Dubreuil Top Canadian on Opening Day of World Cup in Obihiro

Dubreuil opens season with 5th place finish in 500m; Ladies Team Pursuit earns 4th place result

OBIHIRO, JAPAN – Laurent Dubreuil opened the World Cup season with a fifth place finish in the men’s 500m at the 2018 ISU World Cup Speed Skating #1 in Obihiro, Japan. Canada also fell just short of the podium in the team pursuit races, with the ladies finishing fourth and the men fifth.

Dubreuil of Lévis, Que. was the top individual performer on opening day of the World Cup. The recently crowned Canadian champion in both the 500m and 1000m continued the hot start to his season with a fifth place finish in the 500m(1). His time of 35.049 was 0.31 seconds behind gold medalist Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen of Norway.

“It was a good race,” explained Dubreuil about his result on Friday. “Of course, I wish I was a couple of spots higher on the podium, but to start the season with a fifth place is satisfying. I’m hoping to correct a few small mistakes I made in tomorrow’s race and improve on my time. But I’m pretty happy with my overall performance today.”

Teammates Christopher Fiola (Montreal, Que.) and David La Rue (Saint-Lambert, Que.) also skated in the 500m(1), finishing with times of 35.692 (18th) and 36.169 (19th), respectively.

Kaylin Irvine (Calgary, Alta.) and Heather McLean (Winnipeg, Man.) skated in the ladies 500m(1), with Irvine coming in 14th with a time of 38.825, while McLean’s time of 39.256 was good for 19th. Both skaters will have the opportunity to improve on their results in tomorrow’s 500m(2).

Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ont. skated a time of 8:18.920 in his semi-final for the men’s mass start, finishing in 12th position among 16 skaters, which failed to advance him into the final.

Canada fared much better in the team events on Friday, falling just short of the podium in a pair of races.

Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann, both of Ottawa, Ont., and Keri Morrison of Burlington, Ont. earned a fourth-place finish in the ladies team pursuit. Their time of 3:01.470 put them behind Japan, who set a new track record with a mark of 2:57.800, the Netherlands and Russia.

In the men’s team pursuit race, Belchos, along with Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, Alta.) and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, Que.), skated to a fifth-place result with a time of 3:44.230. The top three spots were claimed by Russia, the Netherlands and Norway. 

All eleven of Canada’s skaters will participate in individual distances on the second day of competition tomorrow. McLean and Irvine will skate in the ladies 500m(2); Blondin, Morrison and Weidemann in the ladies 1500m; Dubreuil, Fiola and La Rue in the men’s 500m(2); and Gélinas-Beaulieu, Bloemen, Belchos and La Rue in the men’s 1500m.

The mass start finals will also take place, with Blondin and Weidemann slated to compete in the ladies event.

CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will both have live coverage of the event beginning at 1:30AM ET.

For more information on the event, including links to schedules, results and webcasting, please visit https://www.speedskating.ca/events/world-cup-1-lt.