Heather McLean and Isabelle Weidemann were the top Canadian long track skaters on the final day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, narrowly missing out on a podium spot in their respective distances.
After winning a bronze medal in yesterday’s first 500m race of the weekend, Winnipeg’s McLean finished just 0.11 seconds off the podium in Sunday’s second 500m, settling for a fourth-place finish (37.522) behind Femke Kok of the Netherlands (37.276) and Russian’s Angelina Golikova (+0.02) and Olga Fatkulina (+0.13). The 28-year old also place 11th in the women’s 1000m.
Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann posted the fifth-best time in the women’s 3000m, clocking in at 3:59.437. The Dutch trio of Irene Schouten (3:57.155), Antoinette de Jong (+1.36) and Joy Beune (+1.75) swept the podium. It’s an encouraging start to the season for the long-distance specialist, who earned four individual World Cup medals last season (two gold, two bronze) and narrowly missed the 5000m podium at the World Championships, finishing sixth.
Earlier in the day, Canadian sprinter Laurent Dubreuil, who won silver in the 500m on Saturday, was dealt a disappointing blow during his second 500m race.
His racing counterpart Ruslan Murashov of Russia lost control and slide into Dubreuil’s outside lane, forcing the native of Lévis, Que., to slow down and swerve away from the fallen skater to avoid a potential collision. He was permitted a solo re-skate shortly after, but under the difficult circumstances could only muster a time of 35.139, good for 15th place.
In addition to McLean and Weidemann’s top-5 results, three Canadian skaters cracked the top-10 on Sunday.
In the men’s 5000m, Toronto’s Jordan Belchos earned Canada’s best result, placing seventh with a time of 6:18.054; Calgary’s Gilmore Junio posted the fastest time in the men’s 500m (34.816), which ranked him ninth overall; and Dubreuil was ninth (1:08.880) in the first 1000m race of the season.
Despite not reaching the podium on the final day of competition, Canada concluded the first World Cup of the condensed international campaign with a surprising five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze.
ISU World Cup action continues next weekend, January 29-31, with the second consecutive competition in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. CBC Sports will have live streaming coverage of the races; visit the schedule for broadcast and streaming times in your area.