With four victories in six races, Steven Dubois was imperial at the Canadian Speed Skating Championships which came to an end yesterday in Quebec City.
Even before the presentation of the last event of the short track selections, Dubois was guaranteed to sign a third consecutive national title.
“ This title is more satisfying than the other two because the caliber is so raised, said the triple Olympic medalist. It was harder to win. It was more of a big physical and mental challenge and that's why we compete.”
“Because my overall victory was assured before the last race, I didn't want to put myself in danger,” continued Dubois. I wanted to avoid finding myself in tough situations with skaters who were playing their season. »
Dubois is surprised with his harvest.
« I didn't expect to win four out of six races, he admitted. During the first day, we exchanged victories, me and Pascal. The more the championship progressed, the more confidence I had in my legs.
Dubois was particularly happy with his time of 40.05 s in the 500 m yesterday.
“ The ice was really not fast compared to that of the Maurice Arena. “Richard,” he said. Such a time confirms that it is likely to go well in the World Cup. I will be able to use my legs and be aggressive.
Second overall, Pascal Dion was not disappointed.
“It would have been fun to win the Canadian title, but at the level that we are, the goal is to win on the international stage,” he explained. I had some great races and others where I was unlucky. I crashed once and lost all my speed on another occasion when Jordan [Pierre-Gilles] fell in front of me. I also tried new strategies by being more patient at the back of the peloton and it cost me a few places.
Like Dubois, Dion believes that ice n was not fast.
“Because we were skating on dry ice, it was slower and broke more easily,” he explained. The ice was more fragile and it becomes more difficult to pass. In the last race, Steven protected his lead well, but it was more difficult to overtake because of the ice. p>Nothing suggested that Maxime Laoun would finish the selections in third place after a first day where he fell once and was disqualified on another occasion. After two races, he was in 13th place.
“I made a nasty comeback,” he said. I still have to fine-tune details, but I see a good improvement compared to last year. In addition to the top 6 for the World Cup, I wanted to finish in the top 3 to qualify for the Four Continents Championship in Salt Lake City. »
“It's disappointing not to have added a medal in the last race, but I tried an overtaking which did not work, adds Laoun, who won his first gold medal in selections, Saturday, at 1000 m. Afterwards, I didn't want to interfere in the fight between the guys who were fighting for a place in the World Cup. »
Bronze medalist in the last race, Félix Roussel ranked fourth overall. Matthew
Pelletier finished in fifth place and William Dandjinou jumped from ninth to sixth position by virtue of his fourth place in the A final of the 1000 m.
♦ We will now have to see the Speed Skating Canada's decision on the request for a medical exemption from Jordan Pierre-Gilles, who injured his ankle on Friday after a violent fall and had to withdraw.
A victory by dust for Valérie Maltais
The Olympian says she is disappointed with her 1500 m, she who slowed down at the end
Valérie Maltais won by dust in the mass start event at the conclusion of the Canadian championship.
The photo-finish was necessary to determine who, Maltais or Maddison Pearman had crossed the finish line first. The deviation was 0.005 s.
“I didn't know I had won when I crossed the line,” said Maltais, who finished sixth at the Beijing Olympics in the same event. I was relieved when they announced that I was first. I wanted the win.
“ I accelerated at the end, but I didn't give it my all, to pursue the pride of La Baie. I didn't expect Maddison to come back so quickly and I made a small mistake. »
Winning the first two intermediate sprints, Maltais finished with 68 points compared to 40 for Pearman. Béatrice Lamarche completed the podium, her third of the nationals.
The absence of Ivanie Blondin changed the situation. Silver medalist in the mass start in Beijing, the Franco-Ontarian was pre-selected for the World Cup and did not start.
“ It's more the money considering the absence of Ivanie, underlined Maltais with a smile. I'm happy with my race. I can't wait to do a mass start again and I think I can break into the international scene. »
Also qualified for the World Cup in the 3000 m and 5000 m events, Maltais wanted to offer a better performance in the 1500 m, where she finished in sixth place on Saturday evening.
“Before nationals I told you I was in good shape, but not at my best and I saw the proof. It's a slap in the face that reminds me that the season has started again. My intentions weren't clear this summer, but I'm going to do a good training block again. We're leaving for Spain in two weeks for a bike camp.
” I'm disappointed because I know I could have done better, to add the medalist of silver in short track in the 3000m relay at the 2014 Sochi Games. I ran out of speed due to an execution issue. I was focused on my technique and I lacked intensity. In practice, I was two seconds faster on my first lap. It was a bad day at a bad time. »
In good position to stand on the podium at the time of his fall, Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu even believed he could win, had it not been for his bad luck.
“I had the energy and the juice to join Graeme Fish, but I had a mechanical breakdown, he explained. I accelerated with one lap to go to catch up with the leader and had the speed to pass him. Connor Howe [the eventual winner] was behind me and I think I was faster than him, but we'll never know.”
Even though he didn't finish among the top three, Gélinas-Beaulieu believes in his chances of being selected for his favorite World Cup event.
“ I am in a very, very good position. I have to wait for the decision of the high performance committee, but the odds are on my side. I fulfilled all the other criteria. »
Boutin finishes strong and takes the Canadian title
Kim Boutin , skater
With two victories to close the nationals, Kim Boutin erased her delay in the general classification and won the Canadian title ahead of Courtney Sarault.
Involved in a fall in the 1,500 m on Saturday, along with Danaé Blais, the Sherbrooke skater came back strong by winning gold in the 500 m and 1,000 m where her outside overtaking sealed her victory. She raised her arms and clenched her fists as she crossed the finish line in the last race of the day.
“I spoiled myself in the last race, Boutin said of his exceeding. I was doing a tactical race and my times weren't the best, but I had a big punch at the end. It's fun to win the Canadian title and it feels good.”
Beyond the title and his three victories in six races, Boutin had specific objectives when he showed up in Quebec.
“ My challenge was to work on my weaknesses and I think I raised. I wanted to work on my overtaking by better controlling the gaps. It will prepare me well for the international races. I made a few small mistakes, but I will remember them and not repeat them.
Involved in a big crash on Saturday, along with Danaé Blais, Boutin suffered a contusion on one arm, but it had no impact on her performance.
First before the last day, Courtney Sarault finishes second overall. With two victories in the 1500 m, Ontarian Renee Steenge takes third place and earns her ticket to the World Cup for the first time in her career. Rounding out the World Cup squad will be Claudia Gagnon, who will be making a comeback after missing out on Olympic selection last year, New Brunswick's Rikki Doak and Danaé Blais, who suffered two falls in the final week after winning bronze in the first 1,500m on Friday.
The top six skaters in the standings qualified for the World Cup. The absence of Olympians Florence Brunelle and Alyson Charles from the selections opened the door to new faces. However, we could see them again during the World Cup stages next winter.