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Canada's Alex Harvey reaches podium with third-place finish at Tour de Ski


VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Canadian cross-country skier Alex Harvey reached the podium for the first time this season Saturday with a third-place finish at the Tour de Ski.

Harvey's bronze medal came in the penultimate stage of the seven-race competition. He finished the 15-kilometre classic-ski mass start race in 38 minutes 41.2 seconds.

"This was a good result, especially in classic," Harvey said. "It is my first podium in classic-skiing since the world championships in 2015 and to do it on a really hard course here is really good."

The 29-year-old from Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., who has had three fourth-place finishes this season, earned the 25th World Cup medal of his career. Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan won gold in 38:40.3 and Russia's Andrey Larkov took silver in 38:40.7.

Norwegian Heidi Weng won the women's race. She finished 7.6 seconds ahead of Krista Parmakoski of Finland and 8.6 ahead of Teresa Stadlober of Austria.

Harvey was in control at the front of a large pack for the first 10 kilometres of the men's race.

"I knew some guys were struggling so I was really trying to lead the pace today," he said. "I was feeling good and I took my responsibility because I really wanted to make it hard and keep the speed high in the front for some of those guys struggling.

"After the second lap, the guys at the front started pushing the pace and I was able to go with them. It was game on from there."

Harvey broke away with a group of five in the fifth of six laps. In the final 2.5-kilometre loop, he was in a group of four left at the front to battle it out for the podium.

Switzerland's Dario Cologna has a lead of 1:14.4 on Poltoranin in the overall standings entering Sunday's final stage, a nine-kilometre skate-ski pursuit race. Russia's Sergey Ustiugov is third and Harvey is 1:22.7 off the lead in fourth place.

"The goal tomorrow will be to not work too much on the flats, but keep at it," said Harvey. "I don't want to save my energy as much as I can for the climb, and not get caught by the guys behind me.

"It's not my best event but the guys around me are all in the same boat."

Overall leader Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway was fifth in the women's race. She has a 1.8-second edge on Weng in the overall standings.


The Canadian Press

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