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Cross Country Canada —Julien Locke finishes just shy of qualifying for World Cup heats, placing 36th—

DAVOS, Sui—Alex Harvey didn’t have the snap needed to compete for the World Cup sprint podium in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday, but there is no reason to panic. The leader of the Canadian squad is off to his best start ever and right on track to peak when it counts.

Harvey, of St-Férréol-les-Neiges, Que., was the lone Canadian to make into the round of 30 for the head-to-head heats on the challenging 1.5-kilometre skate-ski sprint course that features a long flat section that builds towards one of two hills. Harvey’s day quickly came to an end when he finished fifth in his quarter-final round. Only the top two finishers, along with the next two fastest times overall advance.

“Alex is in great shape and his technique is good, but he always struggles a bit at altitude in Davos. Every skier handles altitude differently,” said Louis Bouchard, co-head coach of the World Cup Team. “We tried some different things to be ready for the altitude. Alex is in great shape though and right where he wants to be.

“The goal is always to build towards the Tour de Ski and the end of the season so there is no rush to be in top shape this early. The speed and the snap will come. We will build this. The best training is racing.”

Qualifying for the heats in 21st spot around the relentless 1.5-kilometre course, Harvey made a tactical error in the fastest opening round heat.

“We were really happy with the shape today, but Alex felt he didn’t choose the right lane coming into the final corner. He should have kept going to the left, but instead he cut the corner and it reduced the speed,” added Bouchard.

The tactical error cost him a shot to move into the semifinals. Harvey hammered the pace down the finishing stretch, but finished in fifth spot – just .3 seconds from advancing.

Norway’s Johannes Klaebo won the men’s race. Italy’s Federico Pellegrino sprinted to the silver, while Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov won the fight for the bronze medal.

Canada’s World Cup rookie, Julien Locke, had a solid day narrowly missing the round of 30. Locke, of Nelson, B.C., finished just one second off securing a spot in the elite group of 30, placing 36th.

“That was a great result for Julien,” added Bouchard. “For a young guy who is just 22 years old, he was very close to qualifying so that was a great day for him.”

Russell Kennedy, of Canmore, Alta., was the next best Canuck in 48th. Knute Johnsgaard, of Whitehorse, qualified 52nd, while Jesse Cockney (Canmore, Alta.) was 54th and Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., finished 63rd.

Dahria Beatty, of Whitehorse, was charging towards the top-30 herself, but started to fade off the top pace near the one kilometre mark. Beatty clocked the 53rd fastest time. Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., made positive strides in her return to top shape, placing 55th. Cendrine Browne, of St-Jérôme, Que., was 64th.

Sweden’s Stina Nilsson was the top woman on the day. Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla won the silver medal, while American Kikkan Randall charged onto the bronze-medal step of the podium.

The World Cup continues on Sunday in Davos, Switzerland with the 10- and 15-kilometre skate-ski races.

CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Mackenzie Investments, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.

Complete Men’s Results:

http://medias2.fis-ski.com/pdf/2018/CC/2191/2018CC2191RL.pdf

Complete Women’s Results:

http://medias2.fis-ski.com/pdf/2018/CC/2189/2018CC2189RL.pdf

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Chris Dornan

Media and Public Relations

Cross Country Canada

T: 403-620-8731