March 17, 2017 4:49 pm
Updated: March 17, 2017 6:24 pm

Quebec City cross-country skier Alex Harvey wins sprint gold, eyeing world championship win at home

WATCH ABOVE: Quebec City is hosting the shining stars of cross-country skiing on the Plains of Abraham. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, World Cup event is causing quite a buzz because a hometown athlete is in podium position.

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Skiing stars have descended on the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec City for this year’s Cross-Country World Cup.

Locals are abuzz over the event, in particular to support their own local athlete, who could take top podium position.

Quebec City native Alex Harvey, 28, has already won two world championships and had placed third overall at the start of the race.

Friday afternoon, he won the final sprint.

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READ MORE: Canadian skier Alex Harvey wins world cross-country gold in 50K, celebrates with air guitar

“[Just] like if you’re a basketball fan or a lacrosse fan or whatever, you get to know the people and you enjoy the competition,” said Ottawa cross-country fan Ian Lenny.

“These are the best athletes in the world at this sport, right here.”

Organizer Patrice Drouin noted the event, which is free for spectators, was originally scheduled to be held in Russia.

Following the Russian doping scandal, the International Ski Federation (FIS) had to find another host.

Quebec City had just two months to prepare for the competition.

READ MORE: Ski federation bans drones after camera nearly hits racer

Europe has hosted previous legs of the competition, so local fans were excited to be able to see their favourite skiers up close — even more so when one of those competitors is your son.

Janet Thompson’s son, Bob Thompson, from Woodstock, Ont., placed 30th at the World Cup.

Organizers and fans alike expressed gratitude for the good weather — no, not sunshine and blue skies, but rather the unusual winter blizzard that provided fresh snow for the ski trails.

READ MORE: Hundreds of skiers and snowshoers enjoy wintery Mount Royal trails

“The snow is perfect. We have a beautiful track,” Drouin said.

“Comments from the athletes and the teams are great about the track, so they are very happy to be here.”

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