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Canada's Alex Harvey was poised to advance to the final until a Swiss skier stepped on his pole, dropping the 22-year-old back into seventh spot. ((Philippe Montigny/Getty Images))

A broken ski pole knocked Canada's Alex Harvey out of medal contention in the men's sprint Thursday at the nordic world championships.

Harvey was poised to advance to the final until a Swiss skier stepped on his pole, dropping the 22-year-old back into seventh spot.

"I am kind of disappointed. I felt really good and wanted to be in that final," said the St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., native. "The good thing is I know my shape is there and my best shots for medals are in the distance races still to come."

Two-time Olympic champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden held off home favourite Petter Northug to win the 1.5-kilometre race in two minutes 57.4 seconds.

Northug, who has won four gold medals at previous world championships, finished 0.6 seconds behind. Swedish sprint specialist Emil Joensson was third, 1.1 seconds back.

Dario Cologna of Switzerland, who tops the overall World Cup standings, was knocked out at the semifinal stage. Toronto's Len Valjas dropped out in the quarter-finals.