Malles, ITA â€” Heading into the Nordic World Junior Championships Alex Harvey was known in the cross-country skiing circles as the son of Pierre.
After posting his second fourth-place finish on Wednesday to go along with a silver-medal performance against the top junior cross-country skiers on the globe, the world is finding out more than just the younger Harvey’s first name. They are now convinced the 19-year-old from St-Ferreol les Neiges, Que., is one of the most talented cross-country skiers for his age group.
Harvey, who is in fact the son of legendary cross-country skier and four-time summer and winter Olympian Pierre Harvey, narrowly missed his second trip to the podium this week after finishing fourth in the 20-kilometer skate-skiing race in Malles, Italy after stopping the clock at 48 minutes 30.1 seconds.
â€œI was actually very disappointed today. To have a fourth-place finish is a good result, but finishing fourth twice is tough to swallow,â€ said Harvey, who was ranked first in the distance races and third in the sprint events heading into the World Championships. â€œToday was a skate distance race and a mass start and I thought it was my best chance for a gold medal.â€
Harvey was on pace to win the gold after leading for the first 15-kilometers of the race. After heading into the final five-kilometer loop in Italy, the young Canuck pulled away from the field with the pack of four, but was hindered by a nagging leg injury that prevented him from kicking into high gear for the drive to the finish.
â€œI was skiing easy for the first 18 kilometers and had lots of energy, but when it was time for the final surge I couldn’t do anything,â€ said Harvey whose leg has a pinched artery from years of biking, swimming and cross-country skiing which prevents blood flow to the muscles and will require surgery when he returns home next week to correct. â€œIt makes it really disappointing because it is out of your control and I had high hopes today.â€
While Harvey watched the podium finishers pull away, it was Germany’s Philipp Marschall who came out on top with a time of 48 minutes 29.6 seconds. Petr Sedov, of Russia, was second at 48:30.1, while Andrey Gridin, of Kazakhstan, who also posted a time of 48:30.1, settled for the bronze medal after a photo finish.
Noah Hoffman led the Americans with his 23rd place finish. At 5km the field was essentially one big pack, with Hoffman sitting 58th place, 24 second behind the leader. By 10km, the field broke up somewhat and hoffman was still in contact with the leaders. At 15km, he had dropped a minute and eventually finished 2:15 back. Hoffman had his work cut out for him after breaking a ski at the start. He had to wait for the pack to hit the trail before picking up a replacement. He had moved all the way up to sixth after 11K's, but lost steam and dropped back.
Hoffman had been 12th in the classic technique event two days earlier. Freestyle is his better event and he had high expectations before breaking the ski in the mass start. His 23rd place finish despite the the ski problems bodes well for the Sun Valley skier.
Max Treinen was the next American with an excellent 31st. Treinen has struggled most of the week, finishing at the back of the field. Today he showed e could ski with the world's top juniors.
Reid Pletcher was 40th and Kevin Cutts 67th as the final two Americans in the race.
Norway’s Therese Johaug won the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle race with a time of 25 minutes 24.7 seconds.
Laure Barthelemy (FRA) and Lisa Larsen (SWE) took took second and third respectively.
Ida Sargent led a tight trio of American women in 36th, +1:45. Rossie Brennan was just behind in 37th and Alexa Turzian was 39th.
Sophie Caldwell, the final American starter, was 49th.
Seven other Canadians hit the start line in Italy on Wednesday with 89 of the top young male skiers and 71 of the best junior women. In men’s action, Frederic Touchette, of St-Ferreol les Neiges, Que., finished 14th (49:34.8), while Calgary’s Kevin Sandau was 25th (50:48.8), and Julien Nury, of St-Nicolas, Que., was 58h (53:23.2). Alysson Marshall, of Salmon Arm, B.C., led the charge for the Canadian women finishing in 35th spot at 27:10.7. Calgary’s Marlis Kromm was 40h at 27:27.4, while Stephanie Drolet, of Mt. Tremblant, Que., was 58th at 28:26.0.
Contributing Source: Cross-Country Canada