Valérie Maltais celebrates crossing the linePhoto by Lintao Zhang - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images
Photo by Lintao Zhang - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images

Long track speed skating: Valérie Maltais takes silver at World Cup in Stavanger

Valérie Maltais won her third career individual medal in long track speed skating at the World Cup in Stavanger, Norway, by taking the silver medal in the women’s mass start event on Friday.

Maltais was part of the leading group of three skaters who broke away from the pack, catching 12 of the 13 other skaters in the final sprint. In the final straight, the event’s reigning world champion, Irene Schouten of the Netherlands, won the race, beating Maltais by 0.94 seconds. American Mia Kilburg-Manganello took third place, finishing 3.76 seconds behind the winner.

Maltais won the bronze medal in the event at the second World Cup of the season in Beijing, China. She won her first individual World Cup medal, a silver in the mass start, last season in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, where she also shared the podium with Ivanie Blondin, the gold medallist at the time.

After three stages, Maltais is currently at the top of the overall women’s mass start World Cup standings. In addition to her two podium finishes, she finished fourth at the first World Cup of the season in Obihiro, Japan.

Blondin, the reigning World Cup champion, was among the skaters caught up by the leaders.

Bloemen wins 10,000m silver

Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen captured the silver medal in Saturday’s men’s 10,000m, finishing with a time of 13:12.33, 9.62 seconds behind winner Davide Ghiotto of Italy. Fellow Italian Michele Malfatti captured the bronze medal, skating the distance in a time of 13:12.89.

Earning 54 World Cup points with the result, the 37-year-old long-distance specialist brought his season total to 140, through the first three events of the season, good to sit third in the overall long-distance standings.

“Today the race was really hard. The ice was slow. I really knew going into it that it was going to be a long battle, but I think from lap 10 on or something, I was just holding on for dear life to keep my lap times coming,” Bloemen said. “Now I’m going back to training and do it again next week. I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season, and hopefully, I can go one step higher at the world championship at home in Calgary.” 

The veteran’s result wasn’t the only positive Canadian skate on Sunday, as Laurent Dubreuil finished sixth in the men’s 500m, and Ivanie Blondin cracked the top 10 with a seventh place in the women’s 1,500m.

The World Cup continues in Stavanger until Sunday. Among the Canadians to watch on Sunday are the men’s and women’s team sprints and Maltais in the women’s 5,000m.