Alex Harvey continued one of his strongest starts to a World Cup season with a 12th-place finish in the 30-kilometre individual start skate-ski race in Davos, Switzerland.
Harvey, of St-Férréol-les-Neiges, Que., posted his career-best finish in Davos after charging up and down the rolling loop that is 6,000 metres of man-made snow. Fighting with the world’s best on the narrow tracks, Harvey battled his way around the challenging loop five times in a time of 1:09:01.0.
“It has always been tough for me to race here at altitude but I personally feel this was my best all-around result of the season in conditions that don’t really suit me,” said Harvey. “This course requires lots of steady work and there is just no rest. I am really happy with the result.”
It was the fourth straight top-15 finish for the 28-year-old Harvey.
“It is the most consistent start for me on the World Cup and I think it started with the training this summer. I felt really consistent in training with no bad days. I had really steady, hard workouts and I think that is paying off,” added Harvey. “I’m now getting a bit older too so I think I am a bit more mature and stable physically. I know I still have more to come. I’m not 100 per cent yet, but this has been a great launching pad into the Tour de Ski.”
Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby won the race with a time of 1:07:31.6. Anders Gloeersen, also of Norway, finished nearly 14 seconds off the pace at 1:07:45.3 for second place, while Finland’s Matti Heikkinen won the race for the bronze medal with a time of 1:07:57.3.
While Harvey continues to lead the way for the Canucks, Graeme Killick matched the second-best result of his World Cup career. The 27-year-old Fort McMurray, Alta. resident clocked a time of 1:09.55.8. Killick had a 19th place finish in a 15-kilometre skiathlon at the Ski Tour of Canada, and also posted a 21st-place result in a 30-kilometre World Cup race in Lillehammer, Norway last year.
Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., finished 43rd (1:11:24.5) and Andy Shields, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 64th (1:14:05.5).
Meanwhile, Emily Nishikawa led a trio of Canadian women with one of the top results of her World Cup career. Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, punched the clock at 40:17.9 for 34th place.
“My race today confirms that my race shape is getting better and better each weekend,” said Nishikawa. “I’ve been feeling strong here this week, and was happy with how my body responded to racing at altitude. It is a pretty hard course in that you are working the whole time, and there is not much rest. I wanted to ski a consistent race and focus on smooth technique. I feel like I did a good job of that today.”
The Norwegians skied to the top-two spots on the podium. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was first to cross the finish line with a time of 37:44.4. Heidi Weng was second at 37:52.3. Finland’s Krista Parmakoski was just under 17 seconds off the leading pace in third at 38:01.1.
Dahria Beatty, of Whitehorse, finished in 42nd at 40:59.6. Cendrine Browne, of St-Jérôme, Que., placed 54th at 41:51.4.
Athletes will be back on the start line on Sunday in Davos for a skate-ski sprint race.
Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
- Martin Johnsrud Sundby, NOR, 1:07:31.6; 2. Anders Gloeersen, NOR, 1:07:45.3; 3. Matti Heikkinen, FIN, 1:07:57.3; 4. Simen Andreas Sveen, NOR, 1:08:07.9; 5. Alexander Legkov, RUS, 1:08:20.0
- Alex Harvey, Saint Ferreol les Neiges, Que., 1:09:01.0; 21. Graeme Killick, Fort McMurray, Alta., 1:09:55.8; 43. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 1:11:24.5; 64. Andy Shields, Thunder Bay, Ont., 1:14:05.5
Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:
- Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, NOR, 37:44.4; 2. Heidi Weng, NOR, 37:52.3; 3. Krista Parmakoski, FIN, 38:01.1; 4. Jessica Diggins, USA, 38:38.7; 5. Yulia Tchiekaleva, RUS, 38:44.9
- Emily Nishikawa, Whitehorse, 40:17.9; 42. Dahria Beatty, Whitehorse, 40:59.6; 54. Cendrine Browne, St-Jérôme, Que., 41:51.4.