Devon Kershaw Leads Canadians into Top-30 at World Cup in Falun
Cross Country Canada – —Emily Nishikawa leads Canadian women in 39th—
FALUN, Swe.—It is not the top-15 or podium results he once had a stranglehold of, but Devon Kershaw’s climb back to the top of the international standings continued with another steady distance race Sunday in Falun, Sweden where he finished in the points.
The 33-year-old Kershaw finished as the top Canuck in 28th spot with a time of 32:27.6 in the 15-kilometre skate-ski mass start race.
“While not great, it was a decent day for Devon,” said Justin Wadsworth, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “He was able to move up through the pack in a fast, short race, and is showing he is in good shape.”
Starting well back on the start line in 47th spot, the Sudbury, Ont. native maintained pace with the leaders until the midway point of the race on a rolling course in Falun. Kershaw led the chase pack for most of the final five kilometres.
Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov won the race with a time of 31:42.5. Italy’s Francesco De Fabiani was second at 31:42.8, while Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby skied to the bronze medal at 31:42.9.
Falun has been one of Kershaw’s favourite venues throughout his illustrious career. The three-time Olympian celebrated two podium performances to cap off a historic season where he finished second-place overall on the World Cup in 2012. The veteran of the National Ski Team has been fighting his way back into that elite group over the last two years.
“It is not getting any easier each year. As you get older so much is on confidence, but you also need that confidence with great fitness and skis,” added Wadsworth. “Devon really needs to take advantage of the opportunities when you get good skis and capitalize on it. He is in some pretty high level company. He has consistently been in that top 20-30 range, and now needs to make that jump into the top-15 which is not easy.”
With Alex Harvey forced to sit this one out will illness, Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray, Alta., was the only other Canadian male in the race. Killick skied to 68th with a time of 33:56.0.
Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, was the top Canadian in the women’s 10-kilometre mass start. The 2014 Olympian posted a time of 25:03.1 for 39th place. Andrea Dupont, of Timmins, Ont., placed 69h at 27:14.5.
The Norwegians swept the women’s podium. Therese Johaug was first to cross the finish line with a time of 23:28.0. Heidi Weng was second at 23:36.8, while Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen completed the sweep in third with a time of 23:41.9.
The Canadians will now head back home for a two-week training camp in Alberta to preparen for the inaugural Ski Tour Canada which will feature eight races at four venues in Gatineau, Que., Montreal, Quebec City and Canmore, Alta., over 12 days March 1-12. It will be the first time ever the World Cup crystal globes will be awarded outside of Europe.
“It will be good to be back in Canada and get a fresh start,” added Wadsworth. “The team has been gone since the beginning of November so I know racing at home will give them a lot of energy. This has been a focus for us on the calendar. There is lots of excitement for sure, and they all know there is a good opportunity to take advantage of this fresh start at home to end the season strong.”
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Men’s Relay Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/cross-country/events-and-places/event=37421/race=25817/
Women’s Relay Results:
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