Canada's Babikov golden in cross-country pursuit
Becomes second Canadian male to win a World Cup cross-country ski race
Canada's Ivan Babikov won the seventh and last leg of the men's cross-country Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Sunday.
Babikov's first World Cup win makes him the second Canadian male to ever win a World Cup cross-country ski race. The only other Canadian skier to pull off the feat was three-time winner Pierre Harvey.
Babikov clinched the gold after winning the men's 11-kilometre pursuit in 33 minutes 51.2 seconds. The pursuit, which ends with a 425-metre climb to the finish line at the top of Alpe Cermis, was the final event of the nine-day series.
"I am so thrilled and totally couldn't believe it when I was standing on top of the podium," said Babikov following the awards ceremony.
Fought through illness
He added that an illness almost kept him out of the race. "Our entire men's team has been sick and yesterday was so hard for us, but I have been looking forward to this uphill climb all year and told myself to pass as many skiers as I could today."
Babikov's previous best finish was a fourth-place result at the Alberta World Cup in Canmore, Alta., in 2005.
"A World Cup win is something you dream of," said Babikov.
"Our team has been so strong throughout this tour and I am just so happy to be a part of a great team. I have been waiting for this final day and glad it happened."
Sara Renner was the only Canadian to start and finish the women's race. The Canmore, Alta., native finished 15th overall after a 22nd-place finish in the women's nine-kilometre pursuit on Sunday.
With files from the Associated Press