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    • Devon Kershaw Finishes Fourth Overall in Killer Climb to Complete Tour de Ski

      January 9, 2012

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

      January 8, 2012

      Devon Kershaw Finishes Fourth Overall in Killer Climb to Complete Tour de Ski

      —Ivan Babikov posts 11th-fastest time to finish as top Canadian in final stage—

      VAL DI FIEMME, Ita. – After completing nine cross-country skiing races in all disciplines through five cities and two countries, Canada’s Devon Kershaw completed the epic journey just shy of the podium in fourth.

      Starting fourth, just over two minutes behind the leader Dario Cologna, in the final and most grueling stage of the Tour – a nine-kilometre pursuit with the final three kilometres straight up Alpe Cermis which features a 28 per cent hill grade, the 29-year-old Kershaw emptied the tank to post his best-ever overall finish on the Tour with a combined time of 4:35:26.6.

      “I don’t have many thoughts – I’m just exhausted,” said Kershaw, who clocked the 18th fastest time in the final stage at 31:46.8. “Fourth place is not something to be super disappointed about, but I’m not going to lie, I really wanted the podium today.”

      The Sudbury, Ont., native headed into the race with the goal of closing the gap on the leaders while starting alongside Sweden’s Marcus Hellner who was third. Kershaw and Hellner took their turns pushing the pace during the six-kilometre trek from the Val di Fiemme stadium to the base of Alpe Cermis where the Swede put on a surge, attackinh his way up the hill. After dropping Kershaw, Hellner passed Norway’s Northug mid-way up the final climb to finish second at 4:34:19.5. Northug hung on for third at 4:35.01.8.

      “500 metres into that hill it was just too much. It was a real battle today – a real struggle,” said Kershaw. “That hill is hell. It is really nothing short of hell. You got to try and find a rhythm, but it is hard to find a rhythm when there are pitches close to 30 per cent, and you are essentially just walking up a hill.”

      “Your legs are just screaming for a rest, and there is no rest to be found,” added Kershaw. “When Hellner got away from me, and then Northug is coming back to me and I just want to bury myself to catch Northug, but then I’m so terrified the guys behind are going to catch up to me. To be honest it is a horrible sensation. Horrible!”

      Switzerland’s Dario Cologna captured his third crown as the king of cross-country skiing after clocking an overall winning time of 4:33:17.2.

      Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., posted the 11th-fastest time in the final stage at 31:38.4 to finish 27th overall with a time of 4:43:20.8. Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., dropped back six spots to finish 12th overall at 4:38:02.3 after a challenging day on the final climb.

      Kershaw is the only Canadian to compete in each of the six editions of the Tour. The two-time Olympian solidified himself as one of the world’s best all-around skiers one year ago when he won a gold, two silver and a bronze to finish seventh at last year’s Tour.

      “It was a really good Tour, but I had a little bit of bad luck here and there,” said Kershaw, who was in the top-15 throughout the Tour with his best finish coming in the sixth stage – a 35-kilometre point-to-point race where he clocked the third fastest time.

      "It's hard because I've been fourth and fifth at the Olympics, and I'm now fourth here at the Tour de Ski,” said Kershaw. “I'm better this year, but I do believe I can be on the podium here and win this thing one day if everything comes together."

      Russia’s Alexander Legkov posted the fastest time climbing the mountain to win the ninth stage with a time of 30:38.2.

      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 Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=CC&event_id=30405

      Overall Tour de Ski Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
      1. Dario Cologna, SUI, 4:33:17.2; 2. Marcus Hellner, SWE, 4:34:19.5; 3. Petter Northug, NOR, 4:35:01.8; 4. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., CAN, 4:35:26.6; 5. Alexander Legkov, RUS, 4:36:16.3.

      Canadian Results:
      12. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., 4:38:02.3; 27. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 4:43:20.8

      Ninth Stage Top-Five Men and Canadian Results:
      1. Alexander Legkov, RUS, 30:38.2; 2. Maurice Manificat, FRA, 30:38.3; 3. Marcus Hellner, SWE, 30:39.9; 4.
      Roland Clara, ITA, 30:54.4; 5. Thomas Moriggl, ITA, 31:08.9.

      Canadian Results:
      11. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 31:38.4; 18. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 31:46.8; 40. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., 32:52.6.

      *****

      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
      Chris Dornan

      Media and Public Relations
      Cross Country Canada
      T: +43 676 700 5448 (During Tour de Ski Only December 28 – January 8)