Bronze-coloured return to racing for Bloemen in 5000m & McLean wins bronze in 500m at ISU World Cup Long Track event in Norway

STAVANGER, Norvège, le 30 janvier 2016 – Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary won bronze in the men's 5000m in his first competitive race since returning from an injury sustained in December, while Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, collected bronze in the women's 500m, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Long Track stage held in Stavanger, Norway.

Bloemen therefore made an immediate impact upon his return to competition, after going through rehabilitation to recover from a lacerated left tibia – an injury he suffered on December 4.

On Saturday, Ted-Jan Bloemen skated to a time of 6:18.05, good for third place, while Dutch skaters Sven Kramer (6:15.71) and Jorrit Bergsma (6:17.59) respectively earned gold and silver.

“It was a really solid performance and I'm happy to come back like this from my injury,” said Bloemen. “I’m still up there! Give me two more weeks and I think I will be able to be on the top of the podium. It’s a good confidence boost for sure!”

Jordan Belchos, for his part, took 12th place with a time of 6:30.79. By earning the top Canadian result except for Bloemen's, who had already clinched a spot in the 5000m at the World Single Distance Championships, Belchos won a spot in this distance at the competition slated for February 11-14 in Kolomna, Russia. Belchos is also qualified for the mass start event.

“It was definitely not my best race of the year,” admitted Belchos. “But I still see this whole season as a building process towards the World Single Distance Championships. The ups and the downs are all steps that lead to this competition. I'm just going to keep trying to do things right so I can race fast when it counts.”

Second medal in 500m this season for Heather McLean
In the women's 500m, Heather McLean won bronze with a time of 38.02, behind Chinese skaters Jing Yu (37.63) and Hong Zhang (37.82). Marsha Hudey (38.45) of White City, SK, was 8th.

This is McLean's second bronze medal this season in the 500m. She also ended up on the third step of the podium at World Cup #3 in Germany.

“I didn't want the first time I earned a medal this season to be just a fluke, so I'm happy to get another one this season,” said McLean, who was fifth in Friday's 500m race, seven hundredths of a second away from a podium finish.

“It's good to know that I was able to take what I did wrong in (Friday's) race and make it better in today's race. So as long as I can keep that mindset going into the World Single Distance Championships, no matter what happens it'll be a success in my mind,” added McLean who, along with Marsha Hudey, had already earned her ticket to Kolomna in this distance.

For her part, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg, MB, collected the third and last spot available in the women's 500m for the World Single Distance Championships by coming up with the fastest combined time at the conclusion of the two 500m races held this weekend. Three Canadian skaters were up for that spot.

On Saturday, the 31-year-old skater finished second in the B group with a time of 39.04 for a combined total of 78.03. Kaylin Irvine was fourth in 39.14 for a combined time of 78.27 while Anastasia Bucsis ended up 7th (39.32) for a total time of 78.66.

“It's been an interesting season so far,” said Shannon Rempel. “I'm happy to see how things are going so far and this is big stepping stone right now for me to qualify for the World Single Distance Championships.”

Kali Christ and Brianne Tutt off to Kolomna in the 1500m
In the women's 1500m, Kali Christ of Regina, SK, and Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, took the two spots available to Canada in this distance at the World Single Distance Championships. These spots were reserved for the two skaters who would come up with the fastest times in this distance in Norway.

While Brianne Tutt (1:59.64) came up with Saturday's best time on the Canadian team, good for fourth place in the B group, Ivanie Blondin had the second fastest time (2:00.36). However, Blondin decided not to take part in this event at the World Championships, and her spot went to the third fasteest time, owned by Kali Christ, who finished 18th in the A group with a time of 2:00.85.

“I'm happy with my race because that was my best finish ever at a World Cup, so it’s good for my comeback season,” said Tutt, who missed the 2014-2015 season after an accident that happened during on-ice training in December of 2012.

“Coming into this season after a year off due to injury has been hard both mentally and physically. I owe the success of my races today to my coach Xiuli Wang and her endless patience, and to the teammates who gave me the confidence to come back stronger than before. I’m ecstatic to be attending my first World Single Distance Championships and I hope to keep building technically and, hopefully, have an even better performance in Kolomna.”

In the men's 1000m, Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, and Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City, QC, who both have already clinched a spot in this distance at the World Single Distance Championships, skated in the same pairing on Saturday and they respectively finished sixth (1:08.95) and ninth (1:09.59) in the A group.

The third and last spot available in the men's 1000m in Kolomna will be awarded to the fastest skater in one of the two races slated this weekend in Norway. On Saturday, in the B group, Richard Maclennan of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, was the fastest Canadian skater with a time of 1:10.21. Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, came up for his part with a time of 1:10.23, while Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC, skated to a time of 1:12.12.

The second 1000m event will take place on Sunday, as will the women's 3000m and the second men's 500m race of the weekend.

The list of skaters who will be on the Canadian teams at the World Championships will be announced following World Cup #5.

More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

5000m M – A
3: Ted-Jan Bloemen – 6:18.05
12: Jordan Belchos – 6:30.79

500m (2) W – A
BRONZE: Heather McLean – 38.02
8: Marsha Hudey – 38.45

1000m (1) M – A
6: Vincent De Haître – 1:08.95
9: Alexandre St-Jean – 1:09.59

1500m W – A
18: Kali Christ – 2:00.85

500m (2) W – B
2: Shannon Rempel – 39.04
4: Kaylin Irvine – 39.14
7: Anastasia Bucsis – 39.32

1000m (1) M – B
4: Richard Maclennan – 1:10.21 (4)
6: Laurent Dubreuil – 1:10.23
32: Olivier Jean – 1:12.12

1500m W – B
4: Brianne Tutt – 1:59.64
6: Ivanie Blondin – 2:00.36
8: Josie Spence – 2:01.20

5000m M – B
9: Ben Donnelly – 6:33.59
28: Nick Goplen – 6:47.48
   
About Speed Skating Canada
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