Irvine, Belchos & Blondin win at fall trials

Irvine wins the 1,000 metres, Belchos the 10,000 and Blondin the 5,000 at Long Track Fall World Cup Trials

CALGARY – Calgary's Kaylin Irvine took advantage of skating in the final pair to win today's women's 1,000-metre race at Speed Skating Canada’s Fall World Cup Long Track Trials at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. Toronto's Jordan Belchos won his second race of the trials capturing the 10,000 metres and Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin had the fastest time in the women's 5,000 metres. The trials wrap-up Sunday with the men and women's 500 metres and mass start. (Photo left: Kayline Irvine after her win today. credit: Dave Holland Photography)

Irvine, finishing only 0.74 seconds slower than her personal best (1:16.07) yet 2.14 seconds faster than the 2011 trials, won today's 1,000 metres in one minute and 16.81 seconds. The 22-year-old was 0.73 seconds faster than second place finisher Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg (1:17.54). Anastasia Bucsis, from Calgary, was third (1:17.55), followed by Regina's Kali Christ in fourth place (1:17.64) and Cindy Klassen from Winnipeg (1:17.79) in fifth spot.

"It was the fastest time I've skated this year," said Irvine. "My goal was to aggressively wind it up, have a strong first lap. The last lap I thought about keeping that going, keeping my technique together and really hammering the last outer, because that's where I've lost races before."

Christine Nesbitt, from London, Ont., did not compete in the 1,000-metre trials having already been preselected at this distance for the fall World Cups. The 27-year-old was world champion in the 1,000-metre and 1,500-metre distances at the World Single Distances Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Belchos reaffirmed his grip as the top Canadian long distance skater capturing the 10,000 metres in a time of 13 minutes and 30.10 seconds. Winnipeg's Stefan Waples took second place in 13:48.38. Leo Landry, from Chelsea, Que., was third (13:53.11), followed by Alec Janssens, from Chilliwack, B.C., in fourth spot and Scott Bickerton, from Nelson, B.C., rounded out the top five.

"I've been pretty good at this distance my whole life," said Belchos, who won the 5,000 metres on Friday. "It wasn't a bad race. It (win) didn't come easy - in that respect it was the same as yesterday. Based on how much the last couple of weeks have taken out of me, how much yesterday took out of me, to come back and still skate a pretty good race, I'm happy with it."

While missing the two top ranked women in the 5,000 metres from the 2011-12 season, Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler, Blondin outpaced her closest competitor today by 15.67 seconds to finish first in a time of seven minutes and 11.52 seconds. Tori Spence, from Kamloops, B.C., crossed the finish line in 7:27.19 for second place. Ottawa's Lauren McGuire took third spot in 7:30.08. Brianne Tutt, from Calgary, was the fourth fastest in 7:32.85. B.C.'s Ashley Nelson was in fifth place with a time of 7:46.31.

"I felt pretty good. I was a little fatigued as it's our first time this year skating three days in a row," said Blondin, who was second in the 3,000 metres on Thursday and fourth in the 1,500 metres on Friday. "I might have started a little too fast, but I held onto it very nicely and didn't panic. Compared to last year, it's like night and day. I'm a hundred per cent back on track (after suffering through a knee injury and mononucleosis last season)."

In the junior men's 3,000 metres, Daniel Dubreuil, from Lévis, Que., was first in a time of three minutes and 59.65 seconds. Quebec's Alexandre Dery was second (4:01.27) and Jess Neufeld, of Manitoba, took third place (4:04.58).

See SSC's website for full results of the complete 10-man field in the 10,000-metre trials, 20 women in the 1,000 metres and six women in the 5,000-metre race.

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.