(Quebec) Alex Harvey is world champion! The Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges athlete won the 50-kilometer freestyle race of the Lahti World Championships on Sunday, during a magnificent race at the end of which he bearded the great Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Sergei Ustiugov. And to all the other best founders in the world, actually!
Crossing the finish line, Harvey raised his right arm to the sky with his fist shut, shouting his joy several times with “YEAH!” Feeling well. A little later, faithful to his habit, he celebrated by playing some “air guitar” chords in front of the crowd. It is the first career gold medal for the Quebec player in an individual event at the World Championships.
“It’s the best race of my life, that’s for sure,” Harvey said in a television interview immediately after the event.
With a few hundred meters to go, Sundby led the small group ahead of Harvey and Ustiugov. But – incredible! – The Norwegian champion has run out of juice, Harvey taking advantage to double him in the penultimate straight. Sundby was dropped quickly, then stumbled slightly before raising his foot a few meters from the line. He finished fifth.
In front of him, Harvey resisted the push of the powerful Ustiugov to get the coveted medal. He finished the race in 1:46: 28.9, six tenths of a second ahead of the Russian. Matti Heikkinen finished the podium just behind. Devon Kershaw (38 th ), Graeme Killick (43 th ) and Knute Johnsgaard (55 th ) were the other Canadians on track.
Harvey had already won a silver medal and two bronze medals in individual events in the previous World Championships. He also won gold in 2011 in team sprint.
Before Sunday in Lahti, his 12 th and 5 th places in individual events led him to believe in his chances of podium for the last race. He was not mistaken. His triumph in Finland is also the first Canadian victory in the 50km of the World Championships.
In a few days, return to the World Cup. After two races in Norway, including a sprint on Wednesday in Drammen, the world’s cross-country skiing elite will cross the Atlantic to complete its season on the Plains of Abraham from 17 to 19 March.