Alex Harvey Rebounds into Ninth in World Cup Pursuit Race

Alex Harvey

Chris Dornan

(ISN) – RYBINSK, Rus.—Alex Harvey bounced back after a difficult sprint race to climb his way back into the top-10 in a men’s 30-kilometre pursuit race on Sunday in Rybinsk, Russia.

Harvey, 26, took advantage of ideal racing conditions to post a ninth-place time of one hour, 22 minutes, 10.8 seconds (1:22:10.8).

“Having raced three times this weekend, I was feeling a little fatigued and was missing a bit at the end of the race,” said Harvey. “All the same, I’m satisfied with the result. Being in the top-10 – you always have to take that with a smile.”

Harvey, of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., skied near the front of the lead pack for the majority of the 15-kilometre classic leg. After entering the transition zone to switch into skate-skiing gear with the clock still running, the two-time Olympian charged out onto the course for 15 kilometres of skate skiing. Executing his race tactics to near perfection, Harvey took his turn at the front of the pack, while leading the field through the rolling terrain

Ensuring none of the world’s best could surge ahead of the pack, Harvey was in complete control with the final five kilometre loop. Matching stride-for-stride with the lead group, Harvey was not able to respond to the pace that intensified with two kilometres to go, and fought for ninth spot.

Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin was first to cross the line and led six Russians into the top-eight. Vylegzhanin clocked a time of 1:21:54.8. Switzerland’s Dario Cologna was second at 1:21:57.5, while Finland’s Matti Heikkinen skied to the bronze-medal step of the podium with a time of 1:22:01.0.

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., capped off one of his strongest World Cup weeks of the post-Olympic year. Returning to his birth country, Babikov hammered the pace in the skate-ski leg, picking off the field one-by-one until he finished in 19th spot at 1:22:26.3.

“I struggled a bit in classic part of the race, two times I got stuck behind some skiers crashing and after second time I wasn’t strong enough to breach that gap between our group and main pack,” said Babikov. “But I managed to gain about 35 seconds in the skate leg and get back to the main leading group. Unfortunately I spent too much energy doing that, and had not much left in the tank for the last lap and finished at the back of the leading group. I am pretty happy with my 19th place and I’m looking forward to get home to start preparing for the World Championships in Falun.”

Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., was solid in the classic-ski portion of the race. Skiing through the field, Kershaw hung on to the back of the lead group until the final loop when he began to drop off the pace. Kershaw crossed the finish line in 34th with a time of 1:23:30.0. Graeme Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., skied to 40th spot at 1:24:31.1.

No Canadians suited up for the women’s race.

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