Three medals for Canadian speedskaters on opening day of World Cup event in Poland

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TOMASZÓW MAZOWIECKI, Poland — Canadian speedskaters picked up two silver and one bronze medal Friday on the opening day of a World Cup event in Poland.

Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen and Ottawa's Isabelle Weidemann finished second in the men's 5,000 metres and women's 3,000 metres respectively, while Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., finished third in the first men's 500-metre race.

Bloemen had the fastest first eight laps of the 5,000 before falling behind Sweden's Nils van der Poel, who won in a time of six minutes 15.562 seconds. Bloemen finished in 6:20.941, followed by Patrick Roest of the Netherlands in 6:21.033.

"For me, this World Cup is really exciting," Bloemen said. "To be back in a ‘normal’ competition with all of the athletes competing is a great feeling.

"I knew I was in good shape based on my races in the pre-season and training here in Poland, but there is always the question mark about how good the other countries will be. It was fun to find out that I’m doing really well, even on a slower rink, where my reliance on technique isn’t quite as helpful as in fast conditions."

Weidemann made a late play for the podium, with her time jumping from ninth to fourth after the sixth lap and then into second after the penultimate seventh lap as she finished in 4:05.255.

Irene Schouten of the Netherlands was first in 4:04.009, while Francesca Lollobrigida of Italy was third in 4:06.528.

"It was a hard race out there today," Weidemann said. The ice is not very forgiving, so I was exhausted by the end. I’m really happy with my performance though, which is a positive start to the season."

Dubreuil made a late charge to cross the line in 34.687 seconds, .42 seconds behind winner Tingyu Gao of China. Japan's Tatsuya Shinhama was second in 34.546.

"To start the season with a podium, that's really ideal," Dubreuil said. "While we are concentrating on our own performance, this proves to me right away that I have the legs to compete with the best all season."

Competition continues through Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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