LAHTI, Finland — Canadian skier Alex Harvey won the men’s 50-kilometer freestyle cross-country ski race at the Nordic world championships Sunday.
Harvey timed his final attack perfectly, taking the lead on the last corner and holding off Russian Sergei Ustyugov in the final sprint to win by 0.6 seconds. The Canadian celebrated in exuberant style, playing air guitar in front of the crowd.
“It was mayhem out there, it was such fast conditions that there was a really big group the whole way, so everyone was fighting to be in the front,” Harvey told Finnish broadcaster YLE. “People hitting each other’s skis, the poles, so my goal was just to try to stay out of trouble.”
Matti Heikkinen of Finland was 0.8 seconds further back for bronze, with a surprise fourth place for British skier Andrew Musgrave.
It was Harvey and Canada’s first world championship gold in cross-country since 2011, when he and Devon Kershaw won the team sprint event.
“I’ve been feeling good all week and really all year ... but the magic wasn’t there,” Harvey said. “Today everything was there including the magic.”
Ustyugov finished this year’s championships with five medals, two of them gold.
It was the last event of the Nordic world championships, which saw Norway take seven victories to top the medal table.
Marit Bjoergen finished with four gold medals as her Norwegian team won all six women’s cross-country events, while there were also four golds for German skier Johannes Rydzek in Nordic combined.
Durango’s Tad Elliott was the top U.S. finisher. His 27th-place effort is the best by an American skier since 2003.