Alex Harvey makes history with 3rd-overall finish at Tour de Ski

Winner Dario Cologna (C) of Switzerland with second placed Martin Johnsrud Sundby (L) of Norway and third placed Alex Harvey (R) of Canada celebrate in the finish area after the men's 9 km Final Climb Pursuit race at the FIS Tour de Ski event in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. Andrea Solero/EPA

Canada’s Alex Harvey finished third overall Sunday to become the first non-European to reach the final podium at cross-country skiing’s famed Tour de Ski.

Harvey was third in the seventh stage in 30 minutes 22.7 seconds, finishing behind Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway in the overall standings.

“I think on paper this may not be as big as winning world championships, but for me in terms of satisfaction, this is the No. 1 achievement in my career,” said Harvey, who had the sixth fastest time up the final climb. “To be steady throughout 10 days of skiing, and never really have a bad day, that gives me huge satisfaction.”

Cologna tied a record with his fourth Tour de Ski title and Heidi Weng of Norway repeated as women’s champion. Cologna finished first in the final stage in 28:52.1 and Sundby was next in 30:18.6.

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READ MORE: Canada’s Alex Harvey reaches podium with third place finish at Tour de Ski

In the overall race, Cologna had a comfortable margin of 1:26.5 on Sundby. Harvey, a 29-year-old from Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was 1:30.6 off the pace in third.

Harvey’s best previous Tour finish was a fifth-place showing in 2016. Canada’s Devon Kershaw was fourth at the 2012 Tour de Ski.

“This is just a great feeling. It is a podium for the entire Canadian team,” said Harvey. “Devon (Kershaw), Lenny (Valjas), Ivan (Babikov) and I have all had great success on the Tour over the years, but we have always come up short in the overall. I always left the Tour with a little disappointment because we were good, but not quite good enough.

“One of us had always came up just a bit short. I’m happy we finally got it done.”

Cologna joined Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk as the only four-time winners of the Tour. Weng, meanwhile, began the day trailing teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg by 1.8 seconds but pulled away and won by 48.5 seconds with the fastest time in the nine-kilometre free pursuit.

“I knew when it got steep that was when I wanted to make my move,” Weng said.

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

Jessica Diggins finished third, 2:23.2 behind, to become the first American on the podium in the 12-year history of the week-long event.

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Harvey was forced to skip the final stage of the Tour for four straight years due to circulation issues in his legs that prevented him from climbing Alpe Cermis, the final hill that boasts a 28 per cent hill grade.

Third placed Alex Harvey of Canada reacts in the finish area after the men’s 9 km Final Climb Pursuit race at the FIS Tour de Ski event in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. Andrea Solero/EPA

Surgery to cure the issue resulted in him continuing to chase history.

“It means so much to me to perform on this climb because of my legs in the past,” Harvey said. “The hill is so important if you want to be on the podium. I have never been good here. I kept working at getting better and today it finally clicked.”

Harvey, a two-time Olympian, was also third on Saturday. He sprawled out on the ground in celebration after reaching the final line Sunday.

Nine of the Canadian’s 26 World Cup podium appearances have come at the Tour de Ski.


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