Alex Harvey‘s had his share of World Cup podiums and even made history for Canada as the classic-sprint bronze medalist at World Championships last year.
But the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon on Saturday was different: this was World Cup Finals, this was Harvey’s run for an overall World Cup podium on the line.
The Canadian remained in the top four throughout the entire race, following Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson, Russia’s Alexander Legkov, and Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby — who’s essentially locked up the overall World Cup title — throughout much of the classic portion. After the transition to skating, Harvey started to take control, leading the group throughout much of the next 15 k while Richardsson gradually fell out of contact.
With Harvey, Legkov and Sundby pushing into one final 180-degree turn at the top of a climb, the Russian took the inside lane and Harvey seemed to be moving in slow motion — all part of his strategy. Harvey carefully followed Legkov and Sundby down into the stadium, catching their draft then threading the needle between them to move to second ahead of Legkov, who collided with Harvey and broke a pole.
While Sundby tried to outsprint Harvey, Legkov fell behind and came to grips with third. Harvey nipped Sundby by 0.4 seconds in 1:18.07.6, and Legkov finished 5.9 seconds back in third.
Yelling exuberantly at the finish, Harvey was soon congratulated by his teammate, Devon Kershaw, who placed 12th for his third-best individual result of the season.
Harvey improved to fourth in the overall World Cup standings, behind Sundby, Legkov and Norway’s Chris Andre Jespersen, respectively, with one race to go. He is 133 points behind Jespersen for an overall World Cup podium, and will start Sunday’s 15 k freestyle pursuit first (with the potential to win 200 World Cup points with a victory).
Richardsson took fourth in the skiathlon (+24.7), and Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin led the chase pack to the finish in fifth (+53.9). He beat Norway’s Eldar Rønning, who did much of the work to try to chase the four leaders throughout the race, by 0.8 seconds.
Noah Hoffman led the Americans in 18th, Ivan Babikov was 23rd for Canada. Also for the U.S., Reese Hanneman placed 38th, his second-best individual World Cup result after Friday’s 31st, and Andy Newell was 39th.