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Harvey and Kershaw in fifth at cross-country skiing WC

The Canadian Press

12/7/2012 7:12:59 PM

QUEBEC - Canada's Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw clawed their way into fifth place on Friday in a World Cup skate-ski team sprint race on home snow in Quebec City.

The Canadians led the fastest 10 teams into the head-to-head finals after winning their semifinal heat, but Harvey spun out of control after Swedish sprint star Emil Joensson caught an edge on the soft snow just ahead of him.

"I knew right there it was done. When your hand touches the snow in sprint racing the gap is just too big to make up," said Harvey, from St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que. "That is sprint racing. The Swedes are two of the best out here and you never would expect him to go down, but there is nothing you can do. You need to find your luck in sprinting."

Skiers had to complete three legs each, skiing twice around the 800-metre track (6 x 1.6 kilometres), loaded with steady climbs, tight corners, bridges and one of the first jumps ever to be thrown into a sprint race.

Harvey recovered from the accident and closed the sizable gap, chalking up the second fifth-place finish of the season for the two Canucks.

"There is a lot of big guys out here racing with not much space, and there is a lot of knocking around that goes on, so crashes happen," said Kershaw, from Sudbury, Ont. "Everyone out here wants to win, but we really wanted to win today. It is too bad, but you just can't go down in sprinting."