Alex Harvey has best race of season, but laments 'missed opportunity' at reaching podium
Canadian cross-country skier finishes 7th in 15km mass start
Canadian Alex Harvey earned a season-best seventh-place finish, but feels he missed a great chance to register his first podium finish of the World Cup cross-country ski season in La Clusaz, France on Saturday.
Harvey, 28, of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., stood fifth on the third of eight laps in the 15-kilometre skate-ski mass start before crashing. He fell back to 26th spot on the narrow two-kilometre loop made entirely from man-made snow.
"There is no snow at all in Europe so they actually cut blocks of ice from a lake to create a base on the track and put snow on it so the corners were icy," he said. "We are used to that, but I just lost my focus for a bit and crashed on my own.
"The hardest lap was the one right after. When you crash you are super tense, but I was able to recover and get back into relaxed mode. The course was super narrow so it was hard to pass. I slowly made my way up to the front. I felt really good, but I think it was a missed opportunity today."
Harvey rallied to finish in 34 minutes 35.3 seconds in warm conditions.
"My shape is good and really steady," he said. "I was really hoping for a breakthrough today.
"The skis were great and I love this format, but once I fell that was the race. By the time I got back near the front, four guys broke away from the field. I'm a little disappointed with myself."
Norway's Finn Haagen Krogh nipped compatriot Martin Johnsrud Sundby at the finish line to capture the gold medal in 34:09.3. Sundby's time was 34:09.6 while Russian Alexander Legkov took third in 34:12.4.
Knute Johnsgaard, of Whitehorse, was the only other Canadian to finish, placing 63rd in 37:59.4. Devon Kershaw of Sudbury withdrew during the race due to illness while Andy Shields, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was lapped.
Dahria Beatty, 22, of Whitehorse, was 26th in the women's 10-kilometre race in 25:22.2. Cendrine Browne, of St-Jerome, Que., was 41st in 26:15.8 while Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, was 48th in 26:35.9.