Tour de Ski: Alex Harvey moves up 3 spots in 7th stage

Canada's Alex Harvey moved up 3 spots in the overall standings after placing seventh in the seventh stage of the Tour de Ski in Cavalese, Italy on Saturday.

Canadian is in 12th place heading into last stage

Canadian Alex Harvey, seen above at a previous event, is competing in the Tour de Ski in Cavalese, Italy. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via The Associated Press)

Canada's Alex Harvey moved up 3 spots in the overall standings after placing seventh in the seventh stage of the Tour de Ski in Cavalese, Italy on Saturday. 

Martin Johnsrud Sundby all but clinched his third consecutive title, winning the penultimate stage to open up a seemingly insurmountable lead of nearly three minutes ahead of Norwegian teammate Petter Northug Jr.

Sundby clocked 39 minutes, 55.2 seconds in the 15-kilometre mass start classical race to finish 7.7 seconds ahead of Niklas Dryhaug of Norway.

Alexey Poltoranin of Norway finished third in the seventh stage, 12.6 behind, while Northug crossed only 17th, 51.4 back.

"I was much better today and I am back to enjoying the sport today," laughed Harvey, who finished in 37th place in the sixth stage on Friday.

"I was tired this morning for sure, but I'm happy to have the best stage of this year's Tour. Every time I put a bib on I want to be in the top-10 with the ultimate goal of being on the podium. So anytime you are in the top-10 it is satisfying."

After his 21st career World Cup win, Sundby will take a lead of 2 minutes, 51.5 seconds over Northug into Sunday's concluding climb up Mount Cermis.

"Every stage counts," said Sundby, who was only 23rd in the 15K in Oberstdorf, Germany, earlier this week. "I was so mad about that. I wanted to have revenge and I got it today."

Harvey, from St. Ferreol, Que., clocked a time of 40 minutes, 26.1 seconds on the day and his overall time is 3 hours, 22.21 minutes. 

Canadians Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw sit in 30th and 34th place respectively. 

In the women's race, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg increased her overall lead over Norwegian teammate Therese Johaug.

Heidi Weng, another Norwegian, won the 10-kilometre mass start classical race in 29 minutes, 16.3 seconds for the first World Cup win of her career after 37 podium results and 120 previous races.

Oestberg crossed second, a slim 0.8 seconds behind, and Johaug finished third, 6.2 back.

In the overall standings, Oestberg leads Johaug by 38.7 seconds.

Weng is third overall, 2:26.7 behind.

"It was another good day for me," Oestberg said. "I tried to be smart, tactical. Heidi was very fast in the last 200 metres [yards]. I am very proud to be on the podium on all of the Tour de Ski stages. I would not believe before the Tour I could lead before the last stage by almost 40 seconds."

Johaug won the Tour de Ski in 2014 and also has three other podium finishes, while Oestberg is seeking her first podium result.

"It will be [a] very tough race tomorrow," Johaug said. "I know Ingvild can be fast on the climbs, too. I have good memories about this hill but I have to have a good day tomorrow."

With files from CBC Sports and Cross Country Canada

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