Canada's Antoine Cyr sprints to career-best finish at cross-country World Cup

Canada's Antoine Cyr sprints to career-best finish at cross-country World Cup

Canadian cross-country skier Antoine Cyr posted a career-best finish at a World Cup event in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Friday.

The 24-year-old reached his first career sprint final, finishing sixth at the Tour de Ski stop. Cyr had previously only ever qualified for the heats on two other occasions but failed to advance.

The Gatineau, Que., native won his first ever World Cup heat on Friday, finishing first in his quarterfinal race. He then followed that up with a second-place result in his semifinal heat to set the stage for his new career-best.

"Today was unreal. It is only the third time in my career to make the heats, and to be able to throw down like this is a big confidence boost for sure," Cyr said in a release. "As an athlete, you always want to be the best version of yourself on any given day, and today, I feel like I was really, really close to my best."

Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won his fifth straight event at the 2023 Tour de Ski and strengthened his grip on the overall lead heading into the final weekend. Sweden's Calle Halfvarsson skied to second place, while Italy's Simone Mocellini finished third.

"I was a bit overwhelmed in the final [lining up] with all the big names in our sport," Cyr said. "I know though if I get another opportunity like this, I will use this experience to my advantage."

WATCH | Val di Fiemme men's and women's sprint final classic:

Despite this being his best World Cup result, Cyr has a bit of experience with top ten finishes. In 2022 he teamed up with Graham Ritchie for the Team Sprint event at the most recent Olympic Winter Games in Beijing where they came in fifth.

Ritchie (Parry Sound, Ont.), did not have as good of a Friday as his Olympic partner, finishing 25th overall in the sprint.

In other Canadian men's results, Russell Kennedy, of Canmore, Alta., was 35th. Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.) qualified 39th, while Remi Drolet (Rossland, B.C.) was 54th and Sam Hendry (Canmore, Alta.) 64th.

On the women's side, Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., was the only Canadian to earn a spot in the heats, clocking the 28th fastest qualifying time.

The 27-year-old's day came to an early end after finishing sixth in her heat and ending up 29th on the day.

The Norwegian women swept the podium with Lotta Weng finishing first across the line, while Tiril Weng was second and Mathilde Myhrvold third.

Dahria Beatty (Whitehorse, Y.T.) was 34th.

Antoine Cyr is in 11th place overall on the men's tour, while Katherine Stewart-Jones is 20th in the women's standings.