Alex Harvey earned his first podium finish of the cross-country skiing World Cup season, finishing third in the pursuit race in Oberstdorf, Germany that made up the fourth stage of the Tour de Ski.
Modelled after the Tour de France, the Tour de Ski is a featured event on the Nordic calendar as skiers compete in seven different types of races at four venues in three countries over nine days.
Harvey started the stage in third place overall, one minute and nine seconds behind the leader, Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, and 40 seconds back of Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby. He was also aware that Swiss Dario Cologna, who trailed Harvey by just 17 seconds, would be starting close behind. With snow falling for the 15km race, the tracks were soft, forcing Harvey to decide whether to attack the leaders alone or allow Cologna to catch up so they could combine their efforts.
By the three kilometre mark, Harvey and Cologna were skiing together, taking turns drafting to make the work easier. In the last five kilometres, the Canadian-Swiss duo were able to almost keep pace with Ustiugov while Sundby lost some ground. At the finish, Harvey outsprinted Cologna for the podium, holding onto third place overall. Although he made up a few seconds on Sundby, his gap on Cologna shrank to just six seconds.
“Dario was very strong,” Harvey told Cross Country Canada. “He did a lot of work. I had great fast skis. I knew if I could stay with him on the big climb I could beat him. I used the draft before the finish.”
Thursday is a rest day as the Tour heads to Italy for the final three stages. Friday will feature a 10km skate race in Toblach, followed on Saturday by a 15km classic mass start in Val di Fiemme which will also host a 9km skate pursuit to close the 11th edition of the Tour de Ski on Sunday.
This is Harvey’s 19th career individual World Cup podium, his first since finishing second in a sprint race in Quebec City in March.