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Vincent De Haître skates to 1st World Cup gold, Canadian men win team pursuit silver





Ottawa's Vincent De Haître won his first senior-level World Cup gold in the men's 1000-metre long track speed skating race, while Denny Morrison's comeback trail included a spot on the podium with his team pursuit squad in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The 22-year old finished with a time of one minute, 8.90 seconds to win his first senior-level World Cup race.

"It's still sinking in," de Haître said. "I'm super happy about it; I was thinking about all the stuff I've been working on all week, and I tried to apply it as much as I could.  During the last lap, I got a little bit nervous. There is still room for improvement, but I'm still incredibly happy about it."

De Haître was just ahead of Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov, who clocked 1:08.99, while Takuro Oda of Japan was third at 1:09.06. 

Morrison's comeback trail runs through podium

The Canadian team pursuit squad of group of Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Chetwynd, B.C.'s Morrison produced a silver-medal showing.

Their time of 3:44.95 was .85 seconds behind the winning time of 3:44.10 posted by Japan. The Polish team finished third with a time of 3:45.04.

The silver also marked the first time Morrison stepped on a World Cup podium since his motorcycle accident in 2015 and a stroke he suffered last April.

"Three World Cups and a podium; this is unbelievable considering not just my injuries, but also the set backs and necessary steps to get here. They are all big steps and all surprising to me," Morrison said.

"It's pretty amazing when you think where Denny's come from," Belchos said. "To come back here and to stand on the podium again, it's the most amazing thing, I think, about all this."

"It was a really good race and I'm super proud of these guys, to see Denny come back and skate like this, and Jordan who finished this race really really strong," Bloemen said.

Women's team crashes out

Calgary-born Brianne Tutt, Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann, both from Ottawa, crashed out and did not finish the race. 

Japan's time of 2:57.75 was the top mark and surpassed Canada's 2012 track record of 2:58.40.

The Netherlands team was 4.78 seconds behind the winners at 3:02.53, while Russia placed third with a time of 3:02.78.


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