by Chris Dornan
March 2, 2014, LAHTI, Fin. (ISN) – Alex Harvey put together back-to-back solid races after finishing eighth in 15-kilometre World Cup cross-country skate-ski race at the Lahti Ski Games in Finland on Sunday.
With the top-three finishers separating themselves from the field early, Harvey of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. was in the hunt for the fight for fourth, but faded near the end of the 15-kilometre treck to finish eighth with a time of 34:00.5 in the warm race conditions.
“I wasn’t expecting much because the course has lots of steep uphills and it was skating so it isn’t the course that suits me best,” said Harvey. “I am happy with the way I skied. I have been physically really tired after the Olympics and the travel. But the shape is still there and I just wanted to come here and restart the machine so to have two really good results is a bonus.”
Norway’s Martin Sundby grabbed the golden spot on the podium with a time of 33:05.5, while Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson was second at 33:16.2. Russia’s Alexander Legkov rounded out the men’s podium in third place after stopping the clock at 33:16.7.
Sitting sixth overall on the World Cup standings, Harvey is focused on a solid finish to a bittersweet season.
“We obviously didn’t meet our expectations at the Olympics, but there are still a lot of things to be happy about this year. I’m still fighting for good position on the World Cup so mentally I was really looking forward to this weekend and I really want to finish the season strong,” added Harvey.
Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., was the only other Canadian to crack the elite group of top-30. Babikov finished 29th at 34:51.3. Graham Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, was 41st at 35:17.8; Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., was 43rd at 35:24.7; Michael Somppi, of Thunder Bay, Ont., placed 58th at 35:52.0; Calgary’s Kevin Sandau was 80th (37:02.6); and Raphael Couturier, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was 85th (37:21.2).
Meanwhile, three Canadians hit the start line for the women’s 10-kilometre skate-ski race. Alysson Marshall, of Salmon Arm, B.C., was the top Canuck in 62nd (24:48.7). Returning to the World Cup after competing in her first Olympic Winter Games, Heidi Widmer, of Banff, Alta., finished on Marshall’s heels in 63rd at 28:55.5. Cendrine Brown, of Saint-Jérôme, Que., placed 68th at 29:47.7, while Andrea Dupont, of Timmins, Ont., was 71st (30:13.4).
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won the women’s race with a time of 25:05.3. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the sprint for the silver with a time of 25:32.2, while Norway’s Therese Johaug clocked-in at 25:32.9 for the bronze.
The World Cup now heads to Drammen, Norway.
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Complete Results: www.fis-ski.org