Dubreuil Narrowly Misses World Cup Podium, Finishes 5th in 500m

McLean just outside of top 10 in 500m and 1000m; Irvine and Junio reach Division B podium

HAMAR, NORWAY - Laurent Dubreuil was the top Canadian on the second day of competition at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Norway, earning a fifth-place finish in the men's 500m.

Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. posted a time of 34.812 in the 500m on Saturday, only 0.16 seconds behind gold medalist Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia (34.652) and a mere 0.041 seconds back of bronze medalist Dai Dai Ntab of the Netherlands (34.771).

“It was my best result of the season and it was super encouraging,” said Dubreuil, who also finished fifth in the 500m at the World Cup in Obihiro. “I think I had the legs to win a medal or maybe even win the race. My legs were there, but I was just missing a little bit – four one-hundredths of a second off the podium is really a miniscule gap.”

“It wasn’t a bad race, I just made a few small errors. I was a bit off balance in my start, but it was mostly my entrance into the second turn that I completely messed up,” explained Dubreuil, who is now ranked 12th in the 500m World Cup rankings with 245 points.

It was an encouraging result for Canada's top ranked sprinter, who entered the final World Cup of the season after having skated the fifth fastest 500m of all-time (34.11) at the Canadian national team skate-off in January.

Dubreuil also finished 17th (1:11.057) in the men's 1000m, one spot behind Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., who was 16th (1:10.959).

Heather McLean of Winnipeg, Man. finished just outside the top 10 in both of her races on Saturday, finishing 11th (1:16.848) in the ladies 1000m and 13th (38.546) in the 500m. Teammate Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, Alta. was 12th (1:16.901) in the 1000m, one spot behind.

“It’s fun to race in such an iconic venue here in Hamar,” said McLean. “My racing in both the 500m and 1000m is becoming more consistent, which is something I’ve been working on this season. I’m not where I want to be quite yet, but the most motivating aspect is seeing how much room for improvement there is after each race.”

A pair of podium performances highlighted a Saturday morning Division B session in which seven different Canadians participated.

In the ladies 500m, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, Alta. was second (38.810) and Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask. was fourth (39.028). Meanwhile, Kali Christ of Regina, Sask. got her international season off to an impressive start with a fourth-place (1:17.500) finish in the ladies 1000m.

“My 500m was pretty good. It was great to be on the podium and to move up to A group tomorrow,” said Irvine “I had a few little things that weren’t perfect, otherwise I think I could have won the B group today, but still a good race overall.”

It was a bittersweet result in the 1000m for Irvine, who put forth an impressive race but didn’t get the results she had hoped for.

“It was really fun, and I felt like I was hitting speed that I haven’t yet this year, but I had a crossover issue that just sort of zapped my legs and it was hard to stay on my feet,” she explained. “Overall it was still my best performance this year. What was in my control I executed very well.”

On the men's side, Gilmore Junio of Calgary, Alta. was second (35.267) in the 500m, while teammates Christopher Fiola of Montreal, Que. was fifth (35.514) and Connor Howe fo Canmore, Alta., who was skating in the first World Cup race of his career, was 22nd (36.808).

Fellow World Cup rookie Tyson Langelaar of Winnipeg, Man. earned a seventh-place (1:10.668) result in the men's 1000m, while Fiola finished in 13th place (1:11.349).

The competition concludes on Sunday with the 500m(2) and 1500m. A total of 15 Canadian skaters - all of them with the exception of Howe - will be in action on the final day of long track races before next weekend's World Single Distance Championships in Germany.

A detailed event schedule and live results can be found on the ISU Results Portal. Tomorrow’s races will be webcasted live via CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports beginning at 10:00am EST.

The full list of participating athletes and the distances they will be contesting this weekend is below. A biography of each athlete can be found on the Speed Skating Canada website.

Ladies Team

  • BLONDIN, Ivanie (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m, 3000m
  • CHRIST, Kali (Regina, SK) – 1000m, 1500m
  • HUDEY, Marsha (White City, SK) – 500m(1), 500m(2)
  • IRVINE, Kaylin (Calgary, AB) – 500m(1), 500m(2), 1000m
  • MALTAIS, Valérie (Saguenay, QC) – 1500m, 3000m
  • MCLEAN, Heather (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m(1), 500m(2), 1000m
  • WEIDEMANN, Isabelle (Ottawa, ON) – 1500m, 3000m

Men’s Team

  • BELCHOS, Jordan (Toronto, ON) – 1500m, 5000m
  • BLOEMEN, Ted-Jan (Calgary, AB) – 1500m, 5000m
  • DUBREUIL, Laurent (Lévis, QC) – 500m(1), 500m(2), 1000m
  • FIOLA, Christopher (Montreal, QC) – 500m(1), 500m(2), 1000m
  • FISH, Graeme (Moose Jaw, SK) – 5000m
  • HOWE, Connor (Canmore, AB) – 500m(1), 500m(2)
  • GÉLINAS-BEAULIEU, Antoine (Sherbrooke, QC) – 1000m, 1500m
  • JUNIO, Gilmore (Calgary, AB) – 500m(1), 500m(2)
  • LANGELAAR, Tyson (Winnipeg, MB) – 500m(1), 500m(2), 1000m, 1500m