Alex Harvey maintains tour lead with 11th place sprint finish

101
Cross Country skiing Canada

byChris Dornan

December 29, 2013, OBERHOF, Ger. (ISN) – Alex Harvey will take a 20 second lead into the third stage of the Tour de Ski after placing 11th in a skate-sprint race on Sunday in Oberhof, Germany.

On the heels of winning his second World Cup race on the opening day of the seven-race Tour de Ski, the 25-year-old Harvey continued his torrid pace into Sunday where he led all qualifiers into the head-to-head heats after setting the fastest qualifying time of 2 minutes 49.76 seconds around the 1.5-kilometre slushy trail in Germany.

“The qualifier doesn’t mean much in the big picture, but it still means you were the fastest at the time so that is important,” said Harvey. “Given the rougher start we’ve had to the year, we’ll take any of these <small victories>. Yesterday’s win was huge for the confidence. Winning a World Cup has only happened once before for me so yesterday’s results were huge for all of us.”

Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., who made history with Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., after their one-two finish on Saturday, qualified in 10th spot. The two Canucks were matched against each other in the opening heat where Harvey finished second to move into the semi-finals, whereas Kershaw was forced to the sidelines after crossing the finish line fourth for an 18th-place result. Harvey’s podium hopes for a second-straight day came to a crashing halt when the Canadian got tripped up by Alexander Legkov in the second round. Harvey bounced back up on his feat, but the gap was too large to overcome, and he finished 11th overall. 

“Yes it was a bittersweet day, but overall more sweet,” added Harvey. “Legkov tried to pass me when there was no room but that happens on tight courses. It was bad luck because I was in good position in third spot, but that is racing. It was good to have the body the way it was and the speed was there so I’m happy with how things are going and that I keep the leaders bib.”

Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson won the men’s sprint race. Italy’s Fredrico Pellegrino skied into second spot, while Norway’s Martins Johnsrud Sundby rounded out the men’s podium in third. Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., did not advance to the heats after qualifying in 101st spot.

The two Canadian women cranked up the heat in Germany. Daria Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., qualified for the heats in 10th spot, while Perianne Jones proved she is shaping into top form after posting the 14th quickest qualifying time. Both Canadian women were eliminated in the opening round after crossing the finish line sixth in their respective heats. Gaiazova finished 27th overall, while Jones was 28th.

Sweden’s Hanna Erikson won the second stage. Germany’s Denise Herrmann was second, while Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg finished third.

Modeled after the Tour de France in cycling, the Tour de Ski wraps up in Val di Fiemme, Italy on January 5. One of the featured events on the Nordic calendar tests some of the most physically and mentally fit athletes in the world in seven punishing races over nine days at four different venues in three countries to determine the king and queen of cross-country skiing.

The world’s best Nordic stars will have a rest day on Monday, but will be back on the start line Tuesday when the Tour resumes in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

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 58,000 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,. 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.

Complete Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/cross-country/

Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:

1. Calle Halfvarsson, SWE; 2. Fredrico Pellegrino, ITA: 3. Martin Johnsrud Sudby, NOR; 4. Jens Eriksson, SWE; 5. Josef Wenzl, GER  

Canadian Results:

11. Alex Harvey,  St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que.; 18. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont.; 101. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta.

Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:

1. Hanna Erikson, SWE; 2. Denise Herrmann, GER; 3. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, NOR; 4. Nicole Fessel, GER; 5. Marit Bjoergen, NOR.

Canadian Results:

 27. Daria Gaiazova, Banff, Alta.; 28. Perianne Jones, Almonte, Ont.

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