by Chris Dornan
March 14, 2014, FALUN, Swe. (ISN) – Alex Harvey kicked off the World Cup Finals by finishing just off the podium in a classic-ski sprint race on Friday in Falun, Sweden.
Qualifying in 10th spot for the round of 30 in the head-to-head heats, the 25-year-old Harvey was second in his quarter-final heat before earning a spot in the final as one of two lucky losers in the semis. The top-two athletes in each heat move to the next round along with the next two fastest times.
Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was in a fight for podium, but ran out of real estate down the finishing stretch, and was forced to settle for fourth.
“I wanted to stay behind the pack for the first and second hill because I knew I was gong to be fast on the downhill,” said Harvey, who finished eighth overall in the World Cup sprint rankings. “If it was a little longer I would have caught them. I am very satisfied though with fourth today.”
Sweden swept the men’s podium, Teodor Peterson grabbed the gold medal, while Emil Joensson was second and Calle Halfvarsson edged Harvey out for the bronze.
The battle between Harvey and Halfvarsson will not end on the sprint course. Halfvarsson has a 12-point lead over Harvey for fourth spot in the Overall World Cup standings with the final two races to go this weekend.
“My main objective this weekend is to have great results, and I would really like a podium,” added Harvey. “My shape is good, and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., and Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., did not qualify for the heats. Kershaw placed 40th, while Babikov skied into 47th spot
Andrea Dupont, of Timmins, Ont., was the lone Canadian woman to hit the start line on Friday. Dupont, who earned a spot with the top-50 at the World Cup Finals after leading the Haywood NorAm series, finished 46th and did not qualify for the heats.
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen finished on top in the women’s race, while her teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg sprinted to the silver medal. Sweden’s Stina Nilsson rounded out the podium in third place.
The World Cup Finals continue on Saturday with the skiathlon races.
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/cross-country
Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
1. Teodor Peterson, SWE; 2. Emil Joensson, SWE; 3. Calle Halfvarsson, SWE; 4. Alex Harvey,St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., CAN; 5. Sergey Ustiugov, RUS
Other Canadian Results:
40. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont.; 47. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta.
Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:
1. Marit Bjoergen, NOR: 2. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, NOR; 3. Stina Nilsson, SWE; 4. Kikkan Randall, USA; 5. Krista Lahteenmaki, FIN
46. Andrea Dupont, Timmins, Ont.