A perfect Friday for Valérie Maltais & Guillaume Bastille at Montreal Short Track World Cup

Valerie Maltais and Guillaume Bastille both had a perfect day in qualifying rounds, Friday, on the first day of the Montreal Short Track ISU World Cup.

Bastille, from Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, qualified for Saturday's 1,500m semifinal at Maurice Richard Arena, as well as for Sunday's 1,000m quarter-final.

Maltais, of La Baie, Quebec, reached the semifinal stage in the 1,500m women's race, Saturday, and Sunday's 1,000m quarter-final. The 24-year-old skater also helped the Canadian relay team finish first in its heat in the 3,000m event and qualify for Saturday's semifinal.

“I felt like my legs were strong, even if I was a bit nervous about skating at home, said Maltais. “We launched the season last week in Salt Lake City and got things underway, but there's always the desire to do well on your own ice, here in Montreal.

“After the first race was over and done with, things went well. And now, it's a go for the weekend,” added Maltais, who won a bronze medal in the women's 1,500m, last weekend in Salt Lake City.

Bastille, for his part, admitted he had a “pretty good Friday”. He finished first of his heaths in both his events.

“The second race wasn't the most pretty because of the falls, but the important thing in the 1,000m is to stay away from trouble,” noted the 29 year-old veteran. “I did well to skate a safe race.”

True to her desire of experimenting new approaches in her first four World Cups of the season, Marianne St-Gelais had an uneven day. First of her heat in the 500m race and qualified for the quarter-final of that event to take place Saturday, she was disqualified from the women's 1,000m for interference on a Hungarian skater.

“I was expecting it at the end of the race. I was too aggressive”, said the athlete from Saint Félicien, Quebec of her infraction. “I fought too hard to maintain my second position, I used my arms a little… It's not something I normally do. I tried it, it didn't work and now I won't ever do it again!”

St-Gelais said she was disappointed about being disqualified, but satisfied that she tried an approach that she would have never considered in the past.

“If I want to progress and bring my skating to another level, I have to try something different, look at what I can do more and see what opportunities it brings,” explained the 24 year-old skater.

“When you take risks, sometimes it allows you to win, and sometimes you get disqualified… I'm well aware of that and I will stick to my plan for the next two World Cups in the 1,000m,” said St-Gelais, who won a gold medal in the women's 1,000m last week at the Salt Lake City World Cup.

The Canadian women's relay nearly was eliminated when St-Gelais came close to falling after a push initiated by her teammates Joanie Gervais. St-Gelais found herself on one skate before finding her balance again.

“It was my fault,” said St-Gelais. “Joanie was great, she took a larger turn to push me hard on the inside, and I wasn't yet well aligned and stable when she pushed me.”

Charles Hamelin also had an up-and-down day, Friday. First of his heats in the 1,500m and 500m, he reached the semifinal for the first event, Saturday, and the quarter-final in the second event, set for Sunday. His fall two laps from the end in the men's 5,000 relay, however, resulted in Canada's elimination.

Seven other Canadian team members reached the quarter-final stage : Kim Boutin (500m Saturday), Kasandra Bradette (500m Saturday), Joanie Gervais (500m Sunday) and Courtney Shmyr (500m Sunday) on the women's side, as well as Yoan Gauthier (500m Sunday), Patrick Duffy (1000m) and Samuel Girard (1000m) on the men's team.

Five Canadians will get another chance to qualify through rep heats: Samuel Girard (500m Saturday), Samuel Bélanger-Marceau (500m Saturday), Yoan Gauthier (1500m), Joanie Gervais (1500m) and Kasandra Bradette (500m Sunday).
 
The men's and women's competition for the first 500m and the 1,500m will continue Saturday at Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal, with the quarter-finals, the semifinals and the finals starting at 1:30 pm ET. The semifinals for the two relays will conclude the day.

Sunday, the second 500m will be held as well as the 1,000m starting at 1:10 pm, followed by the finals for the two relays.

A total of 165 skaters from 21 nations, including Russia's Viktor Ahn, Italy's Arianna Fontana and South Korea's Suk Hee Shim, all triple Olympic medallists at the Sochi Games, are taking part in the Montreal World Cup weekend.

Admission is $15 to $25 per day for Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s Canadian results

MEN
500m (1)
Samuel Bélanger-Marceau: to rep heats Saturday morning
Samuel Girard: to rep heats Saturday morning
Patrick Duffy: disqualified

500m (2)
Samuel Bélanger-Marceau: disqualified
Yoan Gauthier: 1st of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon
Charles Hamelin: 1st of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon

1,000m
Guillaume Bastille: 1st of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon
Patrick Duffy: 2nd of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon
Samuel Girard: 2nd of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon

1,500m
Guillaume Bastille: 2nd of his heat, qualifies for quarter-final Saturday afternoon
Yoan Gauthier: to rep heats Saturday morning
Charles Hamelin: 1st of his heat, qualifies for semifinal Saturday afternoon

5,000m relay
Duffy, Gauthier, Girard, Hamelin: 4th in their heat and eliminated

WOMEN
500m (1)
Kim Boutin: 1st of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Saturday afternoon
Kasandra Bradette: 1st of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Saturday afternoon
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Saturday afternoon

500m (2)
Kasandra Bradette: on to rep heats Sunday morning
Joanie Gervais: 2nd of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon
Courtney Shmyr: 1st of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon

1,000m
Kim Boutin: disqualified
Valérie Maltais: 1st of her heat, qualifies for quarter-final Sunday afternoon
Marianne St-Gelais: disqualified

1,500m
Joanie Gervais: on to rep heats Saturday morning
Valérie Maltais: 1st of her heat, qualifies for semfinal Saturday afternoon
Courtney Shmyr: disqualified

3,000m relay
Gervais, Maltais, St-Gelais, Shmyr: 1st of their heat, qualify for semifinal Saturday afternoon

Full results at: http://shorttrack.sportresult.com/.

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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Jeff MacKinnon   
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