Canadian Alex Harvey finishes eighth at crosscountry World Cup

RUKA, Finland — Canada’s Alex Harvey skied to a personal best eighth-place sprint finish at the season-opening cross-country World Cup on Saturday.The leader of the Canadian squad from St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., is competing in his 10th season on the World Cup circuit.“I’m now 30 years old and I have the same excitement for the first race of the season as I did the first time I hit the start line on the World Cup,” Harvey said after completing the 1.4-kilometre classic-sprint course.“You just never really know how you’re positioned against the rest of the world until get on the line. I was really happy with my result today. It is the best sprint result I have ever had in Ruka. The body felt good and the equipment was great.”Skiing in fifth spot for most of his semifinal round, the three-time Olympian grinded his way around the hard-packed and fast course to stay in contact with the leaders. A late charge down the finishing stretch allowed him to grab one more spot on the pack, but it wasn’t enough to advance, leaving him in eighth spot overall on the day.“The steep hill on this course is the key. I’ve never been the snappiest on the hills, so I was happy with the effort and the result,” Harvey said.Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov won the race, topping a trio of Norwegians in the final heat. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo finished in second place. Eirik Brandsdal grabbed the final step on the men’s podium in third.Three other Canadians competed but did not qualify in the round of 30. Julien Locke of Nelson, B.C. placed 69th, Andy Shields of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 75th while Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., was 76th.The Canadian Press read more

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