The women's team pursuit comes up with best Canadian performance of the day at ISU World Cup Long Track in Heerenveen

Heerenveen, December 12, 2015 – The women's team pursuit came up with the best Canadian performance of the day with a fifth-place finish while Gilmore Junio and Heather McLean both tallied their best career performance in the 1000m distance, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Long Track Speed Skating competition held in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

In the women's team pursuit, Ottawa skaters Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann as well as Josie Spence of Kamloops, British Columbia, finished in fifth place with a time of 3:04.17. Japan won gold (2:59.58), followed by the Netherlands (3:01.26) and Poland (3:01.51).

“It wasn't a perfectly executed race, but I think we can learn from our mistakes as we move on from race to race,” said Ivanie Blondin.

“Our team has a lot of potential and we are learning a lot by skating together,” said Josie Spence. “We've been switching things around at every World Cup so far to see what works best for us, and I think it's a good plan leading up to the World Single Distance Championships.”

In the men's 1000m, Gilmore Junio of Calgary was 18th in the division A race, which constitutes his best career ranking in that distance. He skated to a time of 1:10.37.

Junio was returning in the 1000m A division for the first time since the first World Cup stage of the 2011-2012 season, held in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

“It was a good experience, said Junio. I know that there is another level I need to get to in order to compete against some of the faster guys but seeing that first hand gives me some confidence moving forward. It’s been a lot of racing these past couple of weeks but to have 1000’s that I’ve been happy is something that I will take from these Fall World Cups.”

Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, ON, was the best Canadian with a 10th position (1:09.44), while Alexandre St-Jean of Québec City was 11th (1:09.46). Russian skaters Pavel Kulizhnikov (1:08.16) and Denis Yuskov (1:08.59) finished 1-2, while Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands was third (1:08.61).

“My opener wasn't how I wanted it to be and I was kind of disappointed to have the other skater in my way on the crossover, but I was one of the fastest skaters on the last lap, so there are positives to take away from this race,” said Vincent De Haître. “It means my fitness level is improving, which is something we've been working on. Now, it's a question of putting everything together in a race to make it work.”

In the 5000m, Jordan Belchos of Toronto was 13th with a time of 6:29.22. Dutch skaters Sven Kramer (6:14.99) and Jorrit Bergsma (6:16.41) respectively won gold and silver, followed by Belgium's Bart Swings (6:20.80).

Kaylin Irvine wins, best career performance by Heather McLean in 1000m
In the women's 1000m, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary won the division B race with a time of 1:17.32.

“It's a great feeling to finish the fall World Cups with a win, so I'll take it with great pleasure,” said Kaylin Irvine. “It felt like my race was 100 percent grit and zero percent technique, but sometimes, that's the best way to go faster, I guess!”

For her part, Heather McLean of Winnipeg came up with her best career performance in a 1000m race by finishing sixth in the B division event (1:18.72). She therefore improved on the 8th-position result she earned at this season's second World Cup stage, in Salt Lake City.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

Team Pursuit W - A
5: Canada: 3:04.17
(Ivanie Blondin, Josie Spence, Isabelle Weidemann)

1000m M - A
10: Vincent De Haître: 1:09.44
11: Alexandre St-Jean: 1:09.46
18: Gilmore Junio: 1:10.37

5000m M - A
13: Jordan Belchos: 6:29.22

1000m W - B
1: Kaylin Irvine: 1:17.32
6: Heather McLean: 1:18.72
19: Marsha Hudey: DQ

5000m M - B
20: Stefan Waples: 6:50.03

More details, including the race schedule, are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at 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 14,000 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 sponsors Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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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