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Bjoergen wins WC title; Cologna takes men's crown

Associated Press

3/18/2012 12:59:52 PM

FALUN, Sweden -- Canadian Alex Harvey finished his World Cup cross-country ski season with a bang.

The 23-year-old native of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was second Sunday in the men's 15-kilometre pursuit event. Russian Petr Sedov won the race in 38 minutes 52.7 seconds, 5.35 seconds ahead of Harvey.

Swiss star Dario Cologna was a distant 18th, but it was more than enough to cement him the overall World Cup finals men's crown ahead of Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont.

Cologna's captured top spot with a combined time of one hour 32 minutes 33.1 seconds over the four events. The 29-year-old Kershaw finished 10th in Sunday's race to take second overall, 23.8 seconds behind Cologna.

"I crossed the line and thought 'Thank God it is done,' but I was also so proud right away of our entire team," said Kershaw. "This last month I had a lot of nervous energy, but finishing second at the World Cup finals was another huge goal this year.

"That is about as good as it gets."

The Canadian team won five medals in the final four races this year.

"I think it was really cool that Dario and I finished first and second on the overall and at the World Cup finals as well," said Kershaw. "He had an amazing year, but I think it was a great reflection of how hard we both worked each race this year."

Kershaw's silver medal Sunday capped an outstanding season. He came into the finale having won two gold and three bronze medals, bringing his career total to 15.

"To be second in the overall is crazy awesome and I'm just so proud and happy of what we accomplished as an entire team," said Kershaw. "I'm not sure how many skiers -- cross-country or alpine -- have ever been second overall in history.

"But it is not perfection. My dream is to have one Canadian men's skier on the Olympic podium. I don't care who it is. I just want it to happen.

"I know I have to take one month off, but I'm so motivated to get training again and get going again next year to keep building on this."

Harvey, who captured his first career World Cup win Friday, finished sixth in the overall standings. Toronto's Len Valjas finished 33rd in the 15-kilometre event to take 14th in the overall standings.

Triple Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen won the women's overall title, her third.

Bjoergen edged out her only remaining rival, Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland, during the 10-kilometre pursuit race Sunday, the last of four events that began with the Royal Palace Sprint in Stockholm's Old Town on Wednesday.

With the win, Bjoergen, overall champion in 2005 and 2006, put an end to Kowalczyk's World Cup reign. The Pole had won the overall title for the last three seasons.

Chandra Crawford, of Banff, Alta., finished 37th on Sunday to take No. 31 in the overall standings at 1:15:40.1 while Daria Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., was 43rd to claim 41st overall (1:17:27.5).