Alex Harvey emptied the tank to post a sixth-place result in the 30-kilometre skiathlon at the World Nordic Skiing Championships in Seefeld, Austria on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Harvey battled through warm temperatures and a challenging classic-ski portion of the race to post a time of 1:11:20.7.
The skiathlon combines 15 kilometres of cross-country skiing in the classic-ski format followed by 15 more kilometres of skate-skiing. Athletes enter a transition area to exchange equipment between the two legs with the clock still running.
“It was two very distinct phases of the race today. I expected a hard pace right from the gun, but the classic course was on the harder side today,” said Harvey. “It is a bit weird. Normally when you are in the top-six you are in a mass start fighting for the podium until the end, but that wasn’t the case today. I was never really in the hunt.”
With a pack of nearly 10 skiers surging ahead of the field early in the race, Harvey grinded through the first 15 kilometres of the classic-ski portion of the race where he dropped to as far down in the pack as 20th. He made his way into 10th place by the time he entered the transition area.
“I missed the boat in the classic and the gap was made there. The equipment was great, but I just wasn’t skiing well and couldn’t create enough speed – especially on the flat part of the course,” said the three-time Olympian from St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. “The level is so high out here and I just haven’t been skiing classic well all year.”
A five-time World Championship medallist, Harvey picked up a handful of spots before the dust finally settled at the finish line.
“As soon as I clicked into the skate skis, I was feeling really good. I was skiing with a lot of big names, guys started popping a bit from the back and I was feeling really confident leading that group.
“The skiathlon is my favourite race. I will draw a lot of confidence from the skate today, but I am disappointed with the classic.”
A three-man battle for the medals ended in a sprint finish.
Norway’s Sjur Roethe finished on top with a time of 1:10:21.8. Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov skied to the silver at 1:10:21.9, while Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby clocked-in at 1:10:22.5 for the bronze.
Evan Palmer-Charrette, of Thunder Bay, Ont., placed 45th at 1:16:34.2. Toronto’s Scott Hill was 58th (1:20:20.6).
Two Canadian women skied into the top-40 in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon. Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., was 39th at 41:14.3. Cendrine Browne, of St-Jérôme, Que., placed 40th (41:19.7). Maya Macisaac-Jones, of Athabasca, Alta., finished 54th (45:47.9).
The Norwegians skied to the top-two spots on the women’s podium. Therese Johaug dusted the field to win the gold with a time of 36:54.5. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was 57.6 seconds off the leading pace at 37:52.1. Russia’s Natalia Nepryaeva claimed the bronze with a time of 37:53.2.