Canadian Isabelle Weidemann wins gold at speed skating World Cup

Canadian Isabelle Weidemann wins gold at speed skating World Cup

Isabelle Weidemann led Canada with a gold medal victory in the 3,000 metres on the opening day of the speed skating World Cup in Minsk, Belarus on Friday.

The 24-year-old from Ottawa, Ont., and 2018 Olympian finished with a time of four minutes, 04.679 seconds.

"It feels really great to start the season off with a first place," Weidemann said. "I was very nervous for today, so it was nice to get the first one of the circuit out of the way. I'm excited to continue on to next weekend."

Carlijn Achtereekte of the Netherlands took home the silver medal  with a time of 4:05.153, while fellow Ottawan Ivanie Blondin (4:06.080) won bronze.

Weidemann won a gold and silver last season in the 3,000, while Blondin's best result in the distance was fourth in 2019.

"My race went really well," Blondin said. "I started off fast — relative to this ice — and I died a little bit more than I wanted to at the end.

Gilmore Junio, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, Laurent Dubreuil, and David La Rue led Canada to a bronze medal in the men's team sprint in 1:21.680. The Dutch (1:21.163) and Chinese (1:21.322) won gold and silver, respectively.

"Winning my first medal after two years on the World Cup circuit is a great feeling," La Rue said. "We executed our race strategy very well, and while there are certainly improvements that we can make, I think we can be satisfied with our work."

Canada finished fifth in the women's team sprint.

Patrick Roest of the Netherlands won gold in the men's 5,000 and set a new track record with a time of 6:16.615. Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands took silver and Denis Yuskov of Russia won bronze. Canadian Graeme Fish placed fifth.

CBC Sports will continue its live coverage of the competition on Saturday at 7 a.m. ET.