Canada's Harvey, World Cup leader Bjoergen win Tour de Ski prologues | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canada's Harvey, World Cup leader Bjoergen win Tour de Ski prologues

Workers shovel snow to prepare the track in the stadium one day ahead of the Tour de Ski competition in Oberhof, central Germany, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. The warm winter weather and the lack of snow make some problems for the organizers. The 1st race of the cross country tour starts in the Thuringian Forest on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
December 28, 2013 - 8:19 AM

OBERHOF, Germany - Alex Harvey shrugged off a broken ski and difficult conditions to win the 4.5-kilometre freestyle prologue for the Tour de Ski on Saturday, beating Canadian teammate Devon Kershaw by 4.1 seconds.

In the women's prologue, overall cross-country World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen led a 1-2 Norwegian finish in a three-kilometre race.

Mild and rainy weather forced organizers to shorten the course and change the format of the competition, a decision that led to the withdrawal of four-time women's Tour winner Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland. The Olympic champion said it was unfair to have five freestyle and only two classical races in the seven-stage event.

"The changed program doesn't fit into my Olympic preparations," said Kowalczyk, a classical style specialist.

Harvey's right ski broke early in the race and he was given a replacement from his team. With fog also coming down on the course, the native of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., covered the distance in 9 minutes, 3.4 seconds to edge Sudbury, Ont., native Kershaw. Chris Jespersen of Norway was third, 10.2 seconds behind.

Bjoergen covered the distance in six minutes, 34.4 seconds to leave teammate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen 1.9 seconds behind. Sylwia Jaskowiec of Poland was seven seconds behind in third.

Denise Herrmann of Germany was fourth, ahead of Jessica Diggins of the United states.

The Tour ends in Italy on Jan. 5.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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