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Canada’s Harvey 4th as Norway’s Klaebo Takes 15km CL Mass Start Victory in Quebec City

by Laura Robinson
Dyrhaug, Harvey, Klaebo [P] Reese Brown
March 18, 2017 (Quebec City, Que.) –Canada’s Alex Harvey looked destined for another podium in Quebec City in men’s 15km CL mass start as massive crowds cheered him on to a fourth-place finish. Norway’s Johannes Hoesflet Klaebo claimed the victory for his first distance World Cup win taking the final sprint to the line over teammate Nicholas Dyrhaug with Russia’s Alexander Bessmertnykh third on the podium.

Finishing sprint [P] Reese Brown

“It was amazing today. The crowds was great and bigger than yesterday,” said Harvey. “Anytime you have the #1 bib at home is something special. You can’t be on the podium every race. Anytime I’m in the top ten, I’m really happy.”

Klaebo Wins [P] Reese Brown

Klaebo, who leads the Quebec City mini tour, is a wunderkind who only turned twenty in October 2016 and is the youngest ever to win the Sprint Cup crystal globe. “The plan was to ski in the front to get as many bonus seconds as possible for the overall position. It will be a tough battle on Sunday,” said Klaebo.

Fans [P] Reese Brown
Brilliant sunshine was the order of the day as a mini-Norwegian army was up front surrounding Harvey as Norway’s Sjur Roethe placed 5th with Swiss legend, Dario Cologna, in sixth. Cologna turned 31 this year and he and Klaebo are eleven years apart, but were separated by less than two seconds at the finish in the lead group of 22 skiers.

Heikkinen and Kershaw [P] Reese Brown
Fellow Canuck Devon Kershaw skied to 28th place at 1:08 minutes back, the second North American. “I’m a little frustrated because I had a good body, but broke a pole near the start and fell back to the sixties. I’m happy that I could work my way back up into the points but I felt better than my result today. The crowds were awesome. I don’t think we’ve ever had crowds like this in Canada. The venue is fantastic here and bring the skiing to the people, I tip my hat to the organizers. They did a great job and it is a great event.”

Bjornsen w/Gelso [P] Reese Brown
The top American was Erik Bjornsen in 31st just out of the points at 1:16:8 minutes back. “It’s so fun to be racing here in North America. I love having people cheering for me and I really feel like we have a lot of fans out there. It felt like it was rally car racing at the start. There were people snapping poles and falling all over the place. I went out hard because I needed to get into position. Starting with bib #55 was not ideal. I worked real hard on that first lap and I definitely paid for it a little bit, but I knew that’s what I needed to do.”

Killick [P] Reese Brown

Canada’s Graeme Killick was just behind Bjornsen in 32nd followed by a posse of including Americans Mathew Phillip Gelso in 37th, Andrew Newell in 45th, Scott Patterson in 46th, Noah Hoffman in 48th, Benjamin Lustgarten was 49th and David Norris rounded out the top 50.

Klaebo has a 22.8-second lead coming into Sunday’s free technique 15 km pursuit start competition to end the 2017 FIS Cross-Country World Cup season. Dyrhaug is second at 0.5 seconds ahead of Harvey is third.

“It’s doable and tomorrow [the pursuit] will be a real man hunt with Klaebo. I don’t expect any help from Dyrhaug,” said Harvey. “We’ll see who wakes up the best tomorrow. Of course I know the course well as I used to race here as a kid – both for running and cross-country skiing.”

Full results here.
Mini Tour Standings here.

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