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    • Alex Harvey Kicks Off World Nordic Ski Championships in 16th

      February 21, 2019

      SEEFELD, Aut.—Alex Harvey kicked off the final World Nordic Ski Championships of his illustrious career with a 16th-place finish in the cross-country skate-ski sprint race on Thursday.
       
      It was the best sprint result for the 30-year-old from St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. in the last three months.
       
      “It was a good start today and the body felt really good,” said Harvey. “I just wanted to come in today and get some good feelings heading into the rest of the championships. I did that so I’m happy.”
       
      Harvey put down one of his fastest qualifiers of the season, clocking the 18th-best time on the 1.6-kilometre track that featured a long gradual climb out of the gate before leading athletes up a steep climb and fast downhill before winding back into the stadium for the finish.
       
      Heading into the head-to-head heats with the fastest 30 athletes in the qualifying round, Harvey put up a strong fight in the quarter-final round but was not able to advance to the semis after crossing the line in fourth place. Only the top two athletes in each heat, along with the next two fastest times overall, advance.
       
      “The quarter-final was really tactical. I was in third place coming back into the stadium and was ready to push for second, but the pure sprinters (in my heat) are still fresh and I couldn’t use my endurance (to my advantage),” said Harvey, who was the lone Canadian to earn a spot in the heats. “It was a hard course, but a great course for me.”
       
      Norway’s Johannes Klaebo was crowned World Champion in the sprint. Italy’s Federico Pellegrino skied to the silver medal, while Russia’s Gleb Tetivykh was third.
       
      Harvey’s strong sprint finish comes one day after announcing he will retire at the end of this season. The four-time World Championship medallist, and winner of 30 World Cup podiums, will call it a career following the World Cup finals in Quebec City at the end of March.
       
      “I was expecting things to feel different today, but there really was no difference for me. For me, it was a World Championships and I am always so motivated for these big races,” said Harvey. “This was a good start and I hope to build on it throughout the week.”
       
      Toronto’s Len Valjas qualified 51st. Evan Palmer-Charrette, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 64th. Coming off a career-best 12th-place sprint finish on the World Cup, Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., has been battling a cold and did not start.
       
      Canada’s Dahria Beatty narrowly missed a spot in the women’s heats with the top-30 athletes. The Whitehorse-based Olympian clocked the 31st fastest qualifying time. Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., placed 40th. Maya Macisaac-Jones was 52nd.
       
      Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla sprinted to the gold medal. Sweden’s Stina Nilsson won the silver medal, while Norway’s Mari Eide rounded out the women’s podium in third.
       
      Complete Results: https://bit.ly/2RvNWJz
       
      The World Nordic Ski Championships continue on Saturday with 15- and 30-kilometre skiathlon races.
       
      CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.