TOMASZOW MAZOWIECKI, Poland — Canadians Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valerie Maltais skated to a bronze medal in the first team pursuit race of the World Cup season on Saturday.
The trio, who finished fourth in the discipline at last year’s World Single Distance Championships, skated a time of three minutes 3.726 seconds to put them behind Russia and the Netherlands on the podium. The Japanese women, who had won the last ten team pursuit events, fell on the track in the final pairing to end their reign.
"This medal is a really great step for our team," said Weidemann. "We haven’t skated together a lot — our first race together was at the World Single Distance Championships last year. We’re going to train on our bikes in Spain over the next two weeks and hopefully we go into the next race a bit more calm and confident in how we’re skating."
The medal is Maltais’s first on the World Cup circuit since making the switch to long-track speedskating last year.
"It was not our best race and there are definitely things we can improve on, so we’re going to take this medal and look forward to our next race," Maltais said.
Canadians also found success over individual distances. Tyson Langelaar of Winnipeg earned his best career result on the World Cup circuit, finishing fifth in the men’s 1,500 metres. Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., placed eighth.
Kaylin Irvine of Calgary and Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask., both reached the top 10 in the ladies 500, skating the seventh and ninth fastest times of the day.
Jordan Belchos of Toronto was sixth in the men’s mass start, picking up four sprint points over the course of the race.