Alex Harvey Fights for Fifth Spot in Cross-Country Ski Marathon

Harvey Alex

Chris Dornan

(ISN) – FALUN, Swe.—Alex Harvey completed a dream World Championships by fighting through the snow and sketchy conditions to a fifth-place finish in the men’s 50-kilometre classic-ski marathon on Sunday in Falun, Sweden.

Entering the highly anticipated race with two podium finishes at the World Champs in Sweden, the 26-year-old Harvey used all the gas in the tank to clock a fifth-place time of two hours, 26 minutes, 8.1 seconds.

“It might have been the slowest 50 kilometre race in modern history,” laughed Harvey. “I felt good on the skis and I didn’t want (Johan) Olsson to breakaway. I used a lot of energy going with him and I should have read the situation better. I used up way too much energy early on and paid for it in the end.”

With snow plunging down on the hilly Falun track, the St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que. product was mixing it up at the front of the pack for the duration of the race, but made a costly mistake fearing the breakaway.

“I knew Olsson was filling good and wanted to get away, but there was no point in trying to prevent that. The downhills were just too slow and there was no way anyone was getting away today. I made that mistake in using energy going with him,” added Harvey.

“The shape was great and so were the skis. The snow kept it close and it was an exciting finish. I just had nothing left to move in the end.”

It sure was. Harvey finished just four seconds off the podium pace. Norway’s Petter Northug won the gold with a time of 2:26:02.1. Lukas Bauer, of the Czech Republic, was second at 2:26:03.8, while Sweden’s Olsson held on for the bronze with a time of 2:26:04.1.

Meanwhile, Graeme Killick had the race of his life in a national team uniform.

The 26-year-old, of Fort McMurray, Alta., clocked in at 2:27:46.2 to finish in 19th spot.

“I was hoping for another top-30 and just wanted to hang in there and not cramp up,” said Killick, who was 28th at the 2014 Olympics. “The skis were incredible. They put me in a good position at the start, and I didn’t have to work as hard on a lot of the climbs. It was really good. I’m super happy with it.”

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., also grabbed the final spot in the top-30, posting a time of 2:29:50.5.

Earlier in the week, Harvey skied into the Canadian record books, becoming the first cross-country ski athlete to win two medals at a World Championship event.

It was the fourth World Championship medal of Harvey’s career. In addition to this week’s silver and bronze medals, he won gold in the team sprint with Devon Kershaw in 2011, and finished third in the individual sprint race two years ago in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
1. Petter Northug, NOR, 2:26:02.1; 2. Lukas Bauer, CZE, 2:26:03.8; 3. Johan Olsson, SWE, 2:26:04.1; 4. Maxim Vylegzhanin, RUS, 2:26:04.9; 5. Alex Harvey, St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., 2:26:08.1
Other Canadian Results:
19. Graeme Killick, Fort McMurray, Alta., 2:27:56.2; 30. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 2:29:50.5

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