by Chris Dornan
January 19, 2014, SZKLARSKA POREBA, Pol. (ISN) – One day after winning his third career World Cup medal, Alex Harvey was charging for the podium again – this time in a 15 kilometre mass start in Szklarska Poreba, Poland.
Battling through heavy fog and sketchy race conditions, Harvey found his way in the top pack for most of the five trips around the 2.7-kilometre track that was packed with marginal snow. As a trio of Russian skiers stretched the pack at the mid-way point, Harvey of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., skied cautious to give himself a shot at the podium in a sprint finish. After hammering it down the finish stretch, the 25-year-old Harvey came up shy of the medals, placing fourth at 35:44.2.
“The conditions were very sketchy and there was lots of crashes so I really wanted to be cautious today especially on the descents,” said Harvey. “I tried to catch up with the leaders but just didn’t get there. I’m very happy though. I had very good skis again and the shape is there.”
Harvey was joined in the top-10 with his two Canadian comrades on the World Cup. Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., skied a solid race placing eighth at 35:59.9, while Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta. had his best race of the season finishing ninth at 35:59.9.
Russia grabbed the top-two spots on the men’s podium. Maxim Vylegzhanin was first across the line with a time of 35:39.0. Evgeniy Belov won the sprint for the silver medal at 35:41.2, while Alexey Poltoranin, of Kazakhstan settled for the bronze after stopping the clock at 35:41.3.
None of the Canadians suited up for the women’s 10-kilometre classic-ski race.
The Canadians will now head to Italy for an altitude training camp before the final World Cup race, prior to the Olympic Winter Games, on February 1-2 in Toblach, Italy.
Meanwhile, over in Oberstdorf, Germany, Canada’s Para-Nordic athletes celebrated a double golden day for the second time this week by Chris Klebl and 10-time Paralympic medalilst, Brian McKeever along with his guide Erik Carleton, at the IPC World Cup.
The top Para-Nordic skier on the planet, Brian McKeever, remained unbeaten during the Paralympic year with this fourth consecutive gold medal. McKeever blazed a golden trail around the 10-kilometre classic-ski Oberstdorf track in a time of 25:02.7.
“The skis were amazing and the wax techs made racing easy today,” said McKeever. “My fitness is there and I am feeling great with where things are at right now.”
Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarav were second at 25:371, while Stanislav Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov, also of Russia, teamed up for the bronze medal with a time of 26:18.4
Canada’s Chris Klebl is also rounding into form with just over one month to go until the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Klebl, who moved to Canmore, Alta. to join the Canucks from the United States in 2011, won his second gold medal of the week in men’s sit skiing after posting a time of 23:34.7 in his 10-kilometre race.
All four of Klebl’s victories, including his World Championship title in 2011 have come in wet conditions.
Maksym Yarovyi, of the Ukraine, grabbed the silver medal with a time of 23:37.5. Russia’s Roman Petushkov rounded out the men’s sit-ski podium with a time of 23:39.6.
Mark Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., placed sixth at 28:19.7 in the men’s 10-kilometre standing division.
The IPC World Cup continues on Saturday in Germany. For complete results, please visit http://www.ipc-weltcup.de/ergebnislisten/
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. Maxim Vylegzhanin, RUS, 35:39.0; 2. Evgeniy Belov, RUS, 35:41.2; 3. Alexey Poltoranin, KAZ, 35:41.3; 4. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., CAN, 35:44.2; 5. Hannes Dotzler, GER, 35:44.8.
Other Canadian Results:
8. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 35:58.5; 9. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 35:59.9