Canada’s Alex Harvey steady in fifth at Olympic Tune-Up Race in Italy

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Cross Country skiing Canada

by Chris Dornan

February 1, 2014, TOBLACH, Ita. (ISN) – Alex Harvey was solid from start-to-finish with a fifth-place result in his final World Cup cross-country ski distance race prior to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

After spending a week doing high-altitude training in Italy, the 25-year-old Harvey bounced back into race form while challenging for the podium in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start classic-ski race in Toblach, Italy. Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., clocked a time of 37:30.1.

“That was a solid race from Alex today. He started out conservative and then made up ground throughout the race,” said Justin Wadsworth, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “This week is all about shaking out the cobwebs after being at altitude so it was a good day.”

Harvey set a pace ahead of the eventual winner, Russia’s Alexander Legkov, in the final lap. Legkov set the time to beat at 37:02.7. Switzerland’s Dario Cologna was second at 37:05.6, while Sweden’s Marcus Hellner rounded out the podium in third with a time of 37:20.3.

Four other Canadians hit the start line including two relative rookies to the World Cup, Graeme Killick and Jesse Cockney, along with Olympic veterans Devon Kershaw and Ivan Babikov.

Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., finished 39th with a time of 39:31.7, while Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., placed 40th (39:32.3). Cockney, of Canmore, Alta., was 51st (39:48.6), while Babikov, also of Canmore, Alta., finished 62nd (40:24.4) in the wet and mild conditions.

Devon and Ivan struggled with their skis today in the conditions,” added Wadsworth. “All of the guys are feeling really good and I think are looking good heading into the Games.”

Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, was the lone Canadian to start in the women’s 10-kilometre classic-ski race. Nishikawa placed 40th after clocking a time of 30:06.8.

Norway’s Marit Bjoergen finished on top at 26:54.2. Therese Johaug, also of Norway, grabbed the silver medal with a time of 27:30.9, while Charlotte Kalla, of Sweden, skied to the bronze after stopping the clock at 27:37.1.

The final World Cup race prior to the start of the Olympic Winter Games takes place on Sunday in Toblach, Italy.

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: www.fis-ski.com 

Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:

1. Alexander Legkov, RUS, 37:02.7; 2. Dario Cologna, SUI, 37:05.6; 3. Marcus Hellner, SWE, 37:20.3; 4. Dmitriy Japarov, RUS, 37:26.5; 5. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., CAN, 37:30.1

Other Canadian Results:

39. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 39:31.7; 40. Graeme Killick, Fort McMurray, Alta., 39:32.3; 51. Jesse Cockney, Canmore, Alta., 39:48.6; 62. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 40:24.4.

Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:

1. Marit Bjoergen, NOR, 26:54.2; 2. Therese Johaug, NOR, 27:30.9; 3. Charlotte Kalla, SWE, 27:37.1; 4. Heidi Weng, NOR, 27:39.0; 5. Justyna Kowalczyk, POL, 27:41.4

Canadian Results:

40. Emily Nishikawa, Whitehorse, 30:06.8.

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