Video and Interviews with Alex Harvey - below
VAL DI FIEMME, Ita.— Alex Harvey captured Canada’s first podium finish in the penultimate stage of the nine-race Tour de Ski, finishing second on Saturday in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
The 23-year-old Canadian cross-country ski phenom captured the fourth World Cup medal in his young three-year career after completing the 20-kilometre classic-ski race with a time of one hour, 3.3 seconds (1:00:03.3). Harvey won two bronze medals in his rookie year in 2009, along with one silver last season in addition to his World Championship title in 2011 with teammate Devon Kershaw.
“I knew the shape was good all along the Tour, but there was always a little part of the whole equation lacking, but today everything finally connected together,” said Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., who also has two sixth-place finishes on this year’s Tour. “My skis were so fast today and I’m really happy to be on the podium.”
Working at the front of the pack with teammate Devon Kershaw up and down the punishing hills of the spectacular Val di Fiemme track, the 2010 Olympian executed his tactics to perfection before making his move down the final plunge into the stadium where he double-poled his way to the podium.
“My skis were just so good and I knew coming in the final downhill when I started double poling that I had a chance at the podium,” said Harvey. “This is a really hard course. Oslo was the benchmark for difficulty last year, but I think Val di Fiemme raised the bar further with the most climbing you do on the World Cup. These are really steep hills and high speed in the down hills. There is lots of double poling so you need to be an all-around skier here.”
“With the skis he had today I wasn’t worried about his double poling. He came down the last downhill in second position, and held off Cologna and Northug which is not easy to do so it shows he is one of the best double-polers in the world,” said Justin Wadsworth, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “It was a big day for Alex and Devon. They really came through with a lot of bonus seconds, and to have Alex breakthrough at the finish line is a great day for the entire program.”
Norway’s Eldar Roenning posted the time-to-beat at 1:00:02.2. Switzerland’s Dario Cologna rounded out the top-three in third with a time of 1:00:03.5.
Canada’s Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., had another solid outing, finishing sixth with a time of 1:00:05.4. Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., was 32nd (1:02:20.7).
The silver medal was a Canadian team effort. Within minutes after learning that Harvey was experiencing a tight back, calves and hamstrings following the seventh stage, head coach Justin Wadsworth made a quick decision on Thursday to fly the team’s physiotherapist, Shayne Hutchins, to Val di Fiemme from Calgary to spend the rest day preparing the young Canuck for the grueling final weekend of the Tour.
“Justin flew Shayne in yesterday and drove 10 hours in the worst snow storm he has ever seen to pick him up in Munich and drive him to Val di Fiemme,” said Harvey. “I had two hours with him last night and 30 minutes again this morning. I’m really glad he could make the trip. That’s how our team works. We play it day-by-day and if we need something Justin makes it happen.”
With only the final and most challenging stage remaining in the nine-race Tour-de Ski – a nine-kilometre pursuit, which culminates with a four-kilometre climb up Alpe Cermis – the move to bring Hutchins in bolted Harvey to within fighting distance for a spot on the overall podium, sitting in sixth spot. Kershaw will start just ahead of his World Cup comrade. The veteran of the Canadian men’s team is just over two minutes off the leader, Dario Cologna, in fourth.
“It is looking good overall and a podium is a possibility tomorrow,” said Wadsworth. “The guys are top six and in good position I think. Anything can happen tomorrow so I hope we get a podium.”
For complete information on the Tour de Ski, please visit www.fiscrosscountry.com
on the Internet.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Teck Resources Ltd., Canadian Pacific, and Statoil – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com
Complete World Cup Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=30405
Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
1. Eldar Roenning, NOR, 1:00:02.2; 2. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., CAN, 1:00:03.3; 3. Dario Cologna, SUI, 1:00:03.5; 4. Petter Northug, NOR, 1:00:03.7; 5. Sergey Turychev, RUS, 1:00:04.5.
6. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 1:00:05.4; 32. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 1:02:20.7
Video interview with Alex Harvey