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Canadian speed skaters win women's team pursuit world title after Dutch team disqualified

Valerie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., and Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann will leave Heerenveen, Netherlands, with a gold medal in the women's team pursuit after Friday's race. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images - image credit)
Valerie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., and Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann will leave Heerenveen, Netherlands, with a gold medal in the women's team pursuit after Friday's race. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images - image credit)

Canada's women's pursuit team of Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais secured a gold medal at the ISU World Speed Skating Championship in Heerenveen, Netherlands, on Friday in unusual circumstances.

Maltais, of La Baie, Que., Weidemann and Blondin, both of Ottawa, stopped the clock in two minutes 54.58 seconds to put themselves in first place with one more pairing to go.

The Dutch team then took the track along with the Japanese and finished 1.92 seconds faster than the Canadians to the excitement of the home fans at Thialf Ice Rink.

However, the Netherlands trio was soon disqualified because one of their athletes had her ankle exposed. Speed skating rules require all athletes to wear cut-proof socks that fully cover their skin.

Canada was lifted to first place again as Japan took silver and the U.S. finished with bronze.

WATCH l Canada takes gold in women's pursuit team:

"Today's race was definitely not a bad race for us, but it was a little bit of a bittersweet win since the Dutch team was DQ'd," Blondin said. "I think it'll be back to the drawing board for our team next season, that's for sure."

The result adds to the impressive streak by Maltais, Blondin, and Weideman. The Beijing 2022 gold medallists in the women's team pursuit have won all three World Cup events this season.

The Canadian men almost made it a golden sweep of the event, but Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu, of Sherbrooke, Que., Connor Howe, of Canmore, Alta., and Toronto's Hayden Mayeur settled for silver.

Canada posted a time of 3:38.43 to take the lead with just one pairing remaining. The host Dutch team had a strong final lap to edge out the Canadians for gold by just 0.17 seconds.

Norway finished third with a time of 3:40.93.

WATCH l Canadian men miss out on gold by 0.17 seconds:

Dubreuil wins silver in men's 500m

Lévis, Que., native Laurent Dubreuil added to Canada's medal haul by winning silver in the men's 500-metre event that saw the first worlds title of a rising star.

Reigning world champion Dubreuil had a leading time of 34.46 up until the final pairing, when he was dethroned by 18-year-old American Jordan Stolz.

The teenager emerged as the title holder with a time of 34.10 to become the youngest speed skater of all time to win a single distance world title.

WATCH l Dubreuil settles for silver after impressive Stolz performance:

Stolz won five gold medals and two bronze at the 2023 World Junior Championships in Inzell, Germany, in February and represented the U.S. at Beijing 2022.

Japan's Wataru Morishige earned the bronze.

In the women's 500-metre event, Carolina Hiller, of Prince George, B.C., finished twelfth. Calgary's Brooklyn McDougall was 16th.

Men's and women's mass start and 1,000-metre events as scheduled for Saturday. The competition concludes on Sunday with the 1,500-metre and 10,000 races for men and women.