Laurent Dubreuil earns first podium of World Cup season with silver in the 500m-2
BEIJING, CHINA – The Canadian long track speed skating team captured three individual distance medals during the second day of ISU World Cup Speed Skating action in Beijing on Saturday, their largest single-day medal haul of the season so far.
Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, Ont.) and Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.) earned a rare double podium in the women’s Mass Start on Saturday, winning silver and bronze, respectively. It was only the second time in World Cup history that Canada had two female skaters on the podium in the distance, the first happening last season in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland.
Dutch skater Marijke Groenewoud broke away from the pack near the mid-way point of the 16-lap race and cruised to an easy victory with a time of 8:24.71. The Canadian duo of Blondin (8:37.58) and Maltais (8:37.74) controlled the action in the chase pack until the final sprint, before breaking away to cross the finish line in second and third positions.
The bronze was Maltais’ second medal on the World Cup circuit, having previously captured silver in Poland last season. For Blondin, it marked a return to the podium at the Ice Ribbon, where she previously won Olympic silver in the Mass Start at Beijing 2022.
Saturday also marked a return to the World Cup podium for Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.), who captured silver in the 500m-2 with a time of 34.81, only 0.12 seconds behind gold medalist Wataru Morishige of Japan (34.69). Fellow Japanese skater Yuma Murakami finished third (34.82).
Dubreuil’s silver medal shows he is progressing in the right direction after an admittedly slow start to the season due to injuries, which saw him earn two sixth place and one seventh-place results across the first three races. Dubreuil now sits fourth overall in the World Cup standings in the distance with 166 points, behind the Japanese trio of Morishige, Murakami and Tatsuya Shinhama.
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Beijing concludes tomorrow with the women’s 500m-2, 3000m and Team Sprint, as well as the men’s 1000m and Mass Start. Races can be watched live on CBC Sports digital platforms, including CBCSports.ca and the CBC Gem app.
“I’m really happy with today’s result considering how sick I was on Thursday. It’s been a little bit of a struggle but I’m trying to stay positive and get through the weekend, doing as much as I can do with the energy I have left in the tank. Today we had a great strategy. We knew going into the race that the Dutch skaters would simultaneously attack. I said that I would go after one attack at the beginning, but then I knew I had to conserve myself if I wanted to make it to the finish line. Settling for second place today given how I was feeling was pretty good. I was really happy to cross the finish line and when I looked back and saw Val got third, I kind of first-pumped into the air. It’s fun to be on the podium as teammates. It’s a rare occasion but I’m sure it will happen more in the future.”
“I surprised myself, being able to sprint well at the end. I think what allowed me to do that was a bit of a change of strategy. When the Marijke left to make her attack, no one who wanted to follow her or really close the gap, so the rest of the race was won in the peloton. My job was to try to hide as much as possible and see if my legs would be good enough for the sprint. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, to be really patient. I had to tell myself several times to wait and try to position myself as best as possible, and today it worked well. Plus a double podium for Canada is really very positive!”
“It was finally a good race! A quality race, with my fastest start this season in the World Cup by a lot. I was paired with Morishige, who is absolutely the best in the world at the moment in the 500m, and I was in the game. I was just 12-hundredths behind and in the final stretch I felt like I was getting a little closer. It wasn’t a perfect race. I made a few small mistakes, but I skated well in general and at the end, my technique was good, and my pushes were strong. I have closed the gap to the point where I feel like I will be able to win more races. After a few complicated months due to injuries, it feels good to finish the 500m races in Asia with a medal.”
- Laurent Dubreuil: 2nd
- Josh Telizyn: 14th (Division B)
- Anders Johnson: 20th (Division B)
- Ivanie Blondin: 14th
- Maddison Pearman: 2nd (Division B)
- Béatrice Lamarche: 10th (Division B)
- Ted-Jan Bloemen: 4th
- Graeme Fish: 4th (Division B)
- Connor Howe: 16th (Division B)
- Ivanie Blondin: 2nd
- Valérie Maltais: 3rd
- Men: 8th