Devon Kershaw Fights for 10th Spot in World Cup Cross-Country Ski Marathon

OSLO, Nor.—Devon Kershaw moved into second spot in the overall World Cup standings following a 10th-place finish in the men’s 50-kilometre classic-ski race in Oslo, Norway on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Canuck finished just four seconds off the podium in an epic marathon on snow, which took the top skiers in the world on a grueling journey through the Nordic highways lined with thousands of passionate fans at the birthplace of the sport.

Tactically managing his way through the congested pack of the world’s best skiers, Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., clocked a time of 2:32:36.4.

“It was a really hard day. This is the toughest course on the World Cup and to be out there for over two hours in warm and slow conditions makes it even more difficult,” said Kershaw.

Kershaw matched stride-for-stride with the world’s best throughout the race. Battling fatigue after missing his final three feeds, Kershaw cramped up in his final lap around the historic course.

Sitting in sixth spot with 100-metres to go, the Canadian was hungry for the medals, but could not respond to the final surge down the stretch.

“It was pretty crazy out there. Sometimes that happens, but it is not good to miss feeds when it is that warm and you are out there forover two hours,” said Kershaw.

Norway’s Eldar Roenning was first to cross the finish line with a time of 2:32:27.1. Overall World Cup leader, Dario Cologna of Switzlerand, grabbed the silver medal with a time of 2:32:27.7, while Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sudby rounded out the podium in third at 2:32:32.9.

Kershaw headed into the Oslo stop on the World Cup in third spot in the overall standings, thanks to his two gold and two bronze medals thisyear. Focused on the podium, the two-time Olympian was also determined to grab valuable bonus points up for grabs at six checkpoints throughout Saturday’s race. Kershaw racked up 85 points to move into second spot in the overall standings as the Canadian now charges into the World Cup finals in Sweden next week.

“Now with four races to go, my goal is definitely to finish in the top-three in the overall,” said Kershaw, who also finished fourth in the Tour de Ski this year. “I was all over the bonus points today because I want to stay in that top three. This is the big goal for the year for me.”

Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., maintained his seventh place in the overall after a 29th-place finish in Norway. Harvey, who won a silver medal earlier this month in Lahti, Finland, clocked a time of 2:33:05.1. Calgary’s Kevin Sandau was the only other Canadian to finish the race, placing 47th at 2:38.10.

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., and Toronto’s Len Valjas did not finish the race.

The World Cup continues on Sunday in Oslo, Norway with the women’s 30-kilometre race.