Canadian triple: Healthy, fit and hungry for the podium
The most underrated rockstars on the Canadian sport scene these days are a trio of Cross-Country ski athletes ready to embark on an epic 11-day journey for gold of their own while taking on the world’s best in the sixth edition of the Tour de Ski.
Canada’s Ivan Babikov, Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw will stride into the spotlight when the world’s best all-round cross-country ski athletes kick off the ultimate grind in high-performance sport in Oberhof, Germany on December 29. Modeled after the Tour de France in cycling, the feature event on the Nordic calendar will test the world’s best physically and mentally in nine grueling races that will cover more than 100-kilometres of terrain while competing in five cities throughout Germany and Italy to determine the king of cross-country skiing.
Healthy, fit and hungry for the podium, Canada’s triple threat on the Tour de Ski are focused on fighting for the podium at each stage while contending for spots in the top-10 in the overall Tour. The reigning world champions in the team sprint, Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey, had a coming out party of sorts at last year’s Tour. Kershaw led the way with four medals, and became the third Canadian male ever to win a World Cup race. He also added two silvers and a bronze medal en route to finishing seventh overall, while Harvey was 10th. The relentless Babikov won the final stage three years ago – a punishing climb up Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Manufacturing a well-rounded attack with the ability to medal on any given day, Cross Country Canada will pull out two secret weapons in its continued goal to lead the world in athlete preparation.
A key to success on the Tour is recovery, which Canada excels at as a team. For the second straight year, the Canucks have rented a Tour bus where athletes are able to relax, stretch, eat, receive massage therapy and sleep in beds without distraction while travelling between venues, providing the “rock star” feeling in hopes of gaining an edge on the competition.
Cross-Country Canada has also assembled one of the most experienced and closely-knit wax teams on the World Cup circuit with six of the top techs on the planet focused on each of the three Canadians. With no margin for error allowed on ski preparation if you want to contend for the overall Tour lead, the Canadians will have the best athlete-to-waxer ratio for each Tour stage.
Ivan Babikov – Two-Time Olympian, World Cup Champion (final stage of 2009 Tour)
Alex Harvey – World Champion, Three-Time World Cup Medallist
Devon Kershaw – World Champion, World Cup Champion, Winner of four medals in 2011 Tour
Source: CrossCountry Canada