Canada wins three more medals on final day of opening World Cup stage

(Zsolt Czegledi/AP)

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada won gold in the men’s team sprint on Sunday at the first ISU World Cup stage of the season.

It was one of three long track speed skating medals for Canada on the day as Ted-Jan Bloemen earned silver in the men’s 5,000 metres and Ivanie Blondin took bronze in the women’s 3,000.

Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., Alexandre St-Jean of Quebec City and Vincent De Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., led the Canadians to a dominating victory in the men’s team sprint race in one minute 19.55 seconds. Norway finished second (1:20.00) while Russia was third (1:20.94).

Canada is the reigning World Cup champion in the discipline.

"It wasn’t a perfect race, but we have a good team and we’re happy with our performance," said St-Jean. "Hopefully, we’ll be able to be even faster next week."

Blondin earned her third medal of the event with a third-place finish in the 3,000. The Ottawa native finished in 4:04.16, behind Antoinette de Jong (4:03.53) of the Netherlands, who won gold, and Russia’s Natalia Voronina (4:04.00).

Blondin also took bronze in the women’s team pursuit on Friday and silver in Saturday’s mass start race.

Local skater Sven Kramer beat out Bloemen of Calgary in the 5,000 despite suffering from a cold. Kramer registered a time of 6:12.88 while Bloemen finished in 6:14.95. Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway earned bronze (6:15.81).

Nao Kodaira added 1,000 metres gold for her third gold medal of the weekend to turn Japan into the dominating nation heading further into the Olympic season.

The Japanese women were overwhelming throughout the three-day competition, with six victories in eight races.