Quebec World Cup | Excellent start for Laurent Dubreuil

True to form, Laurent Dubreuil didn’t go out of his way to summarize his expectations in the 1000 meters during the Quebec World Cup, a qualifying race for the World Championships which will take place in Quebec in two weeks.

“Ultimately, if I don’t place, I don’t care,” he said on Thursday. “It’s not a goal for me. »

The Olympic silver medalist over the distance has failed to be competitive this season in an event that has always been secondary to the 500m, his specialty. The fault above all is tendinitis in one knee which stopped his preparation for two months last summer.

Even Gregor Jelonek got a frank answer when he asked his protégé if he was excited about this first race the day before: “Not really! » “He started laughing,” Dubreuil said, “but I told him: “Don’t worry, I’m going to get on the ice and give what I have to give.” I am still a professional; I am capable of getting angry when necessary! »

The 31-year-old athlete had just finished the 1000m at the top of group B on Friday morning, opening the three days of competition at the Intact Assurance Ice Center. “Beating three Dutchmen in Group B is always a very good sign. Otterspeer won a World Cup medal this fall. He was in group B because he skipped a few, but they are good skaters. I can’t wait to see where it puts me in relation to Group A, but it’s a very good race for me. »

The local favorite covered the two and a half laps in 1 min 08.93 to beat Otterspeer (+0.03), the Pole Piotr Michalski (+0.48) as well as the Dutch Kai Verbij (+0.50) and Joep Wennemars (+0.53).

Dubreuil considers having completed his best 1000m of the year. Without thinking of being able to claim a medal in Calgary, he is especially delighted to have confirmed his status as a contender for the World Sprint, which will take place in Inzell, Germany, in March. This biannual competition crowns the fastest at the end of two 500m and two 1000m races.

“In the 500, I am on the podium almost every race. In the 1000m, there are maybe 10 guys who will beat me in group A – I hope it will be less – but it’s a very respectable cumulative number. I now have chances, and I consider that the mission is accomplished for the 1000.”

Group A, reserved for the 20 best on the circuit, will be presented in the afternoon. No matter his time, Dubreuil cannot aspire to climb the rankings. The Lévis athlete was particularly satisfied with his penultimate curve, taken on the outside, around 300 m from the finish.

“I felt strong like last year, like in the Olympics in fact, like in my good 1000 meters. Since the start of the year, I felt like I was breaking at the bell (announcing the final round). There, it’s as if I had one more turn before I really felt that I was no longer pushing. Delaying the “breakage”, that’s what we’re basically working on. This is how you can finish stronger. »

His time of 27.5 sec on the last loop is a source of satisfaction for the Quebecer, especially since he was on par with the young Wennemars, a 1500 m specialist, and he was not able to benefit of the aspiration of the skater with whom he was paired, since he had already left him behind.

Laurent Dubreuil therefore broke the ice in a metaphorical way during the first long track speed skating World Cup contested in the national capital since 1992. Second in the cumulative ranking of the 500 m, he will try to improve his lot during of the last two races of the season, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

If he does not consider the 1000 m as a real physical preparation – “There, it’s a nice little urge to vomit and quite intense leg pain! » – he draws positive lessons for the rest of the weekend.

“My acceleration was very good. 16.2 secs (at 200m), that’s really fast for me at sea level. It’s excellent and a good sign for my start in the 500m. Then just feeling comfortable on the ice. I love skating here, I love the ice in Quebec. »

Even when the heart is a little less in it.


Leave a Comment