Canada wins silver in women’s team pursuit

Canada wins silver in women’s team pursuit at Essent ISU World Cup in Germany
Jamie Gregg is fourth in 500 metres

ERFURT, Germany
- Ivanie Blondin, Kali Christ and Cindy Klassen got together for the first time this season to win the silver medal in the women’s team pursuit at the Essent ISU World Cup #8 in Erfurt, Germany. Jamie Gregg had Canada’s best individual result today taking fourth place in the second 500-metre race and missing the bronze medal by one hundredth of a second.

Skating in the final pair of the women’s team pursuit with the Netherlands, the Canadians finished in a time of 3:04.33, only 1.51 seconds behind the gold medalist Dutch team (3:02.83). Poland captured the bronze medal with a time of 3:05.23.

With only one team pursuit race remaining this season at next week’s World Cup Final in Heerenveen, Netherlands, the Canadians and Dutch are tied for first place with 250 points, having each won gold, silver and bronze medals. Germany and Poland are tied for third with 190 points.

Ottawa’s Blondin has skated in all three team pursuit races this season, while Christ of Regina and Klassen of Winnipeg earned their first medals this year. The silver was Christ’s first career World Cup medal and Klassen’s 11th in team pursuit (7 gold and 4 silver). Blondin skated with Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler to earn the gold and silver medals earlier this season.

Edmonton’s Gregg, who placed sixth in the 500 metres Saturday in a time of 35.42 seconds, was 0.13 seconds faster today to finish in a time of 35.29 seconds. Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands won gold in 34.96 seconds, while teammate Ronald Mulder edged out Gregg with a time of 35.28 for the bronze. Joji Kato of Japan won the silver medal in 35.05 seconds.

Other Canadians in the 500 metres saw Calgary’s Gilmore Junio finished in 12th place (35.48), William Dutton, of Humboldt, Sask., was 16th (35.75), Laurent Dubreuil, of Lévis, Qué., ranked 17th (35.92), and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, of Sherbrooke, Que., took 19th place (36.49).

In the women’s 1,000 metres, Christ had the fastest time among the Canadians. She won the division B in of time of 1:17.83, which was 1.33 seconds faster than second place Yuliya Skokova of Russia (1:19.16) and the 14th fastest among the 20 division A skaters.

In division A 1,000-metre action, Kaylin Irvine finished in 16th place with a time of 1:19.03 and fellow Calgary-native Anastasia Bucsis was 18th in 1:19.15. Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler ranked 19th in a time of 1:19.50.

In the men’s 1,500 metres, Regina’s Lucas Makowsky was 18th overall with a time of 1:49.00, while Guillaume Blais-Dufour, of Quebec City, was fifth in division B in 1:49.47

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $39,000 (10 gold, 17 silver; 12 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win.