• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Hayood RACE Report: Alex Harvey 7th in Tour de Ski opening stage

      December 30, 2017

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      The Tour de Ski began today with skate sprints, in conditions that Canadian coach Ivan Babikov described as "like being in a snow globe".

       

      Feels like I’m in a snow globe! #Tourdeski 🌏❄️

      A post shared by Coach Babs (@coach_babs_) on


      In the qualifiers Alex Harvey finished 18th, about 5 seconds behind the top skier, Sergey Ustiugov of Russia. Devon Kershaw was 86th, proving once again that skate sprints are not his strength.

      Men's qualifying

      On the women's side Ingvild Oestberg of Norway was the top skier, with 5 U.S. skiers in the top 30. It was a little bit of a surprise that Kikkan Randall was not one of those qualifiers in a skate sprint.

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      30.12.2017, Lenzerheide, Switzerland (SUI): Alex Harvey (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, individual sprint, Lenzerheide (SUI). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

      Alex skied in the last quarterfinal, with the 2 British Andrews, Young and Musgrave, also in his heat. Switzerland's Roman Furger, the 4th qualifier, was expected to be the main competition in a heat where there could be some expectation that the snow speed could be the fastest.

      Alex skied at the back for the first part of his quarter-final. He made a strong move on the second major climb, to get into the lead and comfortably cross the finish line in first. He received a verbal warning for a bit of obstruction as he was making his way to the front.



      In the semi-finals the race was much different tactically than the first one. The pace off the start was relatively slow, with Switzerland's Jovian Hediger taking the initial lead and Alex skiing near the front. As the race progressed it was the French skiers Chanavat and Jouve that pushed the pace and Alex stuck with them as they approached the final straight.

      Alex ended up on the outside of Jouve and just behind Chanavat as they approached the finish, looking to nip into a qualifying spot. Unfortunately it was not to be, as Jouve made a last second lunge to beat Alex at the line by a few centimetres, and knock him out of the finals.



      Russia's Sergey Ustiugov, the top qualifier, prevailed in the final over Italy's Federico Pellegrino, with Chanavat 3rd.

      In the women's race Laurien Van Der Graaff of Switzerland claimed her first World Cup win over the U.S.'s Sophie Caldwell and Norway's Maiken Falla.

      Women's results

      Alex finished in 7th overall. With 3 pretty much "pure sprinters" ahead of him, it looks to be a solid start for him in the Tour. As he has pointed out previously, a good day on the Tour, can't necessarily win it for you, but a bad day can lose it.

      Harvey30122017fm131.jpg
      30.12.2017, Lenzerheide, Switzerland (SUI): Alex Harvey (CAN) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, individual sprint, Lenzerheide (SUI). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

      Alex appeared to be in good form, and a little unlucky not to advance to the finals, so he and definitely Devon will be looking forward to Sunday's classic race.
      Men's heat progression
      Men's results

      Alex is ranked 7th on the Tour after the first stage, 33 seconds behind Ustiugov who is an early favourite for the Tour title.  On the overall World Cup standings Alex is now ranked 5th, 1 point ahead of Norway's Martin Sundby.

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