Team Canada with Valerie Maltais, second left, Ivanie Blondin, right, and Isabelle Weidemann, left, celebrate setting a new track record and winning the women's team pursuit race of the World Cup Speedskating at the Thialf ice arena in Heerenveen, northern Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Peter Dejong

Canadian women’s speedskating team back on top of podium at World Cup

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada’s women’s team pursuit speedskating squad has captured gold at a World Cup for the second week in a row, while the Canadian men’s squad earned silver.

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., set a track record of two minutes 54.64 seconds to beat the host Netherlands by just under a second on Friday.

Norway was third.

The three countries stood on the same spots on the podium at last week’s opening World Cup of the season in the same venue.

Canada switched its order for Friday’s race, with Maltais starting, Blondin going second and Weidemann finishing.

“We were really nervous before the race, but I think we really focused on the tactical and technical aspects,” Maltais said. “We executed them well, even better than expected, and we proved to ourselves that we could go even faster.

“I’m proud of us because, when you have a strategy that wins the weekend before, it takes courage to completely change things in order to try and get even better.”

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen, Toronto’s Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., finished second in the men’s team pursuit behind Norway on Friday.

Russia was third.

The Canadian men were third in last week’s race.

“It’s amazing to me how quickly we’ve all clicked together,” Belchos said. “While we train together, we don’t train specifically for the team pursuit all the time. I think today we executed pretty well. I’m really impressed with (Howe) for coming in these past two weeks and doing just a perfect job.”

Belchos later finished fifth in a mass start semifinal to qualify for the final.

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated the racing season and compressed it into a pair of World Cups followed by next month’s world championship in Heerenveen.

Canada’s long-track speedskating team has also been without ice at Calgary’s Olympic Oval since Sept. 5 because of a mechanical failure.

Their on-ice training was limited to a two-week camp in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., outdoor oval skating in Red Deer, Alta., and short-track workouts in Calgary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Jayden Grubbe is one of three Rebels on the NHL Central Scouting players to watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels seek consistency ahead of matchup with Hitmen

The Red Deer Rebels had to deal with a pang of regret… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro to announce investments to reduce surgery wait times. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)
More than 16K surgeries, procedures delayed in Alberta due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has delayed more than 16,000 surgeries and procedures in Alberta, as… Continue reading

Quinn Mason died from an opioid overdose at the age of 23 in June 2020. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta mother whose son died from overdose advocates for ‘change’

It’s been about nine months since her son died from an overdose,… Continue reading

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Majority of Albertans to receive first shot before June 30: Shandro

Shandro says all Albertans should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dillon Dube scores hat trick for Flames in 7-3 win over Senators

Dillon Dube scores hat trick for Flames in 7-3 win over Senators

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp gives instructions during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Phil Noble, Pool via AP)
Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen reacts to a goal by Winnipeg Jets' Paul Stastny, left, during first-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) shoots after grabbing a rebound against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Boston. At right is Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel answers a question during a news conference addressing hockey issues at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The International Ice Hockey Federation has confirmed the postponement of the women's world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May 6-16. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP /Mark Humphrey
IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

Quebec Premier François Legault chairs a virtual news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. The premiers from the left are: John Horgan, B.C.; Jason Kenney, Alberta; Scott Moe, Saskatchewan; Legault, Quebec; Brian Pallister, Manitoba; Doug Ford, Ontario; and Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Most Read