• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Haywood RACE Report: Alex Harvey 5th in Tour de Ski Stage 5

      January 4, 2018

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      Stage 5 of the Tour de Ski saw some pretty dreary weather, as the athletes prepared for the 15k skate, mass start.

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      The race was 7 laps of a 2k course, with really only 1 hill of significance that was used for bonus second timing station. Conditions were very wet and slushy, which combined with lack of hills to spread out the pack, meant there was lots of falls and broken poles on the course.

      The 2 Russian leaders, Sergey Ustiugov and Alexander Bolshunov, fell victim to some of carnage, which in the end allowed Alex to strengthen his position among the Tour leaders. It was a day for the agile, smart and the lucky.

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      Off the start Bolshunov and Ustiugov set the early pace along with teammate Alexey Chervotkin. Alex hung in fairly comfortably near the front, avoiding the some of the challenges of racing the main slushy downhills in a massive pack of skiers.

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      The first major action, aside from a few falls, was the sprint for bonus seconds at 3.6 k.  Alex gained 6 seconds after coming through 5th at the timing point. Martin Sundby of Norway and Dario Cologna of Switzerland were 1st and 2nd through the timing station, to build on their lead at the front of the Tour.

      The sprint for bonus seconds seemed to take it's toll on Alex, who dropped back from the front as the race progressed. He had however made up ground on Ustiugov, Bolshunov and Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan, who were close to him in the overall standings.

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      04.01.2018, Oberstdorf, Germany (GER): Dominik Baldauf (AUT), Alex Harvey (CAN), (l-r) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, mass men, Oberstdorf (GER). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus

      At the 2nd timing station at 7.8k Alex didn't challenge at the front, skiing through in the pack at 30th. Dario Cologna added another 15 bonus seconds to his overall lead.

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      The pack remained quite large as the race progressed, with Alex keeping in contact with the front, and skiing smartly to remain on his feet. Some of the Norwegian athletes started to take the lead as the race progressed, including Emil Iversen, Sindre Skar and Finn Krogh. Cologna and Sundby continued to also stay close to the front of the field.

      There was still a large pack of 30 or more skiers, close together as they entered the stadium.

      Iversen, Skar and Francesco DeFabiani of Italy crossed the line, in that order one second apart to fill the podium positions. Alex came through in 5th, just behind the Tour leader Dario Cologna. Alex was at the front of a photo-finish, including Andrew Musgrave of Great Britain and Norway's Krogh. Martin Sundby of Norway, who is 3rd overall, finished just behind Alex at the line.

      Results

      All in all it was a good result for Alex who is still in 4th overall, but has made some progress against Ustiugov and Bolshunov. It was a bit unfortunate perhaps that there wasn't more vertical on the course, that could have stretched the field out some more. Missing out on the chance to do well in yesterday's cancelled sprint, one of his strengths, was also not ideal for Alex.

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      04.01.2018, Oberstdorf, Germany (GER): Calle Halfvarsson (SWE), Alex Harvey (CAN), Dario Cologna (SUI), Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR), Francesco De Fabiani (ITA), Jonas Dobler (GER), (l-r) - FIS world cup cross-country, tour de ski, mass men, Oberstdorf (GER). www.nordicfocus.com. © Modica/NordicFocus.

      The Tour now takes a rest day and travels to Val di Fiemme, Italy for the final 2 events on the weekend. Saturday's race is another mass start, a 15k classic event, in preparation for Sunday's finale up the Alpe de Cermis.

      Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the latest results from Mont Ste. Anne, the Haywood NorAm Olympic, World Junior & U23 trials.

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