Canada's Harvey places 5th in Tour de Ski
One day after Devon Kershaw's historic win, Alex Harvey finished with a solid fifth-place finish at the Tour de Ski event in Toblach, Italy, on Thursday.
The performance has Harvey in seventh place overall following the sixth stage of the eight-race competition.
Harvey, 22, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., completed the 35-kilometre event in a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 48.1 seconds.
"That was a good day for me. I felt really good and my goal was to move up the standings a bit," said Harvey. "I started on my own and worked together with [Petter] Northug as much as I could. I didn't want to get dropped on the climb and we worked well together in the group."
Swiss skier Dario Cologna kept his overall Tour lead after winning the sixth stage in 1:20:06.9. Sweden's Marcus Hellener finished second at 1:21:13.2, while Norway's Petter Northug rounded out the podium with a time of 1:21:46.8.
Kershaw became only the third Canadian to win a cross-country race with an exciting finish on Wednesday, joining the Pierre Harvey (1987 and '88) and Ivan Babikov (2009).
The Sudbury, Ont., skier remained in the pack to finish 10th on Thursday and dropped to 11th overall.
Harvey was part of five skiers in the chase group midway through race. Taking aim at the leaders, the group caught up to Kershaw at the 21-kilometre mark where a pack of 10 was formed for the final sprint to the finish. Losing time in the final two kilometres, the group gained speed down stretch before Harvey crossed the line in fifth spot.
Harvey said his performance was inspired by Kershaw's victory.
"Yes I was motivated by watching Devon," said Harvey from the team bus, which was travelling to Val di Fiemme for the final two races. "We saw Devon win a race and have three podiums. We know it is possible. Today I was right there myself and I know I can get on the podium too."
Harvey and Kershaw head into the final weekend of the grueling 10-day Tour de Ski in good position. The event has the top cross-country skiers competing in eight races at five venues in Germany and Italy.
A 20-kilometre classic ski race remains for Saturday, followed by a grueling 10-kilometre climb up Alpe Cermis to mark the final stage on Sunday.
"That was a strong day for Alex and Devon," said Canadian head coach Justin Wadsworth, who added both athletes have gas left in the tank and are anxious for Saturday's race.
"Devon had to ski on his own for a big part of the race so you just don't want to blow up out there. They will be looking to put it all out there on Saturday and are in a good place."
With files from Cross Country Canada