Canadian men win silver in team sprint event to clinch overall World Cup title

Canadian men win silver in team sprint

STAVANGER, Norway — The Canadian men skated to a silver medal in the team sprint held Sunday, ensuring them the overall World Cup title in that event, while Ivanie Blondin raced to eighth place in the women’s mass start to finish third in overall World Cup ranking for the season.

Vincent De Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que, won the silver medal in a time of one minute 20.91 seconds. The team, which also includes Montreal’s Christopher Fiola, who competed in two of the fall World Cup stages and won a gold medal performance in Nagano, Japan, last November, won the overall World Cup title.

“We knew we would maintain our overall ranking with the way the competition worked out,” said De Haitre. “We surprised ourselves a bit with the second place finish. Our major objective was to see what we could do when the cards were against us. We had a nice smooth race, and we now have an overall victory and a silver medal to show for it, and we are all really happy with that.”

The Dutch (1:20.55) won gold with Germany (1:21.06) in bronze, resulting in the overall standings with the Netherlands finishing second and the German team in third.

In the women’s mass start event, Ottawa’s Blondin skated to eighth place, but kept her feet on the podium in overall World Cup standings. She ended up third with 344 points, behind Bo-Reum Kim (460) of South Korea and Francesca Lollibrigida (364) of Italy.

Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won gold on Sunday, while silver went to Kim and bronze was won by Lollibrigida.

In the second 500 metres of the competition, Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask., raced to a fourth place finish in 38.10 seconds. She improved her overall ranking from fifth to fourth.

Noa Kodaira (37.24) of Japan was first in Sunday’s race, second was Karolina Erbanova (37.72) of Kazakhstan and third place went to Kamiya Erina (38.06) of Japan. Kodaira took the overall title, with teammates Maki Tsuji and Erina in second and third respectively.

On the men’s side, Dubreuil was fifth (34.83) in the second 500 metres of the competition. He finishes the season with a jump up to ninth place in overall standings.

The podium was a Dutch sweep with Dai Dai Ntab (34.72) first, Ronald Mulder (34.77) second and Jan Smeekens (34.81) in third place. In overall standings, Ntab (585) was first and Mulder (541) third, split by Ruslan Murashkov (557) of Russia in second.

In the men’s 1,500 metres, De Haitre raced his fourth race of the competition to place seventh in a time of 1:47.21, ranking him 10th in World Cup overall standings in that distance.

Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis (1:45.00) was first with countryman Patrick Roost (1:46.28) second, while Sverre Lunde Pedersen (1:46.61) of Norway was third. Nuis (455) and Roost (345) placed first and third respectively in the overall World Cup standings, with Denis Yuskov (430) of Russia second.

Jean finished 10th in the men’s mass start with Toronto’s Jordan Belchos finishing 13th. Belchos maintained his overall ranking of 14th, while Jean climbed four positions in the standings to end up in 18th. Seung-Hoon Lee of South Korea, Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands and Bart Swings of Belgium stood one, two, three on Sunday’s podium. Lee (412) was crowned the overall champion with Bergsma (270) in third and Andrea Giovannini (280) of Italy in second between them.

Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen received the Oscar Mathisen Award for the 2015-2016 season, awarded annually since 1959 to a speed skating athlete on the international scene for his or her outstanding performance.

The Canadian Press