Canadians Struggle in Sixth Stage of Tour de Ski


(ISN) -VAL DI FIEMME, Ita.—Alex Harvey finished as the top Canadian in 34th on a tough day for the red and white in the second last stage of the seven-race Tour de Ski on Saturday in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

One of the most challenging courses in the world loaded with steep climbs was made more punishing as Mother Nature delivered extremely warm conditions, sending wax technicians into a frenzy. When all was said and done, Harvey clocked a time of 49:01.3 for 34th spot in the 15-kilometre classic-ski race.

“Today unfortunately the skis could have been better. It was tricky conditions, and we just couldn’t keep up with the rest right from the start,” said Tor Arne Hetland, coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “We are going to meet and review things and figure out what happened.”

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., finished 40th at 50:17.4, while Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., placed 41st (50:28.3).

“That was not fun today,” said Babikov. “Sometimes the skis don’t work when it is +16 outside.”

Germany’s Tim Tscharnke won the gold medal by a hair, edging out Alexey Poltoranin, of Kazakhstan, with a time of 46:48.8. Switzerland’s Dario Cologna grabbed the bronze at 46:49.2.

Harvey will not race the final demanding stage up Alpe de Cermis on Sunday. He pulled out last year as well due to a circulation issue in his leg that prevents him from skate-skiing steep climbs.

Babikov, one of the top climbers in the world, will suit up with Kershaw for the Canucks.