Four men in the top 24, two in the top 10, Alex Harvey back to fourth. Yep, it was that kind of day for Canada at the sixth stage of the Ski Tour Canada in Canmore, Alberta.
While Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby won the 30-kilometer skiathlon to make a notable leap from fourth to third in the overall Tour standings, Harvey moved up as well (into fourth overall), leading the Canadians in seventh, 7.6 seconds behind Sundby.
The top seven men finished within 7.6 seconds of one another, and just 0.5 seconds separated fifth through seventh. Sundby sealed the win in 1:16:29.7 hours, just 2.8 seconds ahead of Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov — the Tour leader — in second. Finland’s Matti Heikkinen placed third (+3.7) for his best result since placing third in a World Cup skiathlon in January 2015 in Rybinsk, Russia.
Three other Norwegians made the top six, with Finn Hågen Krogh in fourth (+5.0), Didrik Tønseth in fifth (+7.1), and Hans Christer Holund in sixth (+7.4), just 0.2 seconds ahead of Harvey.
“Martin started pushing hard from the beginning, and that’s the way I wanted it,” Harvey said after the race. “I was hoping that one of the guys in front of me [in the overall standings] would have a rough day, and it happened to be [Norway’s Emil] Iversen. So it moved me up to fourth place. … I’m just focusing on staying in the top five.”
Previously third in the Tour, Iversen placed 17th on Wednesday to slip to fifth overall.
Canada’s Ivan Babikov raced to 10th (+16.9) for his first World Cup top 10 in more than two years. Graeme Killick was 19th (+1:34.2) and Devon Kershaw 24th (+2:14.2) for the host nation.
Noah Hoffman led the U.S. in 35th (+4:21.9). Erik Bjornsen placed 49th, Scott Patterson was 55th, and Tad Elliott was 58th.
Seven other Canadians stayed in the Tour, with Kevin Sandau in 40th, Lenny Valjas in 46th, Knute Johnsgaard in 47th, Russell Kennedy in 52nd, Andy Shields in 53rd, Michael Somppi in 54th, and Patrick Stewart-Jones in 57th.
Bob Thompson was lapped for Canada, ending his run in the Tour and placing 62nd on the day. Simon Lapointe did not start. For the U.S., Eric Packer (65th), Reese Hanneman (67th) and Brian Gregg (68th) were lapped as well.
Stay tuned for a complete report on FasterSkier.com.