Canadian speedskaters Blondin, Belchos win World Cup mass start events

NAGANO, Japan — Canadians Ivanie Blondin and Jordan Belchos won mass start gold medals Friday at a World Cup speedskating event.

Belchos's gold was the first for a Canadian male in the event, and it was the first time Canada earned a medal in both men's and women's mass start events at the same World Cup stop.

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Belchos, from Toronto, broke away from the pack of 16 skaters with three laps remaining. He crossed the line in a time of seven minutes 53.990. Joey Mantia of the United States finished second and Belgian Bart Swings was third.

"The mass start is a race where it’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen, so I try to go in with a bit of a plan and stick to it," Belchos said. "My plan today was to be patient and wait for the right moment to make an attack. I got away and just held on until the finish. I always think it’s cool to be on the podium with guys who you respect a lot, so standing with Bart and Joey was special."

Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., finished 14th.

Blondin fought her way through a crowded race and won the sprint on the final straight to finish ahead of Nana Takagi of Japan and American Mia Kilburg-Manganello. The Ottawa native captured her second gold and third consecutive medal in the mass start this season with a time of 8:26.440 and retained her position atop the World Cup ranking.

"I was really confident out there and felt like today was going to be a good day. Coming off last weekend, it’s hard to not be confident and I carried that through to a great race today," said Blondin, who picked up three gold medals at last week's World Cup stop in Kazakhstan.

In the final event of the day, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, Que.), Tyson Langelaar (Winnipeg) and David La Rue (Saint-Lambert, Que.) earned a bronze medal in the men's team sprint. Russia won gold and Japan took silver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2019.

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