Ivanie Blondin, Ted-Jan Bloemen 1st winners at World Cup Selections meet
Vying for spots on Canadian national team for World Cup events
On the opening day of the Canadian Fall World Cup Selections speed skating races at the Calgary Olympic Oval, Ivanie Blondin and Ted-Jan Bloemen repeated their winning form from one year ago.
Blondin, from Ottawa, had the fastest time in the women's 3000 metre race with a time of four minutes,11.49 seconds, while Bloemen, a Calgarian, set the pace in the men's 5000, clocking 6:19.96, some eight seconds ahead of runner-up Jordan Belchos, of Toronto.
Thursday was the first of four days of races at the oval, which coincide with the Oval Invitational events and will help determine Canada's line-up of speed skaters for the first four World Cup events of the season, beginning in Calgary, Nov. 13-15.
In the women's 3000 metre race, Blondin was followed by Isabelle Weidemann, also from Ottawa, in 4:13.70. Josie Spence (4:14.00) from Kamloops, British Columbia, was third.
Last year, Blondin, who was crowned 2014-2015 overall World Cup champion in the mass start, also won the women's 3000m race at the Fall World Cup Selections as well as at the Canadian Single Distance Championships.
"I didn't feel too nervous going into the race, and I even may have felt a little too relaxed, so it wasn't the prettiest of races or the fastest time. But I did what I set out to do, which was to finish in first place," pointed out Blondin, who is already certain of earning a spot on the Canadian World Cup team due to her second-place result in the women's mass start event at least season's ISU World Single Distance Championships.
"Overall, my focus remains on preparing for this season's first World Cup."
On the men's side, Bloemen picked up where he left off last year in the men's 5000 metres by coming up with the win. He also finished first in 2014-2015 in that distance at the Fall World Cup Selections as well as at the Canadian Single Distance Championships. Following behind Belchos was junior sensation Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, Ont.
"When the first skaters went out, I saw that the times was a bit slow today, so I didn't expect much in terms of times," said Bloemen. "I still was pretty fast in the first half of the race, and I felt good at that point, and I was focusing on the need to quicken the pace in the second half of the race; but as it turns out, I went too hard. I suffered over the last three laps. Still, overall, I'm happy with how it went."
Donnelly's time, Thursday, was only 23-hundredths of a second away for the personal best he registered on Oct. 3. Donnelly also set a new Canadian junior record in the 3000 metres at the end of September.
Skaters are attempting to earn a spot on the team that will represent Canada at the first four ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Cup stages slated for this fall, in Calgary (Nov. 13-15), Salt Lake City, USA (Nov. 20-22), Inzell, Germany (Dec. 4-6) and Heerenveen, Netherlands (Dec.r 11-13).
The races at the Fall World Cup Selections continue on Friday as the first 500 metre races at 1:25 pm local time, followed by the women's 5000 metres and the men's 10,000 metres. Saturday, the second 500 metre race and the first 1000 metre contest start at 1 pm. On Sunday, the 1500 metre races and the mass start events will be held starting at 11 am.