The mostly flat course winds itself around the famous Luzhniki Olympic Stadium in Moscow. A total of eight North Americans advanced to the heats in the men’s and women’s competitions today – read more about the qualifications HERE.
In the quarterfinals, Kershaw handily won his heat, skiing at the front the entire race and pulling away over the second hill for the win. Alex Harvey (CAN) also skied well, finishing second in his heat, with American Andy Newell in fifth. Len Valjas (CAN) was leading his quarterfinal, only to be nipped by Norway’s Eirik Bransdal at the finish as both advanced to the semis.
Kershaw looked strong in the final, skiing solidly in third and fourth positions. He made his move on the final hill with a powerful attack, but couldn’t hold off the storming Scandinavians, Peterson and Gloeersen, and had to settle for third.
“You should never be disappointed with a podium at a World Cup, but I am a little disappointed because I really felt like I was going to win,” added Kershaw, who also won a bronze medal last week in the 15-kilometre classic ski race last week in Otepaa, Estonia, his first race since placing fourth overall in the grueling Tour de Ski.
Looking at the big picture Kershaw was philosophical about his back-to-back podiums – one distance, one sprint. “It (these results) is crazy. The body is so good right now and I just always seem to be in that zone when the race is on. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, but right now I just feel like racing is a sanctuary for me and I feel so present.”
The world’s XC ski powerhouses take to the snow in Rybinsk, Russia this weekend, Feb. 4-5, for the distance races for the next round of FIS World Cup competitions.