Haywood RACE Report: Alex Harvey 6th, Devon 19th at Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon

    December 3, 2017

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    The 2nd day of World Cup racing got underway in Lillehammer under ideal weather conditions, -5 deg. C. and sunny. Today's events were skiathlon competitions.

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    In the women's 15k race Sweden's Charlotte Kalla showed dominant form with an almost 20 second lead over Norway's Heidi Weng. Ragnhild Haga of Norway was 3rd. It was another good day for the U.S. with Jessica Diggins in 5th, Sadie Bjornsen 10th and with Kikkan Randall showing some distance prowess in 16th.

    Cendrine Browne led the way for Canada, with a strong skating effort, finishing 45th, but only a couple of positions off the Olympic qualifying standard of top 30, (counting 4 per nation). Emily Nishikawa was 49th and Katherine Stewart-Jones, who missed almost a month of training recently due to a concussion, struggled early on the tough course and withdrew around the 9k mark. Dahria Beatty did not enter, as she is focusing on sprint performances.

    Women's results

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    02.12.2017, Lillehammer, Norway (NOR): Cendrine Browne (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lillehammer (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    The men's 30k race got off to a fairly fast start, with Norway's Johannes Klaebo leading off quickly. Alex Harvey was following close, and the others behind, had to contend with a crush of bodies, in what quickly became a 3 track course.

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    For the Canadians, Devon who started 36th, managed to make up places early, moving to 25th after 1k, but Graeme Killick and the rest struggled to make up any of the gap to the leaders.

    After the first of 8 laps, Devon had moved to 19th, and by 5k, Alex was 7th in the top group with Devon having moved to 13th.

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    From around the 8th to 11k mark Devon was in and out of the lead, getting lots of TV time and showing that he shouldn't be counted out in any classic races this year.

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    2 Canadians in the top 4 at 8k.

    Around the 12k mark, Devon faded back off the front, with Norway's Hans Christer Holund, Martin Sundby and Simon Krueger all taking turns at the lead. Alex was tucked in comfortably with the top group. Klaebo the star of the World Cup circuit so far this year, was back around 17th position but less than 10 seconds off the front.

    At the halfway mark, Iivo Niskanen of Finland was leading, with Alex back in 14th with Klaebo, and 30 seconds later Devon came through in 18th.

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    02.12.2017, Lillehammer, Norway (NOR): Haavard Solaas Taugboel (NOR), Alex Harvey (CAN), Even Northug (NOR), Paal Troean Aune (NOR), Maurice Manificat (FRA), (l-r) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lillehammer (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    The 2nd half of the race saw Maurice Manificat of France set much of the pace and Alex retained his position around the top 6.

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    It was the last major climb where the podium positions were pretty much decided. Martin Sundby of Norway decided to make his move there, knowing he didn't quite have the same sprinting power as many of his rivals. Sundby made a fair gap on the group, with Klaebo making his own move to chase and Alex was unable to keep up with the break.

    As they entered the stadium, Klaebo skied easily past Sundby, to record a record 5th win in a row to start the season. Sundby was 2nd and Holund was 3rd. Alex finished 6th, just behind Manificat.

    Devon had a good skating leg, and came through in 19th overall, edging out the U.S. skier Erik Bjornsen at the line. Eric is the brother of the women's 10th place finisher, Sadie.

    Russell Kennedy was 53rd, Graeme Killick 54th and Knute Johnsgaard 60th.

    Men's results


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    26.11.2017, Ruka, Finland (FIN): Devon Kershaw (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, pursuit men, Ruka (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

    For coach Ivan Babikov it was another strong early season performance for Alex and Devon, with the other racers showing some progress in a deep field, indicating that the program is still on track for results when it counts the most, in February.

    Alex's result today, leaves him in 5th on the overall World Cup Standings and Devon 28th. In an interview after the race Alex expressed satisfaction with the result, having been aiming for a top 10. These races are still really a training opportunity for the important races at the Olympics in February. It will be interesting to see what strategies Klaebo may have over the next few weeks and how well he will hold his form for Korea.

    The Canadian Team now head to Switzerland, for next weekend's World Cups in Davos, that feature skate sprints and short distance races.



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