Alex Harvey skied just two seconds short of his first World Cup podium of the season where he finished fourth on Saturday in Toblach, Italy.
Harvey put together the best distance race of his career on the Toblach trails, clocking a time of 30:12.8 in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start skate-ski race.
“It’s always bittersweet finishing in fourth. You always think about where you could have found a second here or there, but I did everything I could do today,” said the St-Férréol-les-Neiges, Que. native. “For this time of the year, I’m taking the positive from this for sure.”
It was the second fourth-place finish of the season for the 29-year-old Canuck who has consistently placed in the top-10 for much of the first half of the World Cup calendar.
“I have had personal bests on a lot of different venues this year so I’m really happy with where things are at,” said Harvey.
Forced to attack while kicking his race into gear out of the gate on the hard and fast three-lap course, Harvey charged through the flats and powered his way up the gradual terrain and two steep climbs for his best-career distance finish on the Toblach tracks.
“I have had some hard races here. A lot of the times when we come here it is in the middle of the Tour de Ski when I get a little tired, and then I’m able to bounce back,” said Harvey. “It is a great venue that has nice flow and gives you a mix of everything.
“You have to go out fast and be able to recover well in the downhills. It is hard to make up a lot of time on people later in the race. The leaders started behind me so the splits I got I knew I was leading at the time. I couldn’t have gone any faster today though.”
Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger set the time to beat at 29:58.8. Maurice Manificat, of France, skied to the silver medal at 30:09.4. Andrew Musgrave, of Great Britain, bested Harvey for the final spot on the podium with a third-place time of 30:10.3.
Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., was the next best Canadian finisher in 38th spot (31:20.9). Graeme Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., was 49th (31:46.6), while Russell Kennedy, of Canmore, Alta., was 60th (32:12.0), and Knute Johnsgaard, of Whitehorse, finished 85th (33:27.1).
Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, was the top Canadian woman in 51st (24:47.4). Cendrine Brown, of St-Jérôme, Que., skied to 55th at 25:01.0, while Dahria Beatty, of Whitehorse, was 69th at 25:45.0, and Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., was 77th (26:47.8).
Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla was the top woman on the day with a time of 22:40.1. The Norwegians grabbed the final two spots on the podium. Ragnhild Haga clocked the second-fastest time at 22:45.9, while Heidi Weng locked up the bronze medal with a time of 22:53.9.
The final World Cup race before the holiday break takes place Sunday in Toblach with pursuit races.