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