Canada's Kershaw 2nd at Tour de Ski

Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk won Saturday's second stage of the cross-country World Cup's annual Tour de Ski. Cologna edged Devon Kershaw of Canada, who had the fastest time of the day with 39 minutes, 56.3 seconds, by 5.5 seconds in the overall standings.

Sudbury skier moves from 37th to second overall

Cross-country skier Devon Kershaw of Canada rang in 2011 with a silver medal in the second stage of the Tour de Ski in Oberhof, Germany, on Satuday.

This medal marks Kershaw's fourth World Cup podium finish in his nine-year career.

"I am absolutely happy," said the Sudbury, Ont., native. "That was one of the better races I have done, if not the best of my career.

"It means so much to me to get back on the World Cup podium. I know I'm there and I believe I am one of the best skiers in the world when things come together."

Kershaw is in a good position to prove that now.

The 28-year old finished the 15-kilometre cross-country ski race in 39 minutes 56.3 seconds — the fastest time of the day — putting him at 47 minutes 48.6 seconds overall, just 5.5 seconds behind Dario Cologna of Switzerland heading into the third stage of the race.

But he knows there is more to the Tour de Ski than athletics.

"It has been hammered into me for so long to be patient and don't go crazy," Kershaw said. "The men's races are quite tactical. I got to the front today and said there is no way I'm going to let people back in."

Missed Olympic medal

That determined mindset may well have come from finishing in fourth, just fractions of a second out of medal position, in the 50-kilometre race at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Kershaw overcame a 32-second gap in the first five kilometres of the second stage after a disappointing 37th-place finish in the opening race.

He wasn't the only Canadian who made up time in this race. Alex Harvey of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., posted the eighth-fastest time of the day to finish in ninth spot overall at 47 minutes 57.2 seconds.

Harvey led the way for Canadians on Friday, finishing 18th in the opening stage.

Ivan Babikov, the two-time Olympian, also made up time after a 45th-place finish Friday. He now sits in the 32nd spot overall with a combined time of 48 minutes 37.2 seconds.

"I may have finished second today, but it was such a great day for our entire team," Kershaw said. "Alex is only 22 and he finished in the top 10. When I was 22, I would have been happy to finish 22nd.

"It is amazing what he is doing, and with Ivan you know the results are going to come because he is so strong."

The Tour de Ski is a 10-day event, so there are lots of kilometres yet to race.

"This thing is long. It's a long haul. It's legit and it is hard," Kershaw said. "I know I'll celebrate when I get home with my friends, but right now you can't get down over a bad race or too excited with a podium.

"Tomorrow is a new day and you have to find a way to be ready."

Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk won the second stage for the women and sits first overall. Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland made a move from 10th place to finish second, 27.5 seconds behind, and Italy's Marianna Longa finished 30.5 seconds back in third.

There are no Canadian women entered in the event.

The Tour continues Sunday with classical sprints in Oberstdorf, Germany. The competition includes eight races in 10 days in five locations in Germany and Italy.