Long track speed skaters finish Heerenveen World Cup with four medals
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix skated to silver and bronze this weekend, half of Canada’s long track speed skating ISU World Cup medal haul in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Boisvert-Lacroix’s third medal of the season arrived on Friday, when he took home bronze in the first of two 500-metre races. Canada has been strong in the sprints this season on the oval, with four skaters getting to the podium last weekend in Inzell, Germany.
Buoyed by his Friday result in the first 500m, Boisvert-Lacroix dropped the 1000m on Saturday to remain fresh for Sunday’s race.
“I may opt out of the (1000m) race to rest and be better prepared for Sunday’s second 500 (metre) of the weekend,” Boisvert-Lacroix said in a Speed Skating Canada release. “I will need to be ready in that race, especially when you consider that I’m second in World Cup standings.”
That strategy paid off Sunday when he finished second in the 500m for a pair of medals at that distance this weekend. The points gained keeps Boisvert-Lacroix in second place in the World Cup standings at 500m, behind Russian Pavel Kulizhnikov, who was well in the back of the field after falling on Sunday.
Another medal on Sunday – bronze – came from Ivanie Blondin in the women’s mass start. Like Boisvert-Lacroix, she sits second in the World Cup standings. Blondin is the reigning overall World Cup champion in the event set for its Olympic debut at Pyeongchang 2018.
Junio, who won an individual 500m title last weekend, said the the “race was textbook” and that it had gone “the way we envisioned it.” He then singled out his teammates for praise.
“Alex (St-Jean) was able to keep our speed up in the second lap and Vince (De Haître), who’s probably one of the best in the world at skating the third lap in this event, did the rest. I don’t think we could have raced any better than that.”
Friday was the second time this season that Canada won men’s team sprint gold, with St-Jean and De Haître joining William Dutton to win in world record fashion in Salt Lake City on November 22. The team sprint will be contested at four World Cup stops, and not again until the tour returns to Heerenveen from March 11 to 13 in 2016. Canada is third in the team sprint World Cup standings behind Netherlands and Russia.