FALUN, Sweden – As the sun set here in Sweden the spirits of the Canadian team rose for the men’s 3.3km Freestyle Prologue as both Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw raced to podium finishes. For Harvey it would be his first ever individual World Cup victory, crossing the line in 8:16.8, a mere 0.2 seconds quicker than Dario Cologna (SUI). Following Cologna was Harvey’s good friend and team Devon Kershaw, who was 3.1 seconds off his countryman’s winning pace.
“Great day for Canada! I mean two on the podium for men, never happened before in over a hundred year or ever, it’s great,” Kershaw told FasterSkier after the race.
Kershaw, who donned bib 33 was the leader in the clubhouse, so to speak, with Cologna and Harvey still out on course. Havey then entered the stadium, shortly after and charged to the line. As the two embraced they watched the large stadium screen as Cologna came to the finish to see what time he would post. Laughter soon followed as they realized that just 0.2 second earned Harvey the top step of this World Cup Final prologue race.
“I felt good, it was a tough race. The prologue it is short, but it’s hard. I was a little bit tired on the uphill, but I think that is normal,” said Cologna at the finish.
As a late starter based on his podium in Stockholm, Canadian Lenny Valjas gained inspiration by the splits he was hearing on course, which said that his two teammates were in podium positions. Valjas crossed the line in 8:34.0, good enough for 21st place.
“It is amazing, for our team to have the season that we are having right now, it has been super fun. Our team is really close, we are like a big family. I am super excited for both of them and for their success.”
On the American side, both the ascent and subsequent descent of the Mördarbacken took its toll as Andy Newell finished a hard-fought 30th place finish, +24.7 second off Harvey’s pace.
As Newell said following the race, “it’s a tough course. I can do well on some of these prologues sometimes, but this one is especially hard because it goes straight into the biggest part of the hill. For me it would be better if it was a little flatter at first and the big hill was at the end.”
Sylvan Ellefson (USA) was having a great race early on, posting the 21st fastest time through 1.2km, but crashed on the downhill. As he came to the finish line he was clearly in pain, limping off to get examined by US Ski Team doctor Michael Pleacher.
All 2012 FIS World Cup Finals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of Fischer Sports USA, proud sponsors of Kikkan Randall, 2012 overall Sprint Cup Champion.