cross country_canada

November 17, 2012, BRUKSVALLARNA, Swe. (ISN) — Alex Harvey and Chandra Crawford answered the bell to the start of a new cross-country ski season by narrowly missing the podium in a short-distance classic-ski race in Bruksvallarna, Sweden on Friday.

In the final tune-up race before the start of the World Cup season next week, Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., skied just shy of the podium in fourth spot with a time of 22 minutes, 24.0 seconds in the men’s 10-kilometre classic-ski race, while Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., clocked-in at 13:06.8 for eighth place in the women’s five-kilometre classic-ski race.

“I arrived in Sweden 10 days ago and we’ve had a really hard block of training. I wasn’t 100 per cent today, but the body felt good and I had lots of energy,” said Harvey, who finished sixth overall on the World Cup last year with one gold, two silver and one bronze medal. “Today was about testing new things including skis and doing a quicker start than usual because it was a course with fast conditions, but you also want to use this weekend to get back in your normal routine.”

Three Swedish athletes grabbed the medals on their home turf. Daniel Richardson posted the golden time of 22:15.3, while Marcus Hellner was second at 22:20.5, and Lars Nelson claimed the bronze medal with a time of 22:21.6.

Calgary’s Kevin Sandau was the only other Canadian in the men’s field of 140 athletes. Sandau finished 34th with a time of 23:41.6.

Meanwhile, Chandra Crawford led the Canadians into the top-10 in the women’s five-kilometre race. The sprint specialist surpassed her own expectations with an eight-place finish(13:06.8) against a strong women’s field of 77 athletes.

“It was a lot better than I expected today. It felt great to get a race bib on and hit the start line after a very long and grueling training season,” said Crawford. “All of my objectives today were process goals. I was happy with my result, but also that I met my goals of pace, pushing my speed, and my technique that I’ve been working on. The skis were so great today too and our team did an awesome job.”

Crawford finished 34 seconds behind the race winner, Emma Wicken of Sweden, who set the time to beat at 12:33.1. Charlotte Kalla, of Sweden, was two seconds off the pace in the silver-medal position at 12:35.5, while Ida Ingemarsdotter, rounded out the Swedish sweep of the podium in third with a time of 12:42.4.

Canada’s Perianne Jones, of Almonte, Ont., also had a solid first race to kick-off the 2012-13 season. The 27-year-old fought her way into the top-15 with a 14th-place finish at 13:10.6.

Races continue in Bruksvallarna, Sweden on Saturday with 10- and 15-kilometre skate-ski racesbefore Sunday’s sprint events.