Philippe Riopel fourth at long track speed skating world juniors

Philippe Riopel of Lachenaie, Que., and Vincent Blouin of Quebec City placed fourth and sixth overall with strong performances over the final two distances on Saturday at the world junior championships in long track speed skating.

Canadians were in the medal hunt all day posting four fourth places, three fifths and a sixth.

In men’s competition, Sjoerd de Vries of the Netherlands won the 5,000 finale to take the overall crown with 157.921 points under warm conditions at the outdoor oval. His compatriot Tim Roelofsen was second at 158.574 and Trevor Marsicano of the U.S., third at 159.960.

Riopel, a silver medallist in Friday’s 500, placed fourth in the 1,500 in 1:59.08 and ninth in the 5,000 to climb to fourth in the overall standings at 159.985. Blouin, who was 12th overall after Friday’s races was fourth in the 5,000 in 7:11.45 and fifth in the 1,500 in 1:59.28 for sixth overall at 161.128.

‘’The ice was very soft today so it was a challenge for everyone and I got through it O.K.,’’ said Riopel, 24th all around at last year’s junior worlds. ‘’I had a great 1,500 and I was able to finish ahead of the skaters who were in front at that point in the overall standings.’’

Riopel made a giant move in the 1,500 climbing to second overall. But he knew it would be a challenge to remain in the top-three with the 5,000 looming.

‘’The 5,000 is not my best distance,’’ he said. ‘’As the race wore on I started to feel my trip and weekend in my legs. But I was pleased with how I kept pushing through.’’

Jordan Belchos of Markham, Ont., was fifth in the 5,000 and 26th in the 1,500 to finish 13th overall.

Eric Rauschenbach of Germany won the 1,500.

In women’s competition, Justine l’Heureux of St-Tite, Que., took eighth spot overall finishing fifth in the 1,000 and ninth in the 3,000. Nicole Garrido of Edmonton was 11th overall placing fourth in the 3,000 and 12th in the 1,000.

Seon-Yeong No of South Korea won the women’s overall gold taking the 1,000 and placing second in the 3,000. Andrea Jirku of the Czech Republic won the 3,000 finale. Kirsti Lay of Medicine Hat was 21st in the 1,000 and did not make the top-24 listing for the 3,000.

Competition ends Sunday with the team pursuit races.