A combination of illness and a plan for an abbreviated racing weekend meant just three Canadians started the 10/15k freestyle World Cup races in Davos, Switzerland on Sunday.
Alex Harvey (CAN) was the only man to finish for the squad after Ivan Babikov dropped out halfway through.
Harvey ended up back in 56th, and was never in the running for a top finish.
“Not good,” Canadian Head Coach Justin Wadsworth said simply of the day.
But in elaborating, Wadsworth was positive looking ahead to World Championships.
“I’m chalking this one up, not to make excuses, but as the timing of the altitude camp we just had and our big, big focus is next week so realistically I’m not worried about anything,” Wadsworth said in an interview. “I would have liked to have had the guys have a better race today, but I think we will be fine next week.”
He said Babikov just didn’t feel good, and that while Harvey finished, we was off-form as well.
“I know Ivan and Alex are in the shape that they are in and we just have to fine-tune things now,” Wadsworth said. “We train a lot so sometimes your body feels a little stale [during a taper]. It is kind of normal, we saw some other weird results, you know Northug back and stuff too.”
A number of top World Cup skiers, including Norwegian Petter Northug, fnished well off their usual marks.
Wadsworth explained that the plan all along was for World Championship skiers to race just one event this weekend.
So top finishers in Saturday’s sprint, Lenny Valjas and Devon Kershaw were on the bench.
And while Harvey did race the sprint, he did not advance to the heats, so Wadsworth said he needed to get another start.
Harvey injured his shoulder in a training crash in Sochi, Russia, and prior to the sprint, had not since La Clusaz on January 19th.
Both Emily and Graham Nishikawa did not start due to illness.
“They live together in Canmore, they both have the same tightness in their chest,” Wadsworth said. “It is just not getting much better so they both warmed up, but both of them decided not to race so they wouldn’t get a hack for World Championships or a worse hack I should say.”
Zina Kocher, a Canadian World Cup biathlete started the women’s race and placed 36th.
— Audrey Mangan contributed reporting
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.