De Haître & Junio the top Canadians on the first day of the World Cup stage in Germany

Erfurt, Germany, January 19, 2018 – Canada's long track speed skaters continue to prepare for the Olympics, Friday, on the first day of the ISU World Cup Long Track stage held until Sunday in Erfurt, Germany, as Vincent De Haître in the 1500m and Gilmore Junio in the 500m were the top Canadians of the day, both finishing in 10th place of their respective distances.
 
In the men's 1500m, Vincent De Haître from Cumberland, ON, skated to 10th place with a time of 1:47.41. Denny Morrison from Fort St. John, B.C., was 14th (1:47.94) while Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON, was 18th (1:48.84).
 
Russia's Denis Yuskov won the race in 1:45.33, followed by Norway's Sverre Lunde Pedersen (1:45.76) and Dutch skater Marcel Bosker (1:46.28).

The three Canadian skaters, who have been coached by Bart Schouten for the last four, eight and two years respectively, arrived in Erfurt on Wednesday after taking part in a camp that is part of a training phase leading towards their optimal preparation for the PyeongChang Games.
 
“I think my 1500m today was a bit of a challenge because of our time schedule and the fact that we arrived in this country only two days ago,” noted De Haître, who will be skating in this event at the PyeongChang Games alongside the two other Canadians skating with him on Friday. “I’m definitely learning a lot from this experience and planning ahead accordingly. Overall though, I did my best to stick to my race plan and I think I did that quite well. I just didn’t have quite enough energy in the legs, but I’m still quite happy with how things are going. I’m looking forward to Saturday's 1000m and to having one more day of experience here under my belt.”
 
“I’m kind of disappointed with my 1500m today. I think I have more in the tank than that,” said Denny Morrison. “I look at this 1500m as what I can expect if I go into a race unprepared, versus what level of optimal preparation I will need – and will have – at the Olympics. I will definitely do better then. But this week's goal is also to qualify spots for Canada at the World Allround Championships. It’s sort of a weird goal to have when you're really focused on the Olympics this year, but I will be ready for the Games!”
 
Junio satisfied with his 500m
In the men's 500m, Gilmore Junio of Calgary, AB, was the top Canadian with a 10th-place finish.
 
Junio registered a time of 35.18 while the winner, Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov, skated the distance in 35.03. Michel Mulder of the Netherlands earned the silver medal (35.08) while Russia's Artyom Kuznetsov came up with bronze (35.10).
 
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, was 12th (35.44), Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City, QC, was 14th (35.49) and Laurent Dubreuil from Lévis, QC, was 16th (35.58).
 
“I thought today’s race was pretty good,” said Gilmore Junio, who trains this season with legendary silver medalist in the 500m at the 1998 Games Jeremy Wotherspoon. “I’m pretty happy with how it went. It’s crazy just how close the men’s field is in the 500m. I finished 10th, only 15 hundredths of a second behind the gold medal winner. I think this a lot to build on towards the Olympics. Everything’s coming along and there are just a couple mistakes I need to clean up, but I'm happy with it overall.”
 
A two-time gold medal winner this season on the World Cup circuit, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix did not find any reason to worry about his 12th-place finish.
 
“It was a badly executed race and I felt tired. My coach, Gregor Jelonek, is not worried at all however,” said Boisvert-Lacroix, alluding to his coach for the past four years. “We just travelled and we are still jet lagged. The goal here is to train, to prepare. It's only in four weeks that I will need to do better. Until then, I will have a chance to make it up this Sunday in the second men's 500m, and I will try to do better.”
 
In B group racing, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary took second place in the 1500m.
 
“It was a good starting point for my allround classification at the World Championships,” said Bloemen, who has been coached by Bart Schouten over the last four seasons. “I think I could have pushed a little harder in the second lap, so that’s something to improve on next time. I could have maybe won it with that change, but I'm pretty happy overall.”
 
On Saturday, the second women's 500m will be held, as well as the first of two 1000m events, the women's 1500m and the men's 5000m.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1500m – M
10. Vincent De Haître (1:47.41)
14. Denny Morrison (1:47.94)
18. Ben Donnelly (1:48.84)

500m (1) – M
10. Gilmore Junio (35.18)
12. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (35.44)
14. Alexandre St-Jean (35.49)
16. Laurent Dubreuil (35.58)

1500m (B) – M
2. Ted-Jan Bloemen (1:48.22)
 
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 long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, SSC is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial associations. Speed Skating Canada is committed to Challenge and Inspire Canada to Thrive through the power of Speed Skating. 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. www.speedskating.ca

Speed Skating Canada would like to thank its sponsors:

Premium partner: Intact Insurance
Funding partners: Government of Canada (Sport Canada), Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee
Official On-Ice High Performance Apparel: Li-Ning
Long Track Team Sponsor: KIA
Official Suppliers: Auclair, USANA
Official Technical Equipment Supplier: Nagano Skate
Sport Development Partners: Winsport Canada, Calgary’s Olympic Oval, University of Calgary, Institut national du sport du Québec, Government of Quebec, Canadian Sport Institute-Calgary, City of Montreal, Quebec City, Excellence sportive Québec-Lévis

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For information:
Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC 

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
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