VAL MUSTAIR, Sui—Canada’s Alex Harvey moved into third place in the Overall standings after an eighth place finish in the second stage of the Tour de Ski on Sunday in Val Mustair, Switzerland.
The Saint Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que. resident clocked a time of 24:57.0 in the 10-kilometre mass start classic-ski race.
“It was a good day. I’m happy with the result and the way I skied,” said Harvey, who has consistently been in the top-10 this year. “The skis were good and I made up some spots on the down hills today.”
Starting in fifth spot on the front line of the mass start race, Harvey executed his tactics to near perfection as 78 of the world’s best Nordic skiers jockeyed for position while venturing around the narrow 2.5 kilometre loop four times.
“The course was pretty dangerous. The snow was super fast with sharp corners. The first goal was to stay near the front and out of trouble. The second goal was to stay with the leaders. I accomplished both of those today so it was a great first two days,” added Harvey.
Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov finished on top of the pack for the second straight day. Ustiugov posted a winning time of 24:50.0. Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby finished nearly two seconds back at 24:51.9. Didrik Toenseth, also of Norway, posted a third-place time of 24:52.3.
A lightening quick pace, skiing at altitude on a tricky layout that features a long, four-minute climb off the start mixed with tight corners, down hills and flats along in a rare 10-kilometre race distance were the perfect ingredients for a tough day at the office.
“I think the 10km can be one of the most difficult races we do. The pace is one of the biggest changes. You are going fast everywhere whereas in a 15km race you have to ski it in a bit more so it is quite a painful race,” said the 28-year-old Harvey, who has been battling heavy legs the last couple of days.
“I still didn’t feel 100 per cent today but better than yesterday. It is a bit higher altitude here than in Davos. It is the same for everyone, but it will be nice to get to sea level again in Oberstdorf.”
Three other Canadians also hit the start line for the second stage. Three-time Olympian, Devon Kershaw, bolted up the standings with a solid effort. Starting in 54th, the Sudbury, Ont. resident climbed into 27th spot after clocking a time of 25:32.9.
Graeme Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., also put down a solid performance, which saw him move up 14 spots in the standings into 33rd place. Killick stopped the clock at 25:39.2. Toronto’s Len Valjas rounded out the Canadian contingent in 38th place with a time of 25:44.3.
Athletes will get their first of two rest days on Monday as the Tour travels to Oberstdorf, Germany for the next two stages – a skiathlon and a 15-kilometre skate-ski pursuit.
“The skiathlon is my favourite race. There are lots intermediate sprints so I’ll try to play for these bonuses and hold my position,” said Harvey.
Modeled after the Tour de France in cycling, the 11th annual Tour de Ski wraps up in Val di Fiemme, Italy on January 8. One of the featured events on the Nordic calendar tests some of the most physically and mentally fit athletes in the world to determine the king and queen of cross-country skiing when they cross the finish line of the Tour, ending with a 425-metre climb to the top of Alpe Cermis.
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:
- Sergey Ustiugov, RUS, 24:50.0; 2. Martin Johnsrud Sundby, NOR, 24:51.9; 3. Didrik Toenseth, NOR, 24:52.3; 4. Sjur Roethe, NOR, 24:53.3; 5. Dario Cologna, SUI, SUI, 24:55.5
- Alex Harvey, Saint Ferreol les Neiges, Que., 24:57.0; 27. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 25:32.9; 33. Graeme Killick, Fort McMurray, Alta., 25:39.2; 38. Len Valjas, Toronto, 25:44.3.