Women’s Team Pursuit golden in World Cup opener
STAVANGER, NORWAY – Canada’s long track team won a pair of World Cup medals in Stavanger for the second consecutive day, bringing home gold in the women’s team pursuit and silver in the men’s 500m.
Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais got back to their winning ways on Saturday with a gold medal performance in the women’s team pursuit. The Canadians posted a time of 3:01.810, picking up the pace in their final lap to push themselves ahead of the Dutch (+0.48) and Japanese (+1.09) teams.
It’s a promising start to the season for the trio, who captured three World Cup gold medals together in 2021-22 and earned the title of Olympic champions at Beijing 2022.
Meanwhile, Laurent Dubreuil also reached the podium in his first international race of the season, winning silver in the men’s 500m. Skating in the final pair, Dubreuil overcame a slower opening split (9.74) to post the second quickest time of the day, crossing the line in 34.750 seconds. Japan’s Yuma Murakami (34.708) was the winner, while Korea’s Jun-Ho Kim (35.017) took bronze.
It marked a return to the podium for Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.), who was crowned World Cup champion in the 500m last season after winning 10 medals over 12 races, including gold and silver on the very same ice in Stavanger.
Blondin was the top female performer in an individual distance on Saturday, finishing fourth in the women’s 1500m, just 1.70 seconds off the podium.
- “I’m really happy with my day today. The 1500m went really well, with only a couple of technical things that I need to work on. So that is a very positive start to the season. We haven’t been training together as much for the Team Pursuit, so we were all a bit nervous going into the race. But it’s like we haven’t skipped a beat and it was really nice to get back together and show what we can do. It wasn’t a clean race, but it’s a great result and now we’ll keep building for the next one!” – Ivanie Blondin
- “I am obviously happy to start the season with a podium. It’s clear that I would have preferred the gold medal, especially being only five hundredths of a second off the pace and way ahead of bronze. It was really a two-person battle with Yuma [Murakami]. I wasn’t far, but when he opens with a 9.44 and I do 9.74, it’s very hard to then catch up three tenths of a second in the full lap. My start needs to be more explosive so I can get off the line faster. But this is a great start to to the season.” – Laurent Dubreuil
- Ivanie Blondin – 4th
- Isabelle Weidemann – 14th
- Alexa Scott – 18th
- Béatrice Lamarche – 2nd (B Division)
- Valérie Maltais – 4th (B Division)
- Laurent Dubreuil – 2nd
- Christopher Fiola – 7th
- Cédrick Brunet – 15th
- Graeme Fish – 10th
- Jordan Belchos – 12th
- Connor Howe – 4th (B Division)
Women’s Team Pursuit
- Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais – 1st
Speed Skating Canada