SEEFELD, Austria — Canadian cross-country skier Alex Harvey won silver in the men’s 15-kilometre mass start Sunday in the final World Cup before the Olympic Games.
Harvey, 29, battled to his third medal of the season, finishing with a time of 31 minutes, 39.3 seconds.
“The races started our really fast so that first lap was hard,” said Harvey. “I was feeling really tired after the last few weeks of training and thought ‘oh boy, this could be a long day.’
“After the first lap, things started slowing down and I was able to pace myself. It turned out to be a really good day.”
Starting in fourth spot on the line, Harvey dropped to around the 20th spot before climbing his way back to the front of the pack at the midway point of the race. He skied in the top five until the finish.
Switzerland’s Dario Colgona won gold in 31:37.9. Norway’s Martin Johnsrud took bronze in 31:40.8.
“It wasn’t the hardest course so I kind of just mentally got myself ready for the big push at the end,” said Harvey. “I was able to pace myself for the last uphill. I knew it would come down to a sprint down the last hill.
“Dario just had a little more than me at the finish. It is a great feeling to know you can find something inside to finish second on a day when you aren’t feeling good or don’t have the legs.”
It was the just the second race for the Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., native since becoming the first non-European cross-country skier to finish on the overall podium at the Tour de Ski — a seven-race journey through Europe held over nine days. Harvey locked up third spot in the overall standings with back-to-back bronze medals on the final weekend.
Sunday’s result was Harvey’s best finish of the year and 27th World Cup podium. He also has five World Championship medals and could become the first Canadian man to stand on the Olympic podium next month.
“I’ll take a lot of positive from this weekend with me to the Olympics,” said Harvey. “The goal for me was to finish this camp being really tired, recover and bounce back from that and not worry about the results.
“Today was a bonus, but I can tell you, I am really tired. We are bringing a lot of confidence and momentum with us into the Games and are all very excited.”
Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., finished 30th, while Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray, Alta., was 31st.
Emily Nishikawa of Whitehorse was the top Canadian on the women’s side in 35th.
Canada’s Olympic cross-country team will be announced Monday.
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