Harvey’s silver-medal finish on the final day and performance all weekend secured him second place in the Quebec City mini-series and maintained his third place rankings in the men’s FIS overall standings. Klaebo also picked up the U23 World Cup Crystal Globe adding more lustre to his season.
“It was a good feeling to be able to close 23 seconds on Klaebo so fast. I did the work on that first lap. I expected it. They didn’t pull at all – that’s part of the game,” continued Harvey, whose first-lap pace was too much for Norway’s Finn Haagen Krogh, in fourth at the start.
Krogh who faded to 70th was suddenly replaced by a dog who came out of nowhere and wanted to play tag with the three skiers. “That was crazy,” said Dyrhaug after the race. “It was dangerous.” Harvey commented that dogs had darted out in the middle of bike races but he’d never seen one on a ski course. “Luckily no one crashed,” said Harvey.
He added that Quebec City was a great mini tour. “It’s cool to be able to win here in Quebec. I like the course, there’s a lot of ups and downs. The way they organized it as a World Cup – it’s cool. It’s amazing to go with Harvey. But I’m also really happy the season is over and looking forward to going home.”
During the race, it was obvious Harvey was not going to let Klaebo ski away from him on home territory, but Dyrhaug made it clear that he was not going to do any pre-race strategizing with Harvey. “If I want to help Alex, I would get in a lot of trouble with the rest of the Norwegians,” he quipped with typical understated Scandinavian humour.
With the three leaders away the reference to cycling was not lost. “Nobody wanted to be at the front at the top of the last climb,”Harvey explained afterwards. “It was kind of like cycling. If I went to the front, they could slingshot by me. I really wanted to be in second place when we got to that point. I had to position myself, and luckily I was able to do that.”
Dyrhaug agreed with Harvey. “Nobody wanted to start first on this downhill because you can be attacked from behind,” shared Dyrhaug about their sudden stop, which actually looked like a track stand on a velodrome. Dyrhaug added that, despite the incredibly fast pace Harvey and he set in their first 8km, the race was also very tactical. “There were a lot of attacks and it was an exciting race to be part of. I had my tactics, Johannes had his and Alex had his. It was a really cool fight. In the end I thought I should take it but twenty metres from the finishline, they came from both sides.”
Harvey knew he’d be on the podium barring any unexpected circumstances and hearing his name chanted by the crowd spurred him on. “It was really fun – quite the race. It’s rare that I have known mid-way through a race that the worse I could do would still put me on the podium – it was great to know it was in the bank. I knew I could gain 23 seconds and catch Johannes, but Klaebo is the best sprinter in the world. He has the crystal globe at home. I lunged with everything I had so there is nothing to be ashamed of. I knew I was going to be second or first. It’s been a really good day and I have really good skis.”
For a change on the World Cup circuit, Harvey was home, and what a homecoming he received. His name reverberated through the crowds as he and the Norwegians flew around the track to end the season.
American skier Erik Bjornsen was the next best North American at 25th at 2:19 minutes back, but when his start time was subtracted from Klaebo’s, he had the 11th fastest time of the day – something he couldn’t stop smiling about. “It’s crazy. I never would have thought this, but I was with a strong group. I was in the lead for a little bit, and with a kilometer and a half to go I tried to get into position.
“Eleventh on time of the day – definitely that’s my best result. I felt like I was flying for the first lap. There were fast guys, Heikkinen, Kershaw, Andrew Young. It was so fun but it was so weird.” Bjornsen said he was worried he might not have the legs for the whole race, “But luckily I felt like I was racing well.”
Kershaw plans on contesting for a spot on the 2018 Olympic team. If he makes it, it will be his fourth Olympic Games. “An Olympic medal is all the team is missing at this point. It’s a tall order for me but I’m ready to support Alex who’s ready to take that step.”
The Canadians head straight to Canmore, Alta. where the National Championships have already commenced while the Americans end their North American season at the SuperTour in Alaska at the end of March.