Canadian women's speedskating team back on top of podium at World Cup

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HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada's women's team pursuit speedskating squad has captured gold at a World Cup for the second week in a row, while the Canadian men's squad earned silver.

Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., beat the host Netherlands by just under a second on Friday.

Norway was third.

The three countries stood on the same spots on the podium at last week's opening World Cup of the season in the same venue.

Meanwhile, Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen, Toronto's Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., finished second in the men's team pursuit behind Norway on Friday.

Russia was third.

The Canadian men were third in last week's race.

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated the racing season and compressed it into a pair of World Cups followed by next month's world championship in Heerenveen.

Canada's long-track speedskating team has also been without ice at Calgary's Olympic Oval since Sept. 5 because of a mechanical failure.

Their on-ice training was limited to a two-week camp in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., outdoor oval skating in Red Deer, Alta., and short-track workouts in Calgary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press