Canadian Alex Harvey races to silver medal in Tour de Ski sprint event | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canadian Alex Harvey races to silver medal in Tour de Ski sprint event

Simeon Hamilton of the United States celebrates his first place in the finish area of the men's sprint competition of the Tour de Ski cross-country World Cup event in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Keystone, Arno Balzarini)
December 31, 2013 - 9:48 AM

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland - Canadian Alex Harvey captured a silver medal at the Tour de Ski cross-country skiing competition Tuesday.

The native of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was in the middle of the pack for most of the freestyle sprint final but blasted down the hill into the stadium to reach the final straightaway in fourth spot, where he reeled in two Norwegians to lock up second place.

American Simeon Hamilton won gold while Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third.

"My tactics were perfect all day," said Harvey. "I wanted to leave a little gap at the top of the last hill, but still be close enough to carry the draft. I was able to do that and generated a huge amount of speed around the final corner into the finish stretch."

It was the ninth World Cup medal for the 25-year-old and second of the 2013 Tour de Ski. He opened the seven-race Tour through Europe with a victory on Saturday.

Harvey extended his Tour lead approaching the midway mark of the gruelling event, which showcases all race disciplines. The Canadian will wear the overall leader's bib in Wednesday's 15-kilometre classic-ski mass start race in Switzerland.

"It is awesome to have the leader's bib," he said. "Every day I start with it on my shoulders is extra special. Maybe not as big, but this is still like the Tour de France for us. It is a big event for our sport."

Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., is eighth spot overall after qualifying in 56th Tuesday. Distance specialist, Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., placed 97th on Tuesday.

Hamilton, meantime, announced himself as a possible medal contender for the Sochi Olympics.

"I didn't think I had it until I was like five feet across the line. I just focused on skiing through the finish," Hamilton said. "It turned out well, so I'm psyched."

In the women's sprint, Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg beat fellow Norwegian Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen to take the overall Tour lead from their countrywoman Marit Bjoergen, who was eliminated in the quarter-finals.

"It was an amazing day for me," Oestberg said. "I had a good feeling (and) in the end I was the strongest, and it's a great feeling."

Denise Herrmann of Germany was third.

Perianne Jones of Almonte, Ont., was the top Canadian in 39th spot while Daria Gaiazova of Banff, Alta., placed 45th.

The Tour de Ski is part of the overall World Cup and features seven stages in three countries. It ends Jan. 5 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

— With files from The Associated Press

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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