QUEBEC CITY – Quel dommage.
That’s probably the best way to summarize the Canadian results in Saturday’s individual sprint, as Alex Harvey, the only team member out of 28 starters to advance to the knockout rounds, was eliminated in his quarterfinal heat.
“He was back a little bit,” said Justin Wadsworth, the Canadian head coach, “and just left it too much, too late…On this course, you need to be up towards the front.”
The Canadians typically start their World Cup season slowly, and Wadsworth said that he felt “a bit of foreboding feelings” about the early dates for the country’s first home races in nearly three years.
“When I saw the placement in the calendar, I wasn’t exactly thrilled,” he said.
After two days of World Cup racing in Quebec City, the Canucks’ podium tally never budged above zero—and although a top-three at this level is no small feat, the results still left the squad disappointed.
Following a training session on the race track and an event with sponsors on Sunday in Quebec City, the Canadians will depart for Canmore, where the next set of World Cup races will be held starting Thursday.
After setting an ambitious goal a few weeks ago of 20 World Cup podiums for his squad for the season, Wadsworth after Saturday’s results said that he would be able to forget the year’s tough start so long as his athletes ski their way into shape by the World Ski Championships in February.
“Twenty medals is a goal—that’s kind of throwing it out there,” he said. “But if we get two medals at World Championships, I don’t care how many medals we get on the World Cup. We want World Championship medals this year.”
Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.