Alex Harvey Rebounds into 10th in World Cup Distance Race

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(ISN) – LILLEHAMMER, Nor.—Alex Harvey rebounded after a difficult Saturday to finish as the top Canadian in 10th spot overall in the three-day mini-tour after posting the seventh fastest time in Sunday’s 15-kilometre classic-ski World Cup race.

Starting in 11th spot based on results from the opening two days, the 26-year-old Harvey climbed one spot in the standings in a tight pack of the top skiers on the planet, clocking a time of 40 minutes, 40.7 seconds.

“Overall I had two out of three good races this weekend so I have to be happy,” said Harvey, who now sits in seventh spot in the Overall World Cup standings. “During these stage races, at some point your body dictates how you are going to feel. You have to focus on recovery so last night I just did all the proper things to allow my body to recover overnight and I felt really good and strong today. I guess I’ll have to work a bit on my skate-skiing but overall I am pleased.”

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., bolted up the standings with the 10th-fastest time of the day for one of his best classic ski results of his career. The feisty Babikov moved up 28 spots on the field to finish in 28th position with a 15-kilometre classic time of 41:40.1.

“For me to finish top-10 in a classic ski race is very special,” said Babikov while hopping onto the bus en route to Davos, Switzerland for the next stop on the World Cup. “I worked really hard this summer on double poling and I think that helped today. This course was extremely tough with lots of hills, which is right up my alley. I had a good group of guys around me to work with, the skis were fast and my body felt great all day.”

Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., also dashed out of the gate, wasting no time making up ground on the field. Starting in 66th place, Kershaw started fast to pick off 25 spots on the field and finish with a time of 42:14.2 with the 28th fastest time of the day.

With the race breaking off into three groups, it was the Norwegians leading the charge to the podium once again. Pulling away from the pack in the final two kilometres, Martin Johnsrud Sundby grabbed the gold with a time of 39:48.2. Finn Haagen Krogh skied to the silver medal at 40:04.8, while Sjur Roeth completed the Norwegian sweep with a time of 40:24.7.

Other Canadian men’s finishes included Jesse Cockney, of Canmore, Alta., in 67th (43:59.5); Toronto’s Len Valjas in 71st (44:08.5); and Graeme Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., placing 73rd at 44:27.1.

Canada’s Emily Nishikawa also had a strong finish to the women’s mini-tour, picking up 22 spots on the field. Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, clocked-in at 32:38.6 to finish 42nd in the 10-kilometre classic ski pursuit race.

The Norwegian women, who dominated all weekend, continued their impressive start to the season stealing all three medals once again on Sunday. Marit Bjoergen was first to cross the line with a time of 28:19.7. Therese Johaug was second at 28:20.3, while Heidi Weng grabbed the bronze medal at 32:38.6.

The World Cup now travels to Davos, Switzerland.

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