Canadian long track skaters kicked off the World Cup season with a trio of podium performances on the opening day competition in Minks, Belarus.
Isabelle Weidemann and Ivanie Blondin won gold and bronze in the ladies’ 3000m, respectively, while Gilmore Junio, Laurent Dubreuil and David La Rue raced to a bronze medal in the men’s team sprint event.
Weidemann posted a time of 4:04.679 to win gold in the ladies’ 3000m, ahead of Carlijn Achtereekte of the Netherlands (4:05.153) and teammate Blondin (4:06.080).
The Ottawa-born duo, who finished last season ranked fourth and fifth in the World Cup standings for long distances, are off to a hot start. Weidemann won three individual medals in 2018-2019, including a gold and silver in the 3000m distance, while Blondin improved on her season’s best fourth-place result in the distance by winning bronze in her first race of the season.
Meanwhile, Junio (Calgary, Alta.), Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.) and La Rue (Saint-Lambert, Que.) earned Canada’s first medal of the season earlier in the day, posting a time of 1:21.670 in the team sprint, which put them behind the Netherlands and China.
It marked the first career World Cup medal for La Rue, who has been on the senior circuit since the 2017-2018 season. While Dubreuil returned to the podium after helping his country earn a pair of bronze medals in the event last season, alongside Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu and Christopher Fiola.