Ottawa's Blondin wins mass start gold at speedskating World Cup in Belarus

The Canadian Press

MINSK, Belarus — Canada's Ivanie Blondin won gold in the mass start race on Sunday, the final day of action at the speedskating World Cup.

The Ottawa native finished in eight minutes 22.630 seconds to earn 60 sprint points.

Blondin raced past Irene Schouten (8:22.710, 40 sprint points), the defending world champion from the Netherlands, in the final straight to take the top spot on the podium. Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida (8:23.570, 20 sprint points) took bronze.

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"I was very patient throughout the entire race and near the finish, when there were two laps left, I had the perfect opportunity to go behind Irene Schouten," said Blondin. "Usually it's the other way around and she's the one following me, so it was nice to get that draft. Into the final turn, I pulled a short track move on her: I went wide going into the turn and then really tight coming out of the turn and was able to pass her in the last 100 metres."

Fellow Italian skater Noemi Bonazza broke away from the pack after the first sprint lap, and held the lead for 10 of 16 laps, before running out of steam and getting overtaken by the group.

Blondin is no stranger to winning medals in the mass start. Since the 2012-2013 season, the two-time Olympian has captured one gold and two silver at the world single distance championships, along with six gold, eleven silver and nine bronze on the World Cup circuit.

Also Sunday, Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., won Division B of the 500 metres in 35.371 seconds and Winnipeg's Tyson Langelaar was second in Division B of the 1,500 metres in 1:48.449, results that will push both skaters into Division A at next weekend's World Cup in Poland.

Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., failed to qualify for the mass start finals after coming tenth in her semifinals race.

The Canadian Press

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