Canada's Laurent Dubreuil wins gold at World Cup speed skating event in Norway
Teammate Ted-Jan Bloemen adds bronze in men's 10,000 metres
Laurent Dubreuil captured gold in the men's 500-metre competition at a long track speed skating World Cup stop in Stavanger, Norway, on Saturday.
The native of Lévis Que., finished in a time of 34.573 seconds to stand atop the podium, ahead of Russia's Artem Arefyev (34.608) and Marek Kania of Poland (34.653).
While he was slower through the first 100 metres, Dubreuil edged Arefyev at the finish. None of the skaters in the ensuing pairs were able to put forth a faster time and the mark set by Kania was good for third.
It marked only the second individual World Cup victory of Dubreuil's career after he won gold in the 500 during the 2017-18 season. He tops the overall World Cup standings, eight points ahead of Tatsuya Shinhama of Japan, who placed fifth on Saturday.
WATCH | Dubreuil speeds to gold in Stavanger:
"It was obviously a good race, based on the victory. I didn't feel as good physically as I did last weekend, but I skated a lot better technically than in Poland," Dubreuil told Speed Skating Canada. "I was able to stay concentrated all the way to the finish, despite my pair starting much faster than I anticipated, but I know that I am capable of being even faster."
Ted-Jan Bloemen also picked up a podium finish on Saturday, scoring a bronze medal in the men's 10,000 ahead of teammate Graeme Fish of Moose Jaw, Sask., in fourth.
Bloemen sits second in the World Cup long distance rankings, trailing only Nils van der Poel of Sweden, who set a new track record of 12:38.928 to take the gold medal in Saturday's race.
WATCH | Bloemen takes bronze in 10,000:
His lap times were consistently more than half a second faster than those of Dutch skater Jorrit Bergsma, who crossed the line 17.16 seconds behind his pair to earn silver.
"I'm really happy to pick up another medal today. I knew it was going to be a tough race, since I am a skater that really uses his technique and his glide to go fast, which works better in faster conditions," Bloemem said. "I can feel that there is so much more potential in me on faster ice, so I am excited for the next two World Cups in Salt Lake City and Calgary.
Swede sets track record
"Nils van der Poel was a bit in his own category today, so we will need to keep chipping away."
Sweden's Nils van der Poel set a track record to win in 12 minutes 38.928 seconds.
Dubreuil and Bloemen's medals were the second and third picked up by Canadians this weekend in Stavanger. Isabelle Weidemann opened the event with a silver medal in the women's 5,000 on Friday.
WATCH | Weidemann skates to silver in women's 5,000:
Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin, Maddison Pearman of Ponoka, Alta., and Alexa Scott of Clandeboye, Man., finished second in women's team sprint behind Poland on Saturday.
Blondin was able to make up significant ground in the final 400 metres catapulting the team from fifth to second position and a finishing time of 1:28.547.
The silver medal marks a first senior World Cup podium finish for both Pearman and Scott. The Polish team narrowly edged the Canadians for gold with a time of 1:28.364, while China took bronze after their final skater crossed the line in 1:28.574.
"The team sprint isn't an Olympic event, so we went into the race without a ton of pressure and just wanting to have fun," Pearman said. "It's one of our biggest strengths and advantages over the other teams that we train together every day."
Action wraps up Sunday with the second 500 and the 1,500 for both men and women. Races will be streamed live at CBC Sports beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
With files from The Canadian Press