In his last outing in a sprint event, Antoine Cyr finished fourth in the team competition at the most recent World Championships with his teammate Graham Ritchie. The Quebecer wanted to continue his momentum on Tuesday, in the individual sprint in classic style at the World Cup in Drammen, Norway.

Not without difficulty, Cyr managed to be the only Canadian to reach the playoffs by virtue of his 27th place finish in qualifying. He was then 8.14 seconds behind Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who took first place.

“Qualifying is always the hardest part for me in a sprint. When I pass this stage, I know that the door is open. I gave absolutely everything, as I have to and it worked. It was a great success to start the day,” said Antoine Cyr in an interview with Sportcom.

The task was heavy for Cyr in his wave of quarter-finals when we found among others the Norwegian Paal Golberg, vice-world champion in the sprint, as well as the Frenchman Lucas Chanavat.

The Gatineau resident managed to stand up to these two tough opponents for a while, but he finally had to admit defeat, seeing Golberg and Chanavat finish first and second respectively. Cyr’s time of 2 min 39.9 s was therefore not enough for him to be among the two athletes rescued from this wave. He ends the day in 16th place.

Although he would have liked to do more, Cyr is quite satisfied with his performance and his level of fitness, having contracted a lung infection just before the World Championships.

“I was hoping to be able to do well, my quarter-final was quite difficult, but I was confident. The race has become very tactical and it suits me perhaps a little less in this situation. It feels good to be back in good shape, it was still a good day for me, but I would have liked to do a little more,” added Cyr.

In an almost all-Norwegian final, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo rode in for victory. He beat his compatriot Erik Valnes (1.79 seconds) and the Frenchman Richard Jouve (2.13 seconds) who took second and third place respectively.

On the women’s side, Liliane Gagnon was Canada’s only representative in the classic sprint. The 20-year-old cross-country skier finished 40th and was unable to secure her bye into the playoff rounds. She was 13.14 seconds from 30th and last place giving access to the quarter-finals.

Norwegian Kristine Stavaas Skistad won the final ahead of Sweden’s Jonna Sundling (1.22 seconds). Tiril Udnes Weng, also from Norway, finished third (1.83 seconds).

The World Cup circuit now heads to Falun, Sweden, where 10 kilometer, sprint and mixed relay events will be on the programme.

“I plan to compete in all three events over the weekend. The rest of the season looks busy, but I’m ready. I watch the mixed relay and I see an opportunity to run with Liliane during this race. I have lived with her for several years and it would be really nice to team up with her in the World Cup,” concluded Antoine Cyr.