Väljas punches his way to podium
Sport 01 Jan 2013  EWR
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Canadian finishes third at Tour de Ski stop in Switzerland while teammate Alex Harvey moves up overall standings

Gary Kingston, Postmedia News January 1, 2013
Racing the short and intense sprints on the World Cup cross-country skiing circuit can often feel like a ski cross or NASCAR race. It's often all about avoiding the carnage around you.

Len Väljas of Toronto did just that Tuesday to finish third in a skate-ski sprint at Val Mustair, Switzerland, in the third stage of the punishing Tour de Ski and capture Canada's first podium of the 2012-13 season.

The lanky skier, one of the tallest on the circuit at six-foot-six, said he was "super pumped" about his finish on a tricky 1.4-kilometre course that featured some sharp turns, a quick, steep uphill and a challenging downhill to the finish.

"This was our first race here; first time we skied the course was this morning," said the 24-year-old Väljas, who had struggled early in the season, in part because of a cast he was wearing to protect a broken hand. "The downhill was pretty technical. It was great for the fans. There was lots of crashing and bumping.

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