Alex Harvey Battles to Bronze at Cross Country Skiing World Cup in Norway

    November 30, 2018

    LILLEHAMMER, Nor.—Alex Harvey sprinted to his first World Cup cross-country ski podium of the young season, winning the bronze medal on Friday in Lillehammer, Norway.
     
    It is the earliest in the World Cup season the 30-year-old Harvey has ever reached the sprint podium in his 10-year career.
     
    “It is always fun to be on the podium no matter when you do it, but to do it early in the season is a bit of a pressure reliever,” said Harvey. “This tells me I did the right things this summer and is a nice confidence booster to know you are still in the game because there always questions marks in cross-country skiing when you start the season.”
     
    It was the 30th World Cup medal of the three-time Olympian’s career.
     
    “When I came out on the team, we would win one or two medals a year. None of us thought any of us could have a handful of podiums in one season like many of us have done,” added Harvey, who also has five World Championship medals to his credit.
     
    “For me to break the 30 mark is not something I ever dreamed of – it just seemed too far out of reach. It takes a lot of people to get on a podium any week, and especially 30 times so the credit goes to a lot of people.”
     
    After qualifying for the round of 30 in the head-to-head heats in 17th spot, Harvey exercised his trademark tactic of conserving energy before darting past the pack up the final hill and into the stadium to handily win his quarter-final heat. With the top-two athletes in each heat, along with the next two fastest times overall, advancing to the next round, the St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. native lined up against a stellar string of cross-country ski skate sprinters in his semifinal round.
     
    With Norway’s Sindre Skar and Emil Iverson darting ahead of the six-man pack early in the 1.6-kilometre loop of the Lillehammer stadium, Harvey was in an all-out war with the rest of the group in a lightning-quick heat. Crossing the finish line in fourth spot, it appeared the veteran of the Canadian squad’s day was done, but fortunately he secured a ticket into the final after grabbing one of the two lucky loser spots.
     
    “I’m just not fast enough off the start and the quarter-final was a bit of a scrappy heat so I decided to chill at the back and let the other guys cut each other up, save my energy until the last big climb and then make my move. It is a really big, high-speed finish. I had great skis and speed and was able to push hard in both heats,” said Harvey.
     
    Harvey played his tactics different in the final, staying near the front of the group for the first half of the race with Norway’s Iversen. With Italy’s Federico Pellegrino pushing the pace out front and comfortably skiing to the gold medal, Harvey turned on the jets while descending off the final hill into the finish stretch of the stadium, moving up from fourth to jump onto the final step of the podium just .7 seconds from the win.
     
    “I was able to be more up front and stay out of trouble in the beginning. I don’t feel like I did anything different off the start but maybe the true sprinters were a bit more tired in the final,” said Harvey. “It was great to share this podium with the whole team. The wax techs always work so hard, but today the rain was coming down and they were just drenched. They worked so hard for this one running around in the rain to make sure I had great skis so I’m really happy to be able to give them this result.”
     
    Norway’s Iversen topped Harvey for the silver medal.
     
    Two other Canadians also hit the start line in Norway but did not qualify for the heats. Andy Shields, of Thunder Bay, Ont., finished in 60th. Russell Kennedy, of Canmore, Alta., was 64th. No Canadians competed in the women’s race.
     
     
    The World Cup continues throughout the weekend in Lillehammer, Norway with a 10 kilometre skate-ski race set for Saturday that will be live streamed on CBC.ca. The weekend will wrap up with a 15 kilometre classic-ski pursuit race on Sunday.
     
    CCC 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 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.