Maltais captures third title of the weekend, winning 1500m, 3000m and Mass Start
CALGARY, ALBERTA – Valérie Maltais and Jordan Belchos capped off the final day for the 2023 Canadian Long Track Championships presented by Intact Insurance by claiming their respective national titles in the Mass Start.
Maltais captured her second consecutive Canadian title crown in the Mass Start, crossing the finish line at the Olympic Oval in Calgary in TIME TBC, comfortably ahead of Darby Beeson (Airdrie, Alta.) and Rose-Anne Grenier (Sainte-Marie, Que), who posted times of TIME TBC and TIME TBC, respectively. The win capped off a successful weekend for the 33-year-old Maltais, who was also crowned Canadian Champion in the 3000m and 1500m, while earning silver in the 5000m.
Belchos raced to gold in the final race of the four-day competition, brining home the national championship title in the men’s Mass Start. The Toronto native broke away from the pack with two laps remaining and held on for the win, crossing the line in 7:40.46. It was a battle at the finish line for the two other podium spots, with Hayden Mayeur (Toronto, Ont.) outstretching his competitors to claim silver (7:41.11), only three one-hundredths of a second (7:41.14) ahead of the bronze medal finisher Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, Que.).
Skaters also competed in the second 1000m of the competition on Sunday, races that helped them earn points towards the end-of-season national rankings used to select the National and NextGen teams.
Maddison Pearman (Ponoka, Alta.), who finished second in the first 1000m on Friday, claimed the women’s race in a time of 1:15.62. The Olympian 27-year-old bested 500m national champion Carolina Hiller (Prince George, B.C.), who skated to a silver medal in 1:15.90, and Béatrice Lamarche (Quebec City, Que.), who captured bronze in 1:17.20.
David La Rue (Saint-Lambert, Que.) was the top male skater in the second 1000m, posting a time of 1:08.89 to finish the distance ahead of Yankun Zhao (Calgary, Alta.), second place with a time of 1:09.63, and RBC Training Ground crossover athlete Ryan Gibson (Sydenham, Ont.), who earned bronze after cross the line in 1:09.72.
Canada’s long track team kicks off their international next month with World Cups in Obihiro (November 10-12), Beijing (November 17-19), Stavanger (December 1-3) and Tomaszów Mazowiecki (December 8-10). The Centre de glace Intact Assurance in Quebec City will host their first-ever World Cup from February 2-4, only a few weekends before the ISU World Speed Skating Championships make their return to the Olympic Oval in Calgary for the first time since 1998, from February 15-28, 2024.
“I’m happy with how the race went overall and am very proud of myself. I sensed a moment to go and made my attack. I didn’t necessarily expect to win in the beginning of the race; I just wanted to contribute something to the race to help simulate what a World Cup would be. The race ended up being dynamic and a really high calibre.”
“I’m very happy with my race. I did what I had to do in order to secure my World Cup spot in this distance. I find the Mass Start quite difficult at the Canadian Championships, it’s a different dynamic compared to the World Cups. When the pack started to pull away, I didn’t want to react right away because I thought some other girls would follow, but I also didn’t want them to take off without me. I decided to break away before it was too late and I think I made the right move, at the right time.”