Alex Harvey skied like a champion for 29 kilometres, yet faded on the final lap to cut short his quest for an Olympic medal during the men’s 30-km skiathlon Sunday (Feb. 11) at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Harvey sat within striking distance of a medal through the classic and skate portions of the race, but could not respond when Norwegian darkhorse Simen Hegstad Krueger blew up the race with a tremendous effort. The Norwegians worked together to sweep the podium, leaving Harvey to fight another day.
The Quebec superstar looked strong through much of the race, matching strides with the best skiers in the world. He’ll have up to five more chance to break Canada’s ancient men’s cross-country ski medal drought.
Devon Kershaw cruised in the top-30 for much of the race, but dropped six places in the final quarter of the race to end the day in 36th. Blowing winds wreaked havoc with the field and powered around the windswept South Korean ski course, which used to be a golf course.
“I had a really, really hard race. I was struggling in the wind and just wasn’t that strong. I’m quite disappointed,” Kershaw said.
Graeme Killick was in the top group through seven kilometres of the classic race, but couldn’t maintain the breakneck pace set by early leader Ivo Niskanen of Finland. Knute Johnsgaard was lapped out of the race.
Simen Hegstad Krueger was a surprise winner on the day. He defeated his high profile countrymen Martin Johnsrud Sudnby and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo for the win.
Krueger fell and broke a pole in the first 200 metres of the race, but kept his composure, skied his way back into contention, and away from the leaders on the final lap, much to his own disbelief. Martin Johnsrud Sundy let his countryman ski away, and won silver, finishing eight seconds off the lead pace. Hans Christer Holund won bronze to complete the Norwegian sweep.