Weidemann & Bloemen top the podium in 3000m & 5000m at Fall World Cup Long Track Selections

Calgary, October 19, 2017 – Isabelle Weideman of Ottawa and Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary took the top spots respectively in the women's 3000m and men's 5000m, Thursday, on the first day of competition at the Fall World Cup Long Track Selections to be held until Sunday at Calgary's Olympic Oval.

Isabelle Weidemann won with a time of 4:03.87 followed by Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, in 4:06.27 and Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, AB, in a new personal best time of 4:08.42, which she lowered from her previous best of 4:09.62.

“My goal today was to be consistent and skate super flat lap times. I think my race reflected that. I tried to execute all of my technical cues that I have been working on in practice,” explained Weidemann. “I’m working with a new coach, Marcel Lacroix, and I’m really happy with how training is going. I’m excited to see where it takes me this year.”

Ivanie Blondin is prequalified for the Fall World Cups in this distance and also the 5000m, resulting from her top-five results at the World Single Distance Championships last season.

“I was really sick on Tuesday and lost 2 kg. Under these circumstances, I think a 4:06 is really solid for me at this point of the season,” pointed out Blondin. “I’ve been training up to the selections because I'm prequalified. It’s kind of hard mentally, but at the same time I have to look at the big picture and I want to be ready to skate well in South Korea. I’m still on track for what I want to achieve.”

The criteria to be eligible for a spot at the Fall World Cups in the women’s 3000m include a Canadian team imposed time standard of 4:10.73, while there are four quota positions allotted to Canada. The top five women in Thursday's race met this criteria, including Josie Morrison of Kamloops, B.C., with a fourth place finish in a time of 4:08.53 and Keri Morrison of Burlington, ON, in fifth with a time of 4:10.57. For the third World Cup that will be hosted by Calgary, Canada is allotted a full quota, where five athletes can compete in this distance, Keri Morrison being eligible for the fifth spot.

With only 20 athletes to be selected to the Fall World Cup Team, except in Calgary, these are provisional qualifications at this point. The final team will be presented over the next few weeks.

Bloemen ahead of Donnelly and Gélinas-Beaulieu
On the men’s side, Ted-Jan Bloemen skated to a win with a time of 6:17.35, followed by Ben Donnelly in a personal best time of 6:21.71 and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu in third, also in a personal best time, 6:22.73.

“It was a tough race today,” said Bloemen, who is prequalified for this distance at this fall's World Cups after finishing fourth at last season's World Single Distance Championships. “I feel like in the last couple pairs, the ice deteriorated a little. It’s the first time we had to cope with that this season. It felt like I kept losing speed in the straight-aways and my lap times kept dropping off a little bit. I felt like the plan I had for this race wasn’t really working. I got a little frustrated with that. But near the end of the race, I started figuring out how to cope with the ice, by changing my strides a little bit, and I was able to finish on a high. I think we’re on the right track.”

Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON performed as he expected for a second place finish that allowed him to improve his personal best time by more than a second.

“The plan was to start at a relaxed but good pace for the first six laps to see how it felt and then, to try and build or drop it down, or just try to maintain. With six laps to go, I still felt really good and fresh, so I worked on dropping my lap times down,” said Donnelly. “With all the training I’ve been doing, I thought I was capable of coming up a personal best this weekend. Yet, it doesn’t feel like I’m totally at my peak. One of the big things about being able to train in Bart Schouten’s group with all the top guys, is that it's really making me push myself a lot harder and be a lot more focused. I want to be as fast as them and train as hard as them.”

For his part, Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, QC, bested his previous personal record by a whopping twelve seconds from 6:34.56.

“I had a month of preparation in Calgary prior to this competition. I trained hard all summer and thought I could come up with a good race, but I never expected a 12-second improvement on my personal best in this race,” said Gélinas-Beaulieu, who returned to skating recently. “I stopped skating for four years, I came back and I didn’t expect too much. But I find my motivation has come back, and so is the fun I feel when I train and compete.”

The criteria to qualify for the Fall World Cups in the 5000m include a time standard of 6:28.71 which was met by the top five men in Thursday's event. With three quota spots at the World Cups awarded to Canada, only the top three finishers in this distance on Thursday provisionnally qualified for a spot on the team. As the hosts of the third World Cup this fall, Canada is allotted a full quota of five spots at that competition, giving fourth place finisher Jordan Belchos of Toronto (6:23.84) and fifth place finisher Denny Morrison of Fort St John, B.C. (6:24.33) a shot to race this distance at home.

The Fall World Cup Selections will end on Sunday. Friday's schedule will kick off at 1 :30 pm, local time, with the men's and women's 500m, to be followed by the men's 10,000m and the women's 5000m.
 
Competitions are webstreamed live on the Olympic Oval’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/theolympicoval.
 
Additional details are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at 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, Conseil du sport de haut niveau de Québec

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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
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC