Top News Stories

Recent Videos

Canada’s Alex Harvey Crowned 50K Freestyle WORLD CHAMPION #Lahti2017

release by CCC

March 05, 2017 (Lahti, Finland) – Alex Harvey was crowned the king of cross-country skiing after winning the prestigious men’s 50-kilometre skate cross-country skiing event to close out the 2017 World Championships in Lahti, Finland on Sunday.

Canada's Alex Harvey is 50K World Champ [P] Thibault/NordicFocus
“This is amazing. When I won the 15 kilometre classic race in Ulriceham, Sweden, I said it was the “man’s race,” but this is the real man’s race winning the 50 kilometre. It is the greatest race of my life,” said Harvey.

The 28-year-old Harvey exercised his race tactics to perfection while clocking a winning time of one hour, 46 minutes, 28.9 seconds in the legendary Nordic marathon.

“It was a perfect day for me. The conditions were so fast and I knew that would play into my favour. I was fighting to stay near the front and out of trouble most of the way. I was just hoping to put myself in second position at the final Lahti corner. I had amazing skis today so I knew that if I hit that corner in second place I had a good chance,” said Harvey, who also has two World Cup victories to go along with two bronze medals this year.

“My skis were really fast and I was able to slingshot perfectly around that corner and then it was mine to lose,” he continued.

Canada's Alex Harvey takes the Men's 50K Free race [P] Thibault/NordicFocus
Pumping his fist across the finish line followed by playing air guitar Nordic style, which is tradition for the Canadian team each time they ski to the podium, Harvey topped Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov who finished in second spot at 1:46:29.5. Finland’s Matti Heikkinen won the race for the bronze medal with a time of 1:46:30.3.

Pegging the 50 kilometre on the calendar as his race to win heading into the week, Harvey of Saint Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., delivered.

In complete control and relaxed from start-to-finish, the two-time Olympian skied comfortably with the lead pack. Balancing his time between leading the pace and tucking in behind a handful of the world’s best skiers in the lead group, Harvey was content to bide his time at the front until the final two kilometres where he, Ustigov and Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby pushed the pace. With the lead group jostling for position, Harvey tucked into the number two spot behind Sundby in the final descent into Lahti Stadium. As he exited the downhill he took the inside line left open by Sundby and sling-shotted into the lead and never looked back as he sprinted down the finishing stretch to the top step of the podium.

Canada's Alex Harvey wins GOLD [P] Thibault/NordicFocus
“It is unreal right now. I just wanted to stay out of trouble and not break any poles or skis. The last five kilometres you have to fight with everything you’ve got and keep focused because that’s the time in the race when energy is low. I was able to do that today,” said Harvey.

It was the second World Championship gold medal for Harvey, and his first individual at the premiere international race on the calendar in a non-Olympic year. He and Devon Kershaw first rocked the Nordic world in 2011 when they won the World Championship team sprint at the birthplace of the sport in Oslo, Norway.

Harvey now has an unprecedented five World Championship medals in four different race distances in both classic- and skate-skiing techniques. He also has 21 World Cup podium finishes in his storied career. His first individual World Cup medal also came in the 50-kilometre classic-ski race when he won the bronze in Trondheim, Norway in 2009 – just weeks after his World Cup breakthrough with teammate George Grey when they won the bronze in the team sprint in Whistler, B.C.

“This is the biggest race in cross-country skiing,” said Harvey. “It was so tough and fast out there. You need to have fast skis, great tactics, a bit of luck and some magic. Today I had the magic.”

The top American was Durango, Colorado’s Tad Elliott in 27th at 1:49:45.7 followed by Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., in 38th at 1:52:14.4; Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray, Alta., was 43rd (1:53:32.9); Noah Hoffman from Aspen, Colorado, was 50th (1:55:22.0); Knute Johnsgaard, of Whitehorse, placed 55th (1:58:32.2); and Kyle Bratrud from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, did not finish.

The Canadian squad now travels to Oslo, Norway for the final two World Cup races before coming home for the World Cup Finals in Quebec City, March 17-19.

Results here.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    “King of cross country?” I am not sure about that. Let’s do a comparison. Alex Harvey, 5 races, one medal-50km. Sergey Ustiugov, 5 races, 5 medals, including two golds-the 30km skiathlon and team sprint. I think Ustiugov wins this head to head at this particular Championship. He also won the Tour de Ski this season, winning the first 5 stages and the overall.

  2. ianism, Quebec, Canada says:

    ^^ i agree, as in the post-race press conference he said he wasn’t even planning on doing the 50 until that morning when he decided he felt good enough to compete. he felt he’d already accomplished everything he wanted.
    a) the 50k is regarded as the most prestigious race.
    b) the team sprint win was sheer luck. winning because both teams in front of you crash on the final corner? remember Steven Bradbury?
    c) though FIS grants him the victory in 5/7 stages of the TdS, he only ‘won’ the Obertsdorf pursuit because he crossed the line first. easy to do when you start first. he was actually only the 7th fastest around the course – Heikkinen beat him by 19s. check it:

  3. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    No doubt he was fortunate in the team sprint, however he was gaining quickly on the guys in front of him. He caught and passed Pellegrino, Iversen was barely hanging on. The only guy stronger than him in the final lap was Niskanen, but Ustiugov is a better finisher than. I guess we will never know what would have happened. Anyway, the US women were in a similar position in the individual sprint. First, Randall was the beneficiary of a phantom obstruction being leveled against Laurien Van Der Graaff of Switzerland. Randall finished 4th in her quarterfinal heat, but was bumped into a lucky loser time because of the bogus obstruction. Van Der Graaff was interviewed by Swiss TV afterwards and said she had no idea what FIS was looking at, because she never touched or cut anyone off. Then in the semis Falla led Matveeva and Nilsson, with Randall and Caldwell in 4th and 5th. Nilsson tried a very dumb move by trying to pass Matveeva on the sharp left hand turn in the closing stages. She went too far inside, cut Matveeva off, made contact and they both fell, allowing Randall and Caldwell to advance to the final. Randall ended up with the bronze in that race when she had no business being in that final. That was far more Ray Bradbury-like.

    Back to Ustiugov, yeah, I realize that handicap pursuit races can be unfair in terms of who finishes first vs who has the fastest time when moving up in the pack. That said, it’s been like that since the handicap pursuits were introduced in the early 90’s. You also have to understand that Heikkinen was skiing in a pack of skiers, where they traded leads and had the advantage of the slipstream, whereas Ustiugov was by himself. Not saying that he deserved it more than Heikkinen, but just putting things in perspective.

    Ustiugov got an official WC win for winning the overall Tour de Ski. The fastest climber on the day also gets a WC win to his name.

    Back to the worlds, again, Ustiugov won four more medals than Harvey, including one more gold. That should count for something, eh? Anyway, had the roles been reversed, who would we call ‘king of cross country?’ Let’s say Ustiugov only got one medal, a gold in the 50km, while Harvey won 5 medals (two golds)…Who would you crown ‘king’ then? Not having a dig at you, just wondering. Northug was crowned ‘king’ in 2013, despite finishing 21st in the 50km classic (Olsson won that one). Northug had a silver in the sprint, a gold in the 15km skate, a gold in the relay…

  4. Quebec Gold, Québec, Canada says:

    You should know that the expression “king of cross-country skiing” relates to the winner of the 50 km “marathon”, period.
    BRAVO Alex, nous sommes fier de toi! On se revoit à Québec!!

  5. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    I guess in Quebec 1 is more than 5. Good to know. Again, I wonder if the roles had been reversed, if Ustiugov would have been called ‘king’ with four less medals.

  6. ianism, Quebec, Canada says:

    *snorts* i can’t believe you’re making me explain this to you. ah well.

    ok so first, he was way back in 3rd and would have had bronze if they hadn’t crashed. it wasn’t his fault he was that far behind- he was behind because Kriukov had issues on his final lap. if it had been a 3-way race, he likely would have won. that is not in doubt. but don’t give me this ‘he was catching them’/’I guess we will never know’ nonsense. you can spout all the examples you want of Bradbury-esque wins and you can compare them all you want. i’m not going to get into that because it’s a) a waste of time and b) because it doesn’t prove my (rather nitpicky) point wrong. he still got the gold in a similar fashion to the australian. period.

    I am aware of the complexities of the pursuit races, but thanks for being condescending about it. it’s also worth noting that Ustiugov definitely knew he didn’t have to be the fastest on the day- he just had to beat Sundby. But the points stands, nitpicky as it is. he wasn’t the fastest. that’s just a fact. 56% of people in Montana seem to have issues with those (for the record, I’m only inserting this dig because you said “I guess in Quebec 1 is more than 5.” don’t be an ass. I’ll be one back.)

    as QC gold has already stated and you seemed to ignore, “You should know that the expression “king of cross-country skiing” relates to the winner of the 50 km “marathon”, period.” that’s just how it is. it’s not about the number of medals. This is why I said in my first comment that I agree with you. it’s BS: Ustiugov has been the best skier these world champs. But that’s just literally what the title means. So to answer your question… yes, Ustiugov would get that informal title if he had beaten Harvey to the line. and Harvey had won 4 other medals. For the record, (again) Chervotkin was the hero of the 50k in my opinion. He did more work than anyone. good day.

  7. ianism, Quebec, Canada says:

    ahem, excuse me… i just rewatched the Team Sprint… Ustiugov was that far back behind Niskanen because he was found rather lacking on the final climb. he won because Pellegrino is crap at double poling.

  8. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    LOL. Triggered Quebecois, love it. 5>1, 2 golds>1 gold. You can spin that any way you like, it won’t change a thing.

    Here is what Fischer Skis thought of it:

  9. ianism, Quebec, Canada says:

    triggered? haha that’s a weak comeback for being so thoroughly destroyed in an argument.
    I know what the numbers are. as I have said three (3) times now, I agree with you on that point.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.