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Canada’s Kevin Drury earns silver through World Cup ski track in Alberta

NAKISKA, ALTA. –

Cross-country skier Kevin Drury feels he’s getting back into form at the right time.

The 33-year-old from Toronto won his first World Cup medal for the second time at the Nakiska ski resort since breaking his leg during a race on December 20, 2020.

The Canadian, who won the men’s cross-country skiing championship at the 2019-20 World Cup overall, trails Sweden’s David Mobaerg on the steep Mighty Peace track west of Calgary.

The second FIFA World Cup in Nakiska is the final catch-up for hosts Canada ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month. Canadians will not attend two races in Sweden next week due to concerns about COVID-19.

The country has a lot of cross-country skiing talent, so there is internal competition in Nakiska for the Olympic landing.

Drury said his leg is completely healed and hasn’t slowed him down, but it took him days of training to get it back in 2021. He passed his cross-country skiing course for the first time. After the injury was a training session in November in China.

“I went about 35 days behind the rest of my group,” says Drury. “I’m just trying to restore my top speed, build my confidence on the track, find a balance in my aggressiveness. It’s starting to trend in the right direction.”

Tobias Mueller of Germany came in third. Drury was the only Canadian to make it to the final Friday.

Top two skiers in each knockout round. After winning the quarter-finals, Drury overcame France’s Bastien Midol in the second leg semi-final to take second place and progress to the four-man final.

“I felt him when he went inside on the last turn we called the GS section and I just said to myself ‘no, I’m not backing down,'” Drury said.

“I didn’t have the best start today. We knew there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities going by today just because of how fast it went and how fast it was going, but I somehow got on with it. figure out some way to get a few people in key situations.”

Sandra Naeslund of Sweden was in the four-woman final, ahead of Fanny Smith of Switzerland and Daniela Maier of Germany in third.

Ottawa’s Hannah Schmidt is the top Canadian woman in fifth, and teammate Courtney Hoffos of Windermere, BC, is sixth.

Seven Canadian women were among the 16 who made it out of qualifying on Thursday, but their rankings were besieged by an unlucky Friday.

Olympic gold medalist Marielle Thompson of Whistler, BC, hung on rollers out of the starting gate and failed to make it through to the quarterfinals.

Hoffos and India Sherret of Cranbrook, BC, crashed into each other in the first leg, sending Sherret into the safety net in their quarter-final.

Phelan of Mont-Tremblant, Que., 2018 Olympic silver medalist, and Schmidt both slipped in their semifinals.

“It’s a ski cross,” said Schmidt. “Anything can happen.” “You get lucky some times. You don’t get lucky other times.

“Today, the race here is really tough. The conditions are tough.”

Defending World Cup champion Reece Howden of Cultus Lake, BC, 2014 Olympic champion Brady Leman of Calgary and Chris Del Bosco of Montreal all failed to make it past the men’s quarterfinals.

The Canadians have one more chance at home on Saturday as Drury predicts the race will be even tougher.

“The hardest part about double biking is that everyone in the field gets to see a video of the previous race,” he said. “Everybody on Day 2 was a little more aggressive. People saw where you could get through and where you couldn’t.

“I’m just going to do my best and try to find a starting point and get ahead. If I get ahead, I don’t think anyone will catch me. If not, it’s going to be a battle mentality. my chance when they come and take it.”

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