POSTED: Friday March 18th 2011

Devon Kershaw Leads Canadians on Difficult Day at World Cup Finals

Kershaw finishes in 22nd in 3.3-kilometre prologue

FALUN, Swe.—Canada’s Devon Kershaw was one of two Canadians to break into the top-25 on a difficult day in the men’s 3.3-kilometre cross-country classic-ski prologue to kick-off the weekend component of the World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden on Friday.

The 28-year-old Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., battled the challenging course whichclimbes the punishing Mördarbacken hill and then descends to the stadium. Kershaw clocked a time of 11 minutes, 18.6 seconds to finish 22nd. Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., broke a strap on his pole at the start, but was the only other Canadian to squeak into the top-25 taking the final spot in that elite group after crossing the finish line with a time of 11:20.0.

“It is a difficult distance that we don’t normally ski so you see some sprinters come to the top and then other distance skiers do well in the race too,” said Justin Wadsworth, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “Everyone is feeling healthy. Tomorrow is a new day and I think we still have a couple of podium chances yet before the end of the week.”

Russia’s IIia Chernousov won the men’s race with a time of 10:51.8, while Norway’s Petter Northug was second at 10:54.7 and Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin locked up the bronze medal at 10:56.0.

Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., finished 39th (11:33.1), while Graham Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, finished 40th (11:35.7).

Perianne Jones, of Almonte, Ont., was the lone Canadian women to enter the 2.5-kilometre prologue. The 26-year-old Jones finished 50th with a time of 10:21.3.

It has been a memorable week for the 2010 Olympian who posted her best-ever finish on Wednesday when she was 12th in a sprint race. Jones now sits 28th overall in the World Cup Finals.

“I was really excited about my result earlier this week,” said Jones. “It was the first time I raced internationally in a while and to get into the semi finals was a huge confidence booster for sure. I wanted to stay home this year and not go on the World Cup until I felt like I belonged. We stuck with the plan, and I’m pretty satisfied with the improvements I have made since last year.”
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won the women’s race with a time of 9:01.6. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk skied to the silver medal at 9:12.2, while Norway’s Therese Johaug rounded out the women’s podium in third at 9:14.5.

The World Cup Finals continue on Saturday in Sweden with the pursuit races.

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 51,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those onCanada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners - Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Teck Resources Ltd. and Statoil - along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at

Complete World Cup Results:

Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:

1. IIia Chernousov, RUS, 10:51.8; 2. Petter Northug, NOR, 10:54.7; 3.Maxim Vylegzhanin, RUS, 10:56.0; 4. Evgeniy Belov, RUS, 11:00.0; 5. Eldar Roenning, NOR, 11:01.4.

Other Canadian Results:

22. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont., 11:18.6; 25. Alex Harvey, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., 11:20.0; 39. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 11:33.1; 40. Graham Nishikawa, Whitehorse, 11:35.7.

Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:

1. Marit Bjoergen, NOR, 9:01.6; 2. Justyna Kowalczyk, POL, 9:12.2; 3.Therese Johaug, NOR, 9:14.5; 4. Anna Haag, SWE, 9:19.0; 5. Arianna Follis, ITA, 9:24.4.

Canadian Results:

50. Perianne Jones, Almonte, Ont., 10:21.3

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Keywords · Cross Country · Canada · Skiing · Devon Kershaw · World Cup Finals · Falun · Sweden

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