Isabelle Weidemann (left) and Ivanie Blondin (right) receive their trophies for finishing second and third overall in the ladies long distance events during the 2019-2020 ISU World Cup season. Credit: International Skating Union

On the opening day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final in the Netherlands, the Canadian team’s racing earned four skaters a spot on the overall classification podiums for the 2019-20 World Cup season. Isabelle Weidemann placed second in the ladies’ long distance events, standing alongside Ivanie Blondin in third, while Graeme Fish and Laurent Dubreuil elevated themselves to third in the men’s long distance and 1000m events, respectively.

Weidemann won the final ladies’ 3000m race in Hereenveen on Saturday, crossing the line in a time of 3:59.759 to boost her point total for the season to 353 and place her in second overall behind Czech skater Martina Sáblíková (357 points). Despite finishing in sixth this weekend, fellow Ottawa native Blondin had a stellar World Cup season which earned her a total of 314 points and a third-place finish in the overall rankings.

Capping off a breakout year in which he was crowned 10,000m World Champion, Fish (Moose Jaw, Sask.) found his way to the podium in the overall World Cup ranking for the first time, finishing third in the long distance classification with 306 points. Dutch skater Patrick Roest took the title with 360 points and a perfect record this season, while Russian Danila Semerikov was second (323 points).

In Saturday’s 5000m race, Fish came second behind Roest with a time of 6:12.830. Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, Alta.), who finished just off the overall classification podium in fourth, earned a bronze medal at the Thialf Stadium with a time of 6:13.721.

Dubreuil – an established 500m specialist – has found new success in the 1000m this season. His time of 1:08.118 placed him second in the distance on Saturday and vaulted the Canadian skater into third position overall with 251 points. Thomas Krol (294 points) and Kai Verbij (272 points) of the Netherlands rounded out both Saturday’s and the overall podium in that order.

Dubreuil (Lévis, Que.) was also second in the first men’s 500m of the World Cup Final, and currently sits sixth overall this season with one race yet to come. His time of 34.416 on Saturday placed him behind this season’s World Sprint Champion, Tatsuya Shinhama of Japan, and ahead of Korea’s Joon-Ho Kim.

“My goal today was to go out and be aggressive and correct some of the mistakes that I made last weekend in the 3000m [at the World Allround Championships]. After watching the girls in the first pairs, I wanted to skate powerfully in the first few laps to give myself a chance. I’m happy with how it went and honoured to be second in the overall classification. The season has been a bit of a roller coaster for me; I won the first and last World Cups and the competitions in between were up and down. So I’m happy to be moving in the right direction going into the summer!”
– Isabelle Weidemann

“My 500m went well, although I made a few errors and didn’t really have a good feeling while I was skating. Nevertheless, my time was still among the best skated here in Heerenveen. I thought that I still had a bit more to offer and know that the 1000m was my chance to show that. My first lap in that race was really something else – the fastest ever skated on this track. To find myself ranked third overall was the perfect ending to the best day ever in my career.”
– Laurent Dubreuil