Riopel, Schussler & Belchos win at trials

Riopel wins the 1,000 metres, Schussler the 1,500 and Belchos the 5,000 at Long Track Fall World Cup Trials

CALGARY – Philippe Riopel, from Lachenaie, Que., edged out Winnipeg's Tyler Derraugh by four one hundredths of a second to win today's 1,000-metre race at Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Long Track Trials at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was first in the women's 1,500 metres and Toronto's Jordan Belchos took top spot in the men's 5,000 metres. The trials continue through until Sunday. (Photo left: Philippe Riopel, credit: Dave Holland)

Riopel won the 1,000 metres in a time of one minute and 8.95 seconds. Derraugh, who also recorded a personal best, came in second place crossing the finish line in 1:08.99. Laurent Dubreuil, from Lévis, Que., was third in 1:09.07, followed Richard MacLennan, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in fourth at 1:09.43 and Dustin Miller, from Kitchener, Ont., was in fifth place in 1:09.52.

"It went well today. I had a good start and good first lap," said Riopel. "My race yesterday (fourth in the 1,500 metres) also went well. I had some small issues I wanted to change for today to make sure that I would have my best possible result."

Schussler was first in the women's 1,500 metres with a time of one minute and 59.46 seconds. Regina's Kali Christ took second place in 1:59.63, and Calgary's Kaylin Irvine skated a personal best of 1:59.77 for third spot. Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin was fourth (2:00.22) and Kate Hanly, from Calgary, took fifth spot (2:00.81).

"My 1,500 today felt a lot better than my 3,000(-metre race) yesterday," said Schussler, who was recently sponsored by Newalta. "I'm still far off my personal best (for the 1,500, 1:54.85). I would like to be faster than I am right now. It's a step in the right direction and making my way back to where I want to be."

Skating in the final pair of the 5,000-metre race, Belchos took first place in a time of six minutes and 28.45 seconds. Denny Morrison, from Fort St. John, B.C., was second in a time of 6:29.28. Regina's Lucas Makowsky was third in 6:30.42, followed by Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., at 6:31.48 and Winnipeg's Stefan Waples stopping the clock at 6:34.23.

"I want to be the guy in the last pair that's going to close out the race and win it," said Belchos. "I still feel the pressure of trying to prove myself as the best long distance skater in the Canada. Halfway through the race I really wasn't sure if I was going to make the team or not, to be honest. So I decided I have six laps to decide what I'm going to do for the next three months, so I better fight."

Mark Wild and Xiuli Wang of the national and development teams program coach Riopel, Schussler and Belchos.

See SSC's website for full results of the complete 19-man field in the 1,000-metre trials, 10 women in the 1,500 metres and 16 men in the 5,000-metre race.

Racing on Saturday will feature junior men's 3,000 metres and men's 10,000 metres. Women will race the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances. On the final day of the trials on Sunday, the men and women's will skate the 500 metres twice. The women’s and men’s mass start will be held on Sunday.

The trials assist in identifying the teams for the first five World Cups of the 2012-13 season. The first long track World Cup will be held Friday, Nov. 16 to Sunday, Nov. 18 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The first event will feature all distances: two 500-metre races; 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 (women), 5,000 (men), mass start and team pursuit.