Ivanie Blondin wins second gold medal in mass start this season at ISU World Cup Long Track stage in Kazakhstan
Speed Skating Canada – Astana, Kazakhstan, December 4, 2016 – Ivanie Blondin won gold in the women’s mass start, her third medal in that event in three World Cup weekends so far this season, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Blondin won the race ahead of Japan’s Nana Takagi, who she came in contact with in the last straight leading to the finish line. South Korea’s Bo-Reum Kim collected silver.
This is Blondin’s second win in three Worlds Cups this season in this event which will make its Olympic debut at the 2018 Games. The skater from Ottawa, ON, also won the first mass start of the season in Harbin, China. At the second World Cup stage in Nagano, Japan, she earned silver behind Bo-Reum Kim.
“It was a fast-paced race, there was a lot of bumping going on but I felt comfortable out there. I felt ready, I felt happy and excited to be out on the ice, although I was a little bit nervous before the race because I knew Irene Schouten was going to be out there – this was her first mass start this season,” said Ivanie Blondin about the Dutch skater, one of her main rivals in recent seasons in the mass start event.
“During the last lap, the Dutch skaters tried the same strategy that the Japanese skaters used at last season’s World Championships, so I knew how to react. I was able to find my way between the two Dutch skaters and place myself in good position for the last stretch,” added Blondin. “Things were sketchy at the end, but I was able to defend my spot well, I was aggressive, I did what I had to do to win today’s race.”
In the men’s mass start, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, was eliminated at the semifinal stage, where he finished 10th. Only the top eight skaters qualified for the final.
McLean is 7th and Dubreuil, 8th
In the second 500m event of the weekend, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, finished in 8th place with a time of 34.84 seconds. It was the first time this season that he skated under the 35-second mark in that distance at a World Cup.
Russian skaters Ruslan Murashov (34.52) and Pavel Kulizhnikov (34.59) respectively won gold and silver. Poland’s Artur Was (34,68) collected bronze.
“I’m happy I was able to bounce back, going from next-to-last yesterday to a solid top-10 result today,” said Laurent Dubreuil, who was 19th in the first 500m on Saturday. “It’s not a medal or a top-5, but it’s my best 500m this season from a technical standpoint, my best one in terms of executing my race plan. I may have not been super aggressive, but I skated well. If I can manage to skate well while adding a little bit of aggressiveness, I think it could earn me a medal in upcoming races.”
In the women’s 500m, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, was the top Canadian with a 7th-place finish. She came up with her fastest time at the World Cup level so far this season, 38.107.
“I’m focusing on some technical cues in my races and a more positive mental approach,” said McLean. “I’m starting to be a bit more comfortable and to have some fun out there.”
No less than four Canadian skaters took part in the women’s 500m on Sunday. Marsha Hudey (38.19) of White City, SK, finished one rank behind McLean in 8th place while Kaylin Irvine (39.14) of Calgary, AB, was 18th and Noémie Fiset (39.29) of Quebec City, QC, was 19th.
“I was really proud to be one of four Canadian women in the A group today. That was special. I’m proud of how hard and how focused my teammates are, it’s inspiring,” added McLean.
In the men’s 1500m, Vincent de Haître of Ottawa, who won gold in Saturday’s 1000m, finished 15th with a time of 1:47.57. As for Denny Morrison (1:48.35) of Fort St. John, B.C., he ended up in 20th place.
“I tried a different race strategy in today’s 1500m and it didn’t work out. But it’s important to try out different approaches, because that’s how you find out which one is best in key situations,” said Vincent de Haître. “Still, I’m happy with how my weekend went overall.”
In the women’s 1500m, Isabelle Weidemann (1:59.87) of Ottawa, ON, and Brianne Tutt (1:59.90) of Airdrie, AB, respectively finished 15th and 16th.
Boisvert-Lacroix and Bloemen barely miss qualifying for A division
In the men’s B group 500m race, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, came within only five thousandths of a second away from earning a spot in the A group for the next race in that distance, to be held next weekend in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Boisvert-Lacroix registered a time of 35.088 while Japan’s Yuma Murakami, who was third, finished the race in 35.083.
Only the top three skaters in the B group earned spots in the A division for the next race.
“It was an OK race. Small technical points here and there but all in all, I was beaten by a skater who had a better race, simple as that,” said Boisvert-Lacroix.
Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, AB, went through a similar scenario in the men’s 1500m B group, where he finished fourth in 1:47.78.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Mass Start W
GOLD – Ivanie Blondin
7. Heather McLean (38.10)
8. Marsha Hudey (38.19)
18. Kaylin Irvine (39.14)
19. Noémie Fiset (39.29)
8. Laurent Dubreuil (34.84)
15. Vincent de Haître (1:47.57)
20. Denny Morrison (1:48.35)
15. Isabelle Weidemann (1:59.87)
16. Brianne Tutt (1:59.90)
Mass Start M
Jordan Belchos: eliminated in semifinals
500m M (B)
4. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.088)
12. Alexandre St-Jean (35.40)
13. Christopher Fiola (35.42)
18. William Dutton (35.47)
1500m M (B)
4. Ted-Jan Bloemen (1:47.78)
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
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