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Laurent Dubreuil wins Canada's 1st gold of long track World Cup season Vincent De Haitre, Ivanie Blondin also land on the podium with silvers

Canada came out hot at the first World Cup long track speed skating event of the season from the Netherlands on Saturday, claiming a gold and silver medal in men's events.

Laurent Dubreuil started by taking gold in the 500-metre event, and Vincent De Haitre followed shortly after with silver in the 1500m.

Ivanie Blondin gave Canada a trio of medals with a silver in the mass start. 

Dubreuil, from Levis, Que., finished with a time of 34.80 seconds in the 500, besting the Netherlands contingent that finished second through fifth. It was the first World Cup gold of Dubreuil's career.

"I wasn't sure if I had the legs to win today," said Dubreuil. "I was in the second pairing at the start, so it was a matter of coming up with the best race possible and then waiting for the rest of the event to unfold. After my race, I knew I had a chance to win it."

Jan Smeekens took second place at just 0.04 behind Dubreuil, and Ronald Mulder placed third, 0.05 behind the Canadian.

Canadians also placed 12th and 14th, with Will Dutton timing in at 35.07 and Gilmore Junio at 35.13.

De Haitre on the podium

De Haitre, of Cumberland, Ont. had a successful opening to his World Cup season, winning silver in the 1500. He clocked in with a time of 1:45.87.

"It is really motivating and big boost of confidence to start the season," said De Haitre. "I was able to stay relaxed and to keep putting pressure into the ice."

He was behind Russian Denis Yuskov who blasted the competition, finishing 1.45 seconds ahead for gold. 

Thomas Krol of the Netherlands grabbed bronze at 1:45.92.

Blondin grabs silver

Blondin gave Canada their third medal of the day, and fourth of the weekend, when she finished second in the mass start at 8:31.16, just 0.04 seconds off gold. 

"I felt strong and I felt confident, especially after recovering from a fall like I did in the semifinal [Friday]," said Blondin. "I was calm and collected before the race, which was a little strange considering it was the first race."

The top of the podium was claimed by Japan's Ayano Sato.

In the women's 1500, Blondin was Canada's only skater in the final, finishing 13th. 

In the men's mass start, Olivier Jean finished 16th.

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© 2024, Vincent De Haître. Canadian Olympic Dualsport Athlete. Created by: Chabo Communications & Design