Canada's Ivanie Blondin back on mass start podium with World Cup bronze

Canada's Ivanie Blondin, seen above in March, skated to bronze in the women's mass start at a speed skating World Cup on Friday in the Netherlands. (Peter Dejong/The Associated Press - image credit)
Canada's Ivanie Blondin, seen above in March, skated to bronze in the women's mass start at a speed skating World Cup on Friday in the Netherlands. (Peter Dejong/The Associated Press - image credit)

Canada's Ivanie Blondin got the best of a pair of Dutch skaters in the women's mass start at the season-opening World Cup in Norway earlier in November.

But Irene Schouten and Marijke Groenewoud made sure that didn't happen on home ice in Heerenveen on Friday.

The trio once again comprised the podium, but this time the order was reversed as Schouten, the Olympic champion, took gold, while Groenewoud repeated with silver and Blondin grabbed bronze.

Schouten made an early move to separate herself from the pack, and with no signs of slowing down the gold medal was all but assured with multiple laps remaining. She stopped the clock in eight minutes 30.34 seconds.

It left Blondin and Groenewoud battling for silver, with both biding their time to make a move. The race turned into a sprint, with the skaters taking off at the outset of the final lap.

And it ultimately came down to less than a skate's length, with the Canadian's final time of 8:48.57 just two-hundredths of a second behind Groenewoud's 8:48.55.

WATCH | Blondin takes bronze in World Cup mass start:

"At the end of the day, a podium is a podium and I'm pretty happy with that. The Dutch girls had a great gameplan going into the race, continuing to attack until one of them got away," Blondin said.

"For me, it was a bit more challenging to try and win it today as I was racing alone, so to speak. I still tried for the final sprint and it was really close between Marijke [Groenewoud] and I, but she just edged me out in the last metres."

Canadian Valerie Maltais placed fifth at 8:49.26.

Blondin, the 32-year-old Ottawa native, won silver in the event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics to go along with seven other mass start medals last season.

Live action from the Heerenveen World Cup continues on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

Earlier, Blondin placed 10th in the 1,000 metres, with fellow Canadian Alexa Scott in 18th. The Netherlands' Jutta Leerdam won gold.

In the men's 1,000m, Canadians Connor Howe and Laurent Dubreuil placed ninth and 10th, respectively. Howe also grabbed fifth in the men's mass start.

"It gives me some confidence moving forward. When I didn't make the final last weekend, I learned some things about being aggressive and positioning myself. Today, it was a lot of fun being right in the action during the final sprint," Howe said.