With last February's Olympic final undoubtedly fresh in her mind, silver medallist Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa got the best of champion Irene Schouten this time around, edging the Dutch speed skater at the finish line Sunday to take the first mass start of the women's World Cup season in Stavanger, Norway.
Blondin stopped the clock in eight minutes 58.72 seconds, 8-100ths of a second ahead of Schouten's teammate, Marijke Groenewoud (8:58.80), while Schouten reached in 8:59.05 for third.
Blondin, who medalled seven times in the mass start last season, wasn't sure if she would have the leg strength to push through the final since she raced the 1,000 metres (placing 12th) after the mass semifinals.
"I positioned myself well throughout the [mass start] and used some of my techniques to execute an inside pass on the Dutch skaters in the final corner," she told Speed Skating Canada.
"I trained a lot with the men this summer and I think I gained some advantages from their speed that played out in today's race. This is a great start to the season."
On Saturday, Blondin won gold in women's team pursuit with fellow 2022 Olympic champions Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa and Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., who placed seventh in Sunday's mass start in 9:02.52.
Also Saturday, the 32-year-old Blondin narrowly missed the podium in the 1,500 metres, finishing 6-100ths behind third-place Groenewoud.
WATCH | Blondin beats Groenewoud for mass start win at World Cup opener:
Dubreuil wins silver
Laurent Dubreuil earned his second silver medal of the weekend to start the season with back-to-back podium finishes.
The Lévis, Que., native recorded the fastest lap of the field and raced to a time of 1:09.22 to secure second place in the men's 1,000 for his first World Cup medal in the distance since January 2021 when he won bronze in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
American Jordan Stolz crossed the line in a winning time of 1:08.73 while Japan's Ryota Kojima (1:09.31) rounded out the podium.
"Unlike [Saturday], when I was very close to gold and could have won if I skated a better race, today's silver was the best I could do," said the 30-year-old Dubreuil. "Stolz was in another category and I did the job I set out to do, especially with slower ice that has less glide and doesn't give me any advantages in the 1,000.
WATCH l Dubreuil wins silver in men's 1,000 metres:
"I worked very hard over the past few months to improve my final lap and give myself the chance to win international medals in the 1,000. All of that work is in the process of paying off, so satisfying to see when those efforts are rewarded."
On Saturday, Dubreuil grabbed silver in the men's 500 with a time of 34.750.
The 30-year-old finished last season as world champion in the 500 after winning 10 medals over 12 races.
The ISU World Cup campaign continues next weekend with a stop in Heerenveen.
Other Canadian results Sunday:
Ivanie Blondin, 12th
Alexa Scott, 16th
Brooklyn McDougall, 5th (B Division)
Béatrice Lamarche, 6th (B Division)
Connor Howe, 12th
Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu, 13th
Tyson Langelaar, 19th
Christopher Fiola, 26th (B Division)
Men's mass start
Hayden Mayeur, 11th
Connor Howe, 9th in semifinal