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Canada's Kershaw just off podium in Tour de Ski

Canadian cross-country skier Devon Kershaw narrowly missed the podium in Thursday's 35-kilometre freestyle pursuit race in the Tour de Ski in Italy, finishing fourth behind winner and overall leader Dario Cologna of Switzerland.
Devon Kershaw, far right, pushes for the finish line in a clump of skiers including second-place finisher Petter Northung, second from right, and Alexander Legkov, centre, who was third. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian Devon Kershaw just missed a podium finish Thursday at the Tour de Ski cross-country event.

The skier from Sudbury, Ont., was fourth in the seventh-stage race, a demanding 35-kilometre event. He posted a time of one hour 10 minutes 42 seconds, finishing just behind Norway Petter Northug (second in 1:10:41.0) and Russian Alexander Legkov (third in 1:10:41.6.).

"This is a race I have been thinking about all year," Kershaw said. "This is probably the best ski race I have ever had.

"I couldn't have imagined to have skied this strong."

Defending champion Dario Cologna of Switzerland won the event in 1:09.25.2. Cologna, who won the first of his two Tour titles in 2009, leads Norwegian rival Petter Northug by more than 1:20 in the overall standings with two stages remaining.

Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was ninth in 1:12:18.0.

Marit Bjoergen of Norway won her fourth consecutive stage by taking the 15-kilometre women's pursuit, beating Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland by 2.0 seconds.

Bjoergen, who holds a seven-second lead over Kowalczyk in the overall standings, is attempting to become the first Norwegian — man or woman — to win the Tour.

"I really hope so," said Bjoergen, a three-time Olympic champion. "That's my goal also, but there's a really hard day Saturday and then Sunday also."

With files from CBCSports.ca

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