—Harvey climbs 15 spots to sit seventh in overall Tour rankings after round two—
LENZERHEIDE, Sui.—Alex Harvey wasted little time fighting his way back into the lead group of the Tour de Ski with a seventh-place finish in the second stage of the eight-race series on Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Frustrated with a disappointing sprint race to open the 10-day trek through Europe, the 27-year-old Harvey rolled up his sleeves and put his work boots on Saturday where he bolted his way up the standings with a solid seventh-place finish in the men’s 30-kilometre classic-ski race. Harvey, of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., clocked a time of 1:15:42.7.
“It was a good race today. The classic has been tough for me this year, but it was my first race I was skiing well technically and hitting my kick. I was happy with my skiing and I also got a lot of bonus points so I gained a lot of rank today,” said Harvey.
Wearing bib 28 in the mass start race, Harvey had one goal in mind over the next one hour plus of work: chase down the world’s best skiers over the eight laps on a 3.75 kilometres course that featured lots of ups and downs with nice gradual climbs that allowed for good glide. Harvey made his way into the lead group of five at the five-kilometre mark where he skied for most of the race.
“I started in the fourth row today which is unusual for me. I had no choice but to start harder than I normally would. I had to go for it today,” said Harvey following his post-race cool down. “I was running outside the track on the hills to pass guys. I couldn’t relax for the first couple of kilometres so I maybe paid for that at the end of the race a bit, but there was no other choices today but to go for it.”
While the top Canadian was pleased with his result, it was the Norwegians who dominated the second stage of the Tour when all was said and done, grabbing the top-four spots on the results page. Martin Johnsrud Sundby proved he is in a class of his own, pulling away from the field at the 25 kilometre mark to win by nearly 35 seconds with a time of 1:14:48.3.
Petter Northug grabbed his first podium finish in the early going of the 10th edition of the prestigious Tour de Ski that boasts 100 of the top Nordic skiers in the world vying for the title of King of cross-country skiing. Northug clocked in at 1:15:22.9. Northug edged out teammate Didrik Toenseth in the sprint finish by a fraction of a second. Toenseth completed the sweep of the podium for the Norwegians with a time of 1:15:23.4.
It was also a solid day for Ivan Babikov who was the next best Canadian finisher in 33rd spot. The Canmore, Alta. resident finished 33rd with a time of 1:18:14.9.
Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., was 41st at 1:19:12.9, while sprint specialist, Len Valjas of Toronto, placed 65th with a time of 1:21:42.9.
Modeled after the Tour de France in cycling, the Tour de Ski features eight races over four venues in three countries over a 10-day period. The Tour wraps up in Val di Fiemme, Italy on January 12 with a 425-metre climb to the top of Alpe Cermis.
The third stage of the Tour will remain in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Sunday with the 10-kilometre skate-ski pursuit race.
Top-Five and Canadian Results:
1. Martin Johnsrud Sundby, NOR, 1:14:48.3; 2. Petter Northug, NOR, 1:15:22.9; 3. Didrik Toenseth, NOR, 1:15:23.4; 4. Sjur Roethe, NOR, 1:15:23.9; 5. Alexey Poltoranin, KAZ, 1:15:25.1
7. Alex Harvey, St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., 1:15:42.7; 33. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 1:18:14.9; 41. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 1:19:12.9; 65. Len Valjas, Toronto, 1:21:42.9