• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Haywood RACE Report: Harvey Top Canadian in 7th at the World Championships Sprint

      February 24, 2011

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      In the women's quarter final Dasha Gaiazova and Perianne Jones were drawn in the same round and competed well in a heat won by Hanna Falk of Sweden. Dasha finished a close 4th in the heat, .2 seconds from a "lucky loser position" in the semi finals, while Perianne Jones was 6th, 2 seconds off the lead with Silvana Bucher of Switzerland.

      Chandra Crawford was drawn with Falla of Norway and Kowalczyk of Poland. Off the start Chandra moved into 2nd place behind Falla, skiing comfortably near the front. In a continuing story of the sprints, Falla stumbled about half way through allowing Chandra to move to the front with Laure Barthelemy of France.

      With about 300 metres to go, Chandra was still in command at the front when her ski tangled with Kowalczyk and spinning her around on the course and ending her dreams of moving to the semis. 

      Kikkan Randall also was unfortunate having a similar problem to Crawford and failed to advance, while Marit Bjoergen captured the win.

      Dasha Gaiazova was the top Canadian in 20th, as Chandra finished 28th and Perianne was 29th.

      Len Valjas had a tough quarterfinal group with the first qualifier Jesper Modin and Petter Northug among his competition on the 1480 metre course.  The heat didn't start well as Len stumbled at the start, but managed to catch back onto the pack in the early stages. Jesper Modin was in the lead 2/3rds of the way through when Petter Northug attacked and the top 4 including Valjas set up for the sprint to the finish.

      Valjas had a great finishing sprint but came up a bit short as Modin won, Northug was .3 back and .1 more seconds back Valjas and Hofer crossed the finish line together. Unfortunately the pace in the heat was not fast enough for either Valjas or Hofer to move on to the next round.

      Alex Harvey's heat featured Swedish star Emil Joensson and Anders Gloeersen of Norway. Alex skied conservatively through most of the race, usually in third behind Gloeersen and Joensson who skied side by side. In the final turn to the stadium Alex tried to make a move around Gloeersen but was blocked out of the way as the final stretch approached.

      Witha 100 metres to go Alex moved to the outside and found a clear section of track, where he turned on the afterburners for the drive to the line. Harvey showed he is in excellent form as he caught up to and passed Gloeersen and in a lunge to the finish was narrowly edged out by Joensson to qualify for the semis.

      In the semis, Alex was drawn into what could be considered the weaker heat with Hellner and Joensson of Sweden and the US's Andy Newell the main competition.

      Once again Alex skied conservatively, tucked in behind the leaders, with the Swedes and Newell
      setting the pace. As the skiers headed to the stadium, Harvey needed to take an outside line on a corner in order to get a clear line to the front, a move that cost him some time and allowed the 2 Swedes to gain a gap in the final few hundred metres. Hellner was first.

      Harvey's speed managed to close the gap to a few metres at the finish but it was not enough to gain a place in the final as the 2 "lucky losers" came from the first and faster heat. The winner was Marcus Hellner with a dominating performance as Harvey finished 7th and Valjas 15th.

      All in all it was a good start but a bit of an unfortunate finish to the Canadian's day of competition.  Luck didn't seem to be on our side (or the North American side) but early indications are that the Canadian sprinters are in good form, which bodes well for the team sprint competition. 

      Mens results:
      http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=17533

      Women's results:
      http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=17531

      FIS and CCC press releases and updates to follow.