Road To The Olympic Games

Speed Skating

Heather McLean takes bronze at speed skating World Cup finals

Canada's Heather McLean claimed bronze in her second 500-metre race of the speed skating World Cup finals on Saturday.

Canadian men claim team pursuit silver

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final - Heerenveen, Netherlands 1:09

Canada's Heather McLean ended the World Cup season with bronze in her second 500-metre race of the speed skating World Cup finals on Saturday. 

McLean, of Winnipeg, was only 0.43 seconds behind American Brittany Bowe's gold-medal pace. 

Adding a fifth-place finish in Friday's 500, the 23-year-old McLean finished the season sixth overall.

"There was such a big crowd today and I wanted to enjoy my last race in this environment," McLean told Speed Skating Canada from Heerenveen, Netherlands. "My parents were here to watch and it felt great that they got to see me on the podium.

"I focused on fixing a small technical point from my race yesterday and it is what made the difference today."

Bowe won in 37.64 seconds to edge teammate Heather Richardson-Bergsma, whose second place gave her enough points for the overall title despite not winning a single World Cup race over 500 metres. Bowe won the first 500 on Friday.

Gilmore Junio, Alexandre St-Jean and Vincent De Haître took silver for Canada in 1:20.41 in the inaugural team sprint, 0.01 behind the Dutch, and Ruslan Murashov, Aleksey Yesin and Kirill Golubev handed Russia the bronze medal in 1:20.86.

The Canadians finish third overall on the season with 320 points, behind the Netherlands (390) and Russia (334).

"It was a great race, but we were hoping for a bit better to make up points in the overall standings," said Junio, who was third in Friday's 500. "Alex and Vince stepped it up after their 1,000-metre races, so I have to give them credit for skating so well in their second race for the day."

Nuis captures 1,000, season title

Dutchman Kjeld Nuis won the 1,000 metres in one minute, 8.94 seconds to seal the season title. Nuis went into the finals level on points with Pavel Kulizhnikov but the Russian sprinter was not in Heerenveen after testing positive for meldonium.

Kai Verbij of the Netherlands was second and Denis Yuskov of Russia was third.

In the men's 5,000, Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen finished fourth in a personal best 6:16.70, a little less than four-tenths of a second shy of the podium behind Sverre Lunde Pederson of Norway. The Netherlands duo of Sven Kramer and Jorrit Bergsma was 1-2 in 6:11.44 and 6:12.74, respectively.

"It was my best race since my injury in the fall," Bloemen said. "My race was consistent and technically good. It's taken time, getting stronger, healing and finding my rhythm again to have a good race."

Bloemen ends the season fourth overall with 330 points, trailing Kramer (530), Bergsma (530) and Pederson (369).

Toronto's Jordan Belchos was ninth Saturday (6:26.99)  and 12th overall with 144 points.

On the final day of competition Sunday, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, Junio, St-Jean, Dutton and Dubreuil compete in the 500 while De Haitre in the 1,500 and Robert Watson, Ivanie Blondin and Belchos are the other Canadian entries.

Other Canadian results:

Men's 1,000

  • St-Jean: 9th in 1:09.86
  • De Haitre: 11th in 1:10.01

They finish 11th and ninth overall, respectively.

With files from The Associated Press

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