Kershaw, Harvey in Hunt at Tour de Ski

In the prestigious Tour de Ski, a 10-day, gruelling cross-country ski event, Canadian Devon Kershaw is making quite the splash. In the first two days of 2011, the Sudbury, Ont. native won two silver medals while challenging the world’s best skiers. He sits in the No. 2 overall spot in the Tour de Ski.

No Canadian has ever come close to finishing the Tour de Ski in the top-3 overall.

After finishing 37th in the opening race of the Tour de Ski, Kershaw has put it in another gear and proved that he is one the of the world’s best cross-country skiers. He closed the gap in the 15 km race on New Year’s Day to capture silver in Oberhof, Germany. Afterward, a beaming Kershaw said it may have been the best race of his career.

The two-time Olympian did not miss a beat on January 2 despite switching from a distance event to a sprint. In Oberstdorf, Germany, Kershaw again won silver, passed by only inches at the finish line. The only skiers to beat him last weekend were an Olympic champion and the overall World Cup sprint leader. Good company, indeed.

On the third straight race day on January 3, Kershaw finished 7th. With that top-10 result, he kept his No. 2 overall position. Meanwhile, up-and-coming star Alex Harvey (Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que.) finished one notch ahead in 6th spot – and as of Tuesday sat in 5th position overall. Kershaw said his 22-year-old teammate is the best pure skier he has seen come through the Canadian program. “He is the top dog. He will be here long after me, and nobody should think different,” he said.

At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Kershaw memorably surged to a 5th-place result in the gruelling 50 km mass start event. It was by far his best individual Olympic finish, and was the best any Canadian man had ever finished in an Olympic cross-country ski race. In World Cups, Kershaw has five career medals, four of which have come in stages of the Tour de Ski.

There are eight stages in all with the finale set for January 9, featuring a race up Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Today, they had a well-deserved day off.

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