Emily Nishikawa enjoyed the best day of her World Cup career with a 23rd place finish in the 10-kilometre individual start classic-ski race in Davos, Switzerland.
Taking advantage of glorious conditions in Davos, the 29-year-old Whitehorse skier hammered the pace to post a time of 27:54.5.
“It feels amazing to have one of the best performances of my career today. I am thrilled,” said Nishikawa. “I have been outside of the top-30 for a long time, and to breakthrough today felt great.”
The two-time Olympian was in 11th place at the midway point of the race but started falling off the pace in the final lap ending up in 23rd in a tight race that saw her just seven seconds out of the top-15. She also had a 23rd place finish in 2015 in Lahti, Finland in the same event.
“The course here is one of my favourites. It is very gradual terrain working up to the top, then gradual back down to the stadium,” added Nishikawa. “It is a very hard course with so many working sections. I was confident about this race. I have raced well here before, and I have been feeling good these last few weeks. I am really happy to have everything come together and have a great day.”
Norway’s Therese Johaug led wire-to-wire, setting a golden pace of 26:06.9. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, also of Norway, was second at 26:19.0, while Finland’s Krista Parmakoski skied to the bronze medal with a time of 26:26.1
Cendrine Browne, of Saint-Jérôme, Que., was 44th (28:35.7).
Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was the top Canadian in the men’s 15-kilometre classic-ski race. The 30-year-old Harvey started slow out of the gate before making his way into 26th spot where he finished with a time of 36:53.4.
Russia’s Evgeniy Belov won the final World Cup race before the holiday break with a time of 35:52.5. Maurice Manificat, of France, claimed the silver at 35:53.4. Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third at 35:57.0.
Toronto’s Len Valjas finished 62nd (38:05.7). Andy Shields, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 76th (38:44.5).
The world’s best Nordic athletes will be back on the start line December 29 for the first stage of the prestigious Tour de Ski.