Canada's Kershaw wins first gold

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:32 PM ET

After winning back-to-back silver medals on the Tour de Ski recently, Canadian cross-country skier Devon Kershaw took that huge extra step Wednesday.

Kershaw, from Sudbury, Ont., won his first-ever World Cup gold medal by finishing first in the Tour's skate-ski sprint race in Toblach, Italy.

It is only the third Nordic skiing gold won by a Canadian male. Pierre Harvey won two World Cup races, in 1987 and '88, and Ivan Babikov won the final stage of the Tour de Ski in 2009.

"I'm thrilled," Kershaw said. "I'm more than thrilled. I absolutely cannot believe it. "(Coach) Justin (Wadsworth) kept telling me all year to be patient and the win would come. I wanted to believe him and I just kept staying with the plan. This is just unreal."

Kershaw heaped praise on his ski technicians for their part in the golden victory.

"I had the best skis in the world today," he said. "Our technicians are the best in the business and are the key to these podium results."

Kershaw entered Wednesday's final as one of the lucky losers, the fastest finishers after the automatic qualifying spots.

In the final, he sprinted to the lead, then hung on as Swiss star Dario Cologna closed in. Cologna finished second while Petter Northug of Norway was third.

Kershaw is second to Cologna in the overall Tour de Ski standings after five of eight stages.

GOUGH GETS BRONZE

Canada's Alex Gough has won her third bronze medal in four races on the World Cup luge circuit.

Gough, 23, had a two-run time of one minute, 42.215 seconds Wednesday on a reconstructed track in Konigssee, Germany.

Germany also was the site of the Calgarian's first career World Cup medal in December.

"I had really good training runs this week and felt good coming into the race," Gough said. "This track has a really flat start so the hard work I did on my starts this summer really paid off. It was great to get back on the podium."

Outside of a seventh-place finish at the Calgary World Cup, the two-time Olympian has been exceptional during the month, sliding onto the podium at World Cups in Winterberg and Park City, Utah.

"I went into the season hoping that a podium would come," Gough said. "Once it did, I experienced what it was like to be there and I also learned that I can be there. I know it is not going to happen every week, but things have changed in that it is the goal every week now."

The dominant German women's team who won its 103rd consecutive World Cup race. Natalie Geisenberger finished on top with a combined time of 1:41.756, while Tatjana Hufner won silver with a time of 1:41.776.

World Cup rookie Arianna Jones of Calgary finished 14th at 1:44.052.

The men's doubles race also hit the track in Konigssee. Germany's Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt posted the winning time of 1:41.362. Italy's Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber were second at 1:41.448, while Austria's Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger locked up third spot at 1:41.607.

Justin Snith of Calgary and Tristan Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., were 17th with a combined time of 1:43.508.

The World Cup continues Thursday in Konigssee with the men's singles and team relay races.

McBROOM RECOVERING

Canadian skier Kelly McBroom is recovering from surgery to repair a broken leg after crashing hard in a World Cup super-G training run in Saalbach, Austria, earlier this week.

McBroom, a 21-year-old Canmore, Alta., broke her left tibia in the crash and required emergency surgery. She is expected to miss the rest of the World Cup season.

"I hear that she's already talking about coming back -- about skiing again," women's team head coach Hugues Ansermoz said. "She's never had an injury-free season and that was her big goal this year. She wasn't able to achieve that but she really loves the sport. She has a great passion for it."

McBroom was coming off a serious injury on her right knee and only returned to racing last month in Lake Louise.

CANADIAN BIATHLETES 11th

The Canadian men's biathlon team finished 11th in the World Cup relay event Wednesday in Oberhof, Germany.

Marc-André Bedard, of Valcartier, Que., Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, of Shannon, Que., Regina's Scott Perras and Brendan Green of Hay River, N.W.T., battled through tough weather conditions to finish with a combined time of one hour, 27 minutes, 25.8 seconds.

"The winds were so strong that it made standing shooting extremely difficult because it was gusting so bad," Le Guellec said. "It was best not to fight the wind today but take your penalties, do the laps, and make up your time that way. We had fast skis so was a good day for our team."

Germany finished first in 1:23:53.0 while the Czech Republic grabbed the silver medal with a time of 1:26:15.8. Norway rounded out the men's podium in third at 1:26:17.0.


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