Johnson, Dubreuil and Gélinas-Beaulieu help Canada win first gold in the distance since the 2017-18 season
TOMASZÓW MAZOWIECKI, POLAND – Canada reached the top step of the men’s Team Sprint podium for the first time in five seasons on Friday, as Anders Johnson, Laurent Dubreuil and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu raced to gold at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Poland.
The Canadian trio – who were skating together for the very first time – crossed the line with a time of 1:19.53, comfortably ahead of Norway (+1.36) and the Netherlands (+2.08). They started with the fourth fastest opening split time (16.60) but picked up the speed afterwards and remained in first for the rest of the race three lap race.
The victory was Canada’s first on the World Cup circuit since the 2017-18 season and was also Johnson’s first career World Cup podium. The team last reached the podium on home ice in Calgary last December, where Dubreuil, Gélinas-Beaulieu and Christopher Fiola earned bronze. They finish the season ranked second overall in the Team Sprint with 144 points, behind only the Dutch (151).
In addition to the gold medal, four different Canadians cracked the top-10 in individual distances on the opening day of the final World Cup of the season.
The Canadian long-distance trio of Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais all finished within striking distance of the women’s 3000m podium on Friday, finishing fourth (+6.32), fifth (+6.57) and sixth (+7.98), respectively. Norway’s Ragne Wiklund blew away the field with a track record time of 4:02.79. She was joined on the podium by Martina Sáblíková of Czechia (+2.88) and Joy Beune of the Netherlands (+5.56).
The gold medal helped Wiklund – who reached the podium six times this season –secure the World Cup title in the long distances with 342 points. Weidemann and Beune were tied for second in the rankings with 251 points, slightly ahead of teammate and fourth-place finisher Blondin (241).
After a fourth-place finish in last weekend’s 1000m, Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu put together another impressive performance on Friday to come within four tenths of the 1500m podium. The Sherbrooke native earned his best result in the distance, crossing the line with a time of 1:46.68. American Jordan Stolz set a new track record of 1:45.44 en route to gold, ahead of Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands (+0.72) and Sander Eitrem of Norway (+0.86).
Canmore’s Connor Howe finished second in the overall World Cup rankings of the 1500m with 254 points, behind only reigning Olympic champion Nuis (276 points).
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating event in Tomaszów Mazowiecki continues tomorrow with the men’s 500m and 5000m, as well as the women’s 1500m and Team Sprint. The races can be watched live on CBC Sports digital platforms, including CBCSports.ca and the CBC Gem app.
“I think that’s the most fun I’ve had speed skating—first time racing team sprint and it’s a gold! I’ve looked up to Laurent and Antoine in skating and getting to go to the line with them for this race was a dream come true! This year has been a journey, from having surgery on my ankle this past May, to now my first World Cup medal, I’m giving God the glory for how he had blessed, and exciting to see where things go next!”Anders Johnson
“Even if we didn’t really practice the Team Sprint together, we knew that on paper, the team was excellent. Anders has a slightly slower start than the typical sprinter, which allows me to hang on to the group right away and save energy. Anders and Laurent then had an extremely fast lap and it was an incredible feeling to be able to follow them so closely. Crossing the line, I knew it was a podium, and Laurent was sure of victory. It is motivating to see the improvement of our team, especially in view of the World Championships in two weeks.”Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu
- Carolina Hiller: 12th
- Brooklyn McDougall: 20th
- Maddison Pearman: 3rd (Division B)
- Isabelle Weidemann: 4th
- Ivanie Blondin: 5th
- Valerie Maltais: 6th
- Abigail McCluskey: 14th
- Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu: 5th
- Tyson Langelaar: 12th
- Connor Howe: 14th
- David La Rue: 12th (Division B)
- Men’s: 1st