Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil wins 500-metre race at world sprint championships

Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil raced to a gold medal in the men’s 500-metre race Friday at the ISU world sprint/allround speedskating championships.

Dubreuil, from Levis, Que., finished the race in 34.55 seconds, ahead of Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama (35.58) and Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov (34.60).

The 27-year-old Dubreuil, who also finished fifth in the men’s 1,000-metres, is ranked second overall after the first day of competition behind Shinhama.

The last Canadian to reach the overall podium at the world sprint championships was Jeremy Wotherspoon in 2008.

“I had really good 500-metre race today and I’m happy with my result,” Dubreuil said. “I knew I had the legs as I’ve been feeling good all week long.

WATCH | Dubreuil victorious in 500m opener:

Lévis, Quebec’s Laurent Dubreuil won the opening men’s 500m race at the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Hamar, Norway.  1:36

“We talked about getting off to a strong start with a big race to put me in contention, and that’s what I was able to do. To win the race was a bonus. The important thing is the combined time after four races, so to be in second place after the first day is very encouraging.”

Calgary’s Kaylin Irvine finished eighth in the 500 (38.00 seconds) and 14th in the 1,000 (one minute, 16.28 seconds) on the women’s side. She the top ranked Canadian female after Friday in 12th position, ahead of teammates Heather McLean (Winnipeg) in 16th and Abigail McCluskey (Penticton, B.C.) in 22nd.

The sprint portion of the competition concludes Saturday, with the second 500 and 1,000 races, while the allround portion gets underway, featuring the 500 races, the women’s 3,000 and the men’s 5,000.