FIS Cross-Country World Cup Finals (Quebec City): Freestyle sprint
[UPDATED] Alex Harvey wins at home. That was the news buzzing across the Plains of Abraham on Friday in Quebec City, where Canada’s leading skier won the 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint final on Day 1 of World Cup Finals after taking control and delighting the crowd all day.
The win was the seventh of Harvey’s career and his 23rd World Cup medal, according to Cross Country Canada. Last year at the Ski Tour Canada stop in Quebec City, Harvey placed second in the freestyle sprint. He wasn’t going to let that happen again this year.
Chasing Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh as he entered the finishing stretch, Harvey put his distinctive finishing kick to the test and beat Krogh by 0.31 seconds at the line in 2:44.92 minutes.
“It takes a lot of things to line up a good result in cross-country skiing,” Harvey told reporters after. “The equipment was great. I had a really good body, good tactics, a bit of luck, too, ’cause sprinting you need some luck. So just everything clicked together today.”
France’s Richard Jouve scored his fourth-individual World Cup podium (and second one in Canada) in third place, finishing 0.94 seconds back, just ahead of Simi Hamilton, the lone American man to qualify for the heats. Hamilton placed fourth, just 0.07 seconds off the podium and 1.01 seconds behind Harvey. Norway’s Sindre Bjørnstad Skar took fifth (+1.51) to lock up third in the Sprint World Cup, and France had two in the final as well with Lucas Chanavat in sixth (+1.72).
The Sprint World Cup podium was awarded on Friday, with Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo taking the Crystal Globe in first and the defending Sprint World Cup winner, Italy’s Federico Pellegrino placing second. On Friday, Klæbo won the qualifier but was eliminated in the semifinals for eighth overall. Pellegrino finished just ahead of him in seventh overall.
A total of five Canadians qualified for the heats, with Jess Cockney striking late in the finishing stretch to finish second and automatically advance to the semifinals. There, he finished fifth for 10th overall on the day. Len Valjas, Julien Locke and Bob Thompson also reached the quarterfinals and ended up 19th, 20th and 30th, respectively, overall.
In the women’s race, Sweden’s Stina Nilsson and Maiken Caspersen Falla duked it out to the finish, with Nilsson taking the lead over the second half of the race and holding it to the finish for a 0.42-second win over Falla in 3:01.87. By reaching the final, Falla secured her second-straight Sprint World Cup Crystal Globe. Nilsson came up 38 points short for second overall, and Sweden’s Hanna Falk finished the season in third overall in the Sprint World Cup — after placing third in Friday’s final (+2.58).
The third Swede in the top four, Ida Ingemarsdotter placed fourth (+3.02) in the final. Behind her, Switzerland’s Nadine Fähndrich finished fifth (+3.41) and Norway’s Heidi Weng sixth (+32.36) to secure her lead in the Overall World Cup standings, by 325 points over Finland’s Krista Parmakoski (who placed 22nd on Friday).
Jessie Diggins finished the day in ninth to lead five U.S. women in the heats. She finished second in her quarterfinal and fifth in her semifinal.
Sadie Bjornsen was the team’s top qualifier in sixth, and went on to place 21st overall after finishing third in her quarterfinal. Sophie Caldwell crashed on the final hill of her quarterfinal heat to place 21st on the day.
Fresh off winning three U.S. Junior Nationals titles, World Cup rookie Julia Kern, a 19-year-old U.S. Ski Team D-team member, placed 24th overall after qualifying 29th and finishing fifth in her quarterfinal.
Also for the U.S. Ski Team, Rosie Brennan placed 28th on the day after finishing sixth in her quarterfinal.
Five American women and five Canadian men (plus one American) qualified for the heats on Friday in the 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint, the first of three days of racing at World Cup Finals in Quebec City.
Quebec’s hometown favorite Alex Harvey raced to fourth, 4.14 seconds off the top qualifying time set by Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo in 2:39.44. Norway’s Finn Hågen Krogh qualified second, 3.43 seconds back, and France’s Lucas Chanavat advanced in third (+3.73).
Harvey led four Canadian men within 0.67 seconds of one another, all qualifying for the heats as well, with Len Valjas qualifying 24th (+9:28), Julien Locke of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) 25th (+9.39), Jess Cockney 28th (+9.90), and Bob Thompson of the National Team Development Centre (NTDC) Thunder Bay in the lucky #30 spot (+9.95) as the final qualifier in the men’s race.
Simi Hamilton (U.S. Ski Team) was the lone American to qualify in the top 30 in the men’s race, and he clocked the 16th fastest time (+7.52).
In the women’s race, five Americans are continuing on to the quarterfinals. Sadie Bjornsen led them in sixth, 3.47 seconds off the fastest qualifying time set by Sweden’s Hanna Falk in 3:02.91.
Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla qualified second (+1.72) and Marit Bjørgen third (+1.89), ahead of Sweden’s Stina Nilsson in fourth (+3.3) and Norway’s Heidi Weng in fifth (+3.34).
Also of the U.S. Ski Team, Jessie Diggins qualified 11th (+5.86), Sophie Caldwell 18th (+7.97), Rosie Brennan 27th (+11.43), and Julia Kern, a 19-year-old U.S. development team member, 29th (+12.12).
As for those who placed outside the top 30, for the U.S. men, Andy Newell missed it by eight-hundredths of a second in 31st. Erik Bjornsen finished 33rd, Cole Morgan 34th, Paddy Caldwell 50th, Matt Gelso 57th, Scott Patterson 58th, Jack Hegman 61st, Brian Gregg 62nd, Ben Lustgarten 69th, David Norris 70th, and Noah Hoffman 73rd.
Canada’s Andy Shields was 35th, Russell Kennedy 36th, Devon Kershaw 38th, Knute Johnsgaard 41st, Evan Palmer-Charrette 47th, Joey Foster 53rd, Graeme Killick 64th, Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier 71st, Brian McKeever 72nd, and Gareth Williams 74th.
Among the U.S. women, Ida Sargent placed 36th, Erika Flowers 48th, Kaitlynn Miller 50th, Caitlin Patterson 53rd, Becca Rorabaugh 54th, Chelsea Holmes 55th, Jennie Bender 57th, and Liz Guiney 62nd. Liz Stephen did not start.
For Canada, Dahria Beatty finished 41st, Emily Nishikawa 45th, Cendrine Browne 47th, Andrea Dupont 51st, Sophie Carrier-Laforte 56th, Katherine Stewart-Jones 59th, Annika Richardson 60th, Sadie White 61st, Frederique Vezina 63rd, Laura Leclair 65th, Katherine Weaver 66th, Mia Serratore 67th, Alannah MacLean 69th, Annika Hicks 70th, and Lisle Compton 71st.
Heats start at 2:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.