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Harvey returns to World Cup XC podium



Canada's Alex Harvey picked up his second medal of the World Cup season this past weekend with a third place finish in the men's 15+15km classic-freestyle Skiathlon race, where he did the first 15km on classic skis and the second 15km on skate skis.

It was a photo finish for 23-year-old, who finished just half a second behind Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway in the final sprint. Dario Cologna of Switzerland was first by a comfortable margin of four seconds.

"It was a good race today for me," said Harvey. "Every time I am on the podium it's good. With 90 skiers on the start line the race was tight, especially in the corners. I had to be careful, but luckily nobody crashed before me. I like mass starts, I like the adrenaline."

Devon Kershaw managed to stick with the lead group through the chaos, but couldn't stick with the leaders as the pack broke up. He placed 14th, but remains in a tie for third in the overall World Cup standings. Ivan Babikov was 36th.

The team just completed a high altitude training camp before the race, taking advantage of a gap in the schedule to prepare for the final races of the season. "We are still recovering from our altitude camp, but I feel in good shape," said Harvey. "I just feel I don't have the speed that I usually have, which is normal after being at altitude."

In the women's 7.5+7.5km Skiathlon it was a Norwegian sweep with Therese Johaug first, Marit Bjoergen second and Heidi Weng third. Kristin Stoermer Steira of Norway was fourth. The only Canadians in the field were Daria Gaiazova in 37th, Perianne Jones in 50th and Alysson Marhsall in 52nd.

In the classic sprint races, Daria Gaiazova was the lone female racer to qualify for Canada en route to a 13th place finish. Marit Bjoergen of Norway was first, followed by Julia Ivanova of Russia and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland.

In the men's classic sprint, the best result for Canada was Len Valjas' 20th place finish. The win went to Emily Joensson of Sweden, followed by teammate Teodor Peterson. Nikita Kriukov was third.

In the overall standings, Kershaw has 1,121 points, 104 more than Marcus Hellner of Sweden. Alex Harvey has moved up to sixth overall with 786 points.