Legkov placed third at 39:45.7.

One day removed from capturing his second gold medal of the season, and fourth podium finish, Canada’s Devon Kershaw struggled to find his top form, finishing 26th. The 29-year-old Sudbury, Ont. native punched the clock at 41:04.0. Toronto’s Len Valjas finished 39th at 41:57.8, while Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., did not finish the race.

Kershaw remains third in the overall World Cup standings, while Harvey sits in seventh as the world’s best cross-country skiers edge closer to the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Daria Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., finished as the top Canadian in the women’s 10-kilometre classic-ski race.  The 2010 Olympian clocked-in at 31:43.6 to place 25th. Alysson Marshall, of Salmon Arm, B.C., was the only other Canuck in the women’s field, finished 55th (33:56.2).

Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk skied to the gold with a time of 28:43.9. Norwegians Marit Bjoergen and Therese Johaug finished second and third respectively. Bjoergen claimed the silver with a time of 29:20.0, while Johaug snagged the bronze at 29:34.3.

Cross Country 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


Complete World Cup Results:;event_id=30089


Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:

1.  Johan Olsson, SWE, 38:48.2; 2. Dario Cologna, SUI, 39:07.5; 3. Alexander Legkov, RUS, 39:45.7; 4. IIia Chernousov, RUS, 39:47.7; 5. Eldar Roenning, NOR, 39:48.6

Other Canadian Results:

15. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., 40:39.4; 26. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 41:04.0; 39. Len Valjas, Toronto, 41:57.8.

Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:

1. Justyna Kowalczyk, POL, 28:43.9; 2. Marit Bjoergen, NOR, 29:20.0; 3. Therese Johaug, NOR, 29:34.3; 4. Vibeke Skofterud, NOR, 30:04.2; 5. Marthe Kristoffersen, NOR, 30:22.9

Canadian Results:

25. Daria Gaiazova, Banff, Alta., 31:43.6; 55. 55. Alysson Marshall, Salmon Arm, B.C., 33:56.2