Haywood Report: Alex Harvey battles to 3rd on the final stage of the Tour de Ski

    January 7, 2018

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    The final stage of the Tour de Ski was a 9k skate, pursuit race up the Alpe de Cermis.

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    Basically 6 k of rolling/downhill terrain and then 3 k of steep climbing.

    In the women's race Heidi Weng of Norway started close together with her teammate Ingvild Oestberg, before dropping her on the climb, and gaining a 48 second lead at the finish. It was a good day for the U.S. as Jessie Diggins made up a 10 second gap and passed Finland's Krista Parmakoski to finish 3rd. It was the first U.S. podium on the overall Tour De Ski.

    Results


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    07.01.2018, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA): Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Jessica Diggins (USA), (l-r) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb women, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    The big news on the men's side was the withdrawal of Russia's Sergey Ustiugov, due to back issues resulting from his falls in stage 5. As a result Alex would start in 3rd place, 8 seconds behind Kazakhstan's Alexey Poltoranin and 1:23 behind the leader Dario Cologna of Switzerland. Not too far behind, 15 seconds or so, were Martin Sundby of Norway and Alexey Bolshunov of Russia, both who struggled in the Saturday stage of the Tour.

    Alex would likely have skied with Ustiugov for the first half of the race, since they started 1 second apart, and they may have worked together to catch Poltoranin. It would be interesting to see if there would be a change of tactics as on Saturday Alex stated his intention was to ski fairly strongly on the first part of the course and then to give everything on the final climb. With Ustiugov gone will  Alex look to close the 8 second gap to Poltoranin on the flatter sections.

    Early in the race it became clear that Alex was going to hunt down Poltoranin. At the 1.8k mark he was 4 seconds behind and he had caught him at the 4k mark. Alex had also made up 4 or 5 seconds on the leader Dario Cologna. At that point Sundby and Bolshunov were skiing together, and the gap behind hadn't changed much.

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    As they climbed the hill at 6.2 k, Sundby and Bolshunov were closing the gap.

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    By 8k there was 4 skiers fighting for 2nd with Alex in the lead. Dario Cologna was at the front cruising to victory

    With 500 metres left Sundby had taken over the lead and Bolshunov had been gapped. Poltoranin was struggling a bit in 4th.  

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    Alex made one last attempt to move into 2nd on a flatter section just before the finish, but Sundby was able to respond and claim 2nd with Alex 3rd.





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    Stage 7 Results
    Overall Results


    Dario Cologna's win gives him 4 Tour de Ski titles, while Alex is the first non-European male to gain an overall podium. Alex surpasses Devon Kershaw's 4th place finish in the 2012 Tour.

    Alex was the 6th fastest skier on the day with Sundby posting the top time. Alex moves into 3rd in the overall World Cup standings 8 points ahead of Johannes Klaebo.

    Now it is time to rest and recover for Pyeongchang, with Alex seemingly in great form for top results in the races a little over 30 days away.

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    07.01.2018, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA): Alex Harvey (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb men, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    Congratulations also to the coaches, support staff and sponsors, who have all contributed to today's great performance and helped Alex along the way.

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    07.01.2018, Val di Fiemme, Italy (ITA): Alex Harvey (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, final climb men, Val di Fiemme (ITA). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    Earlier today Emily Nishikawa placed 8th in a Scandinavian Cup 20k, mass start, classic race in Piteaa, Sweden. The race was won by 21 year old Johanna Matintalo of Finland, 1 second ahead of Swedish star Charlotte Kalla. Graeme Killick finished 19th in the 30k event, with Petter Northug 48th...
    Results

    Up next on the race radar, Monday's skiathlon competitions from Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec and the Haywood NorAm, World Jr./U23 Championship trials.

    Of note re Olympic selection:  Athletes who have met the qualifying criteria within CCC’s Internal Nomination Procedures will be submitted for nomination to the COC Jan.21 based on our FIS quota at that time. In other words at this time there are no athletes that have been named to the Olympic Team (though Alex probably has a good chance!) and there is a need to await FIS's decision on the final quota allocated to Canada and COC's acceptance of nominations.

    Follow the race circuits and National Ski Teams on the CCC website, TwitterFacebookInstagram.
     





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