Bloemen wins 5000m gold and sets new track record; Maltais wins 3000m bronze and earns first career overall World Cup podium
QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC – An ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Quebec City over 30 years in the making kicked off Friday with a pair of Canadian medals, as Ted-Jan Bloemen captured gold in the men’s 5000m and Valérie Maltais won bronze in the women’s 3000m, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd at the Centre de glaces Intact Assurance.
Racing in the second last pair, Bloemen (Calgary, Alta.) got off to a fast start and set a new track record time of 6:13.87, breaking his previous mark of 6:16.16 by nearly three seconds. It was his second medal of the season in the distance, having also won bronze last weekend in Salt Lake City.
Joining Bloemen on the podium was Davide Ghiotto of Italy (+3.31) and Hallgeir Engebråten of Norway (+3.69). The 37-year-old Canadian also finished the World Cup campaign ranked second overall in the long distances with 291 points, trailing only Italy’s Ghiotto (324).
Fans in Quebec City also got to witness one of their very own reach the podium earlier in the afternoon.
Maltais (La Baie, Que.) crossed the line with a time of 4:02.73 to earn a bronze medal in the distance for the second weekend in a row. Dutch skater Irene Schouten won gold (4:01.11), while teammate Joy Beune took home silver (4:02.62).
The medal helped Maltais capture her first career overall World Cup podium, finishing third overall in the long distance ranking with 249 points, behind Norway’s Ragne Wiklund (300) and Martina Sáblíková of the Czech Republic (260).
Despite skating her second best 3000m time of the season with a 4:02.79, Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann was pushed off the podium after the final pair, settling for a fourth-place finish.
Three Canadians also reached the podium in the B Division on Friday.
Hometown favourite Laurent Dubreuil (1:08.93) captured gold in the men’s 1000m, while Alison Desmarais (1:17.99) and Abigail McCluskey (4:10.29) won bronze in the women’s 1000m and 3000m, respectively.
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating continues tomorrow with the men’s 500m, 1500m and Mass Start, as well as the women’s 500m and Team Sprint. The races will be live streamed on CBC Sport and Radio-Canada Sports, with television coverage also available on CBC and ICI Télé.
“I’m proud of today’s performance. I was excited for my pairing today as I’ve been wanting to race Davide Ghiotto all season to see where I stack up. I was kind of surprised with the track record. I didn’t expect it before the race, but as the race went on, I felt I was skating well and that it could happen. We’re all so excited to be skating at a World Cup on home ice. During our team meeting before the competition, one of our coaches Gregor Jelonek explained that it had been 32 years since the last World Cup in Quebec City. He really inspired me with that speech, and I felt that same passion during my race today. When I started gaining on Ghiotto, everybody got so excited, and it was a great feeling. Winning bronze last weekend and gold this weekend is a good confirmation that my season plan is working. It gives a lot of confidence for World Championships in two weeks and I’m really looking forward to it.”
“It’s really special to race at home. I had great energy today during my race. I wanted to start off quick and push the entire way through, and I’m happy I was able to follow that plan. My technique was surely a bit sloppy at the end, but I gave it my all and was happy with my performance, regardless of where I ended up finishing. Finishing third in the overall World Cup rankings is also quite special. I think it speaks a lot to my consistence this season. I had good races and I had bad races, but even when I wasn’t on the podium, I was close and always felt that I had it in me to reach it.”
- Maddison Pearman: 11th
- Béatrice Lamarche: 20th
- Alison Desmarais: 3rd (Division B)
- Alexa Scott: 4th (Division B)
- Abigail McCluskey: 6th (Division B)
- Connor Howe: 15th
- Vincent De Haître: 18th
- Laurent Dubreuil: 1st (Division B)
- Yankun Zhao: 11th (Division B)
- Cooper Emin: 22nd (Division B)
- Valérie Maltais: 3rd
- Isabelle Weidemann: 4th
- Ivanie Blondin: 11th
- Abigail McCluskey: 3rd (Division B)
- Laura Hall: 6th (Division B)
- Ted-Jan Bloemen: 1st
- Graeme Fish: 16th
- Jordan Belchos: 11th (Division B)
- Jack Weidemann: 19th (Division B)
- Kaleb Muller: 21st (Division B)