Laurent Dubreuil, Vincent de Haître come up with top Canadian individual performances, Saturday, at World Cup Long Track in China
Speed Skating Canada – Ivanie Blondin wins 1000m race in B group and qualifies for group A
Harbin, China, November 12, 2016 – Laurent Dubreuil and Vincent de Haître were the top Canadians of the day as they both finished in sixth place, respectively in the first of two men’s 500m races and in the 1000m, while the men’s team pursuit squad also finished sixth and Ivanie Blondin won the women’s 1000m in the B group, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating stage held until Sunday in Harbin, China.
In the men’s 500m, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, skated to a time of 35.34 seconds, good for sixth place. Roman Krech from Kazakhstan won gold in 35.07, followed by Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov (35.10) and Dutch skater Kai Verbij (35.19).
“To see that the first and third skaters on the podium were in the first two pairings shows that it may be easier to concentrate on your execution when you haven’t yet seen the other skaters. I may have fallen into that trap,” said Dubreuil, who was second in final overall standings in the 500m distance following the 2014-2015 World Cup season.
“I had a good race plan and my focus was good. But during the first 200m, I lost that focus. Still, in the end, I’m satisfied with a sixth-place finish to start off the season. Especially considering that I can do better in terms of execution.”
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, QC, the bronze medalist in that distance at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships, had a tougher day with a 19th-place finish in 36.33.
“Things didn’t go as well as I could have hoped for,” said Boisvert-Lacroix. “There were two false starts in my pairing and the third time, I simply started skating a very bad race. My blades broke this week, so I need to get used to the new ones. On Sunday, I’ll try something different. As soon as I will find the right adjustments to make under my feet, I’ll be fast again.”
William Dutton (35.52) of Humboldt, SK, was 10th, Gilmore Junio (35.71) of Calgary, AB, was 13th and Christopher Fiola (35.75) of Quebec City, QC, was 15th. Fiola was skating in his first-ever races on the World Cup circuit, Saturday, as he took part in the 500m and the 1000m.
“My first day went kind of weird,” said Fiola, 20, who won three medals at the 2016 World Junior Championships. “In my first race, the 1000m in the B group, I fell in the last 200m. I believe I would have went on to a top-10 result. And then, in the 500m, I was a lot more nervous than usual. I opened much slower than I was expecting to at the start and, throughout the race, I felt slow. In the end, I’m 15th and that allowed me to stay in the A group for Sunday’s second 500m. I did what I had set out to do on my first day of World Cup racing.”
Béatrice Lamarche of Quebec City, QC, who was also skating in her first career World Cup race, was eighth in the 1000m B group with a time of 1:19.12.
“I’m happy nonetheless. I think I had a good race. I found it harder that expected because the ice here is slower. We slow down a lot towards the end. But I was able to battle and I’m especially happy with my time as it compares to the others,” said Lamarche, 18, who won two medals at the 2016 World Junior Championships.
De Haître sixth in the 1000m, Blondin wins B race
In the men’s 1000m, Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, ON, took sixth place with a time of 1:10.13. The race was won by Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis (1:09.57), who was followed by Finland’s Mika Poutala (1:09.83) and Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov (1:09.96). Alexandre St-Jean of Quebec City, QC, was 15th in 1:11.16.
“Overall, I can’t be too disappointed with the outcome of the race,” said de Haître. “I’m still happy with a top-10 result. It’s a good rank for me, it’s pretty much my average placing from last season and I’m happy with that. Still, there are definitively points to improve on the race.”
Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa won the women’s 1000m in the B group, which will allow her to join the main group in that distance, next week, at the second stage of the World Cup season, to be held in Nagano, Japan.
Blondin skated to a time of 1:17.99 which, compared to results registered by the A group skaters, would have put her among the top 10 overall.
“Technically, I was tired from yesterday’s race and I was sort of not there,” said Blondin. “But all in all, it’s a good and positive result. It gives me confidence to know that even if I’m tired, I’m able to perform well and to skate fast. That’s a good thing to know going into Sunday’s mass start.”
In the team pursuit event, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, AB, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., finished sixth in 3:50.71. The Netherlands (3:45.33), Norway (3:48.50) and South Korea (3:48.72) stepped on the podium.
And finally, in the men’s mass start semifinals, Jordan Belchos, in the A group, and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, in the B group, both finished third and qualified for Sunday’s finals.
The competition will end on Sunday with the second men’s and women’s 500m, the 1500 races as well as the mass start finals.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
6. Laurent Dubreuil (35.34)
10. William Dutton (35.52)
13. Gilmore Junio (35.71)
15. Christopher Fiola (35.75)
19. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (36.33)
6. Vincent de Haître (1:10.13)
15. Alexandre St-Jean (1:11.16)
Team Pursuit M
6. Canada (3:50.71)
(Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos, Denny Morrison)
Mass Start M (A) – Semifinals
3. Jordan Belchos
1000m W (B)
1. Ivanie Blondin (1:17.99)
7. Kaylin Irvine (1:19.01)
8. Béatrice Lamarche (1:19.12)
16. Noémie Fiset (1:20.47)
1000m M (B)
12. Richard Maclennan (1:11.93)
DNF. Christopher Fiola
Mass Start M (B) – Semifinals
3. Olivier Jean
More information, including the competition schedule, is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
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