Canada's Alex Harvey won the silver medal in the men's cross-country sprint Thursday at the Nordic skiing world championships.

Harvey was edged by Petter Northug in a photo finish when the Norwegian stretched out his ski to win gold.

It was Northug's 10th career world title but first in an individual sprint. He had a gap on Harvey entering the final stretch of the classical-style race, but Harvey, from St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., had the stronger finish over the last 50 metres, forcing the Norwegian to lunge forward at the line to hold off his rival.

“I was there with him in the end, and just couldn’t get around him,” said Harvey. “I thought I was going to get him. I am happy with the silver today and really looking forward to the rest of the week.”

Olympic champion Ola Vigen Hattestad of Norway took bronze after beating Nikita Kriukov of Russia in a similar photo finish.

Len Valjas of Toronto had a solid race with a 14th-place finish, while Jesse Cockney, of Canmore, Alta., was 49th.

Harvey said he likes competing on the track in Falun, Sweden, where he's also won five World Cup medals.

“The course is so hard and it requires sustained work, and I just enjoy racing her," Harvey said. "I’m really excited. It was a great day for me and our entire team.”

Earlier, Marit Bjoergen of Norway won the women's sprint.

With files from