Only one team has made it onto the women’s relay podium at each of the five World Cups this season: Canada, which won silver on Sunday in Dresden, Germany.
Kim Boutin competed in the A-finals of this event along with Courtney Sarault, Rikki Doak and Renee Steenge.
“We were really motivated for the season finale! Our chemistry is great and we had confidence that we could do well,” said the Sherbrooke resident.
The Dutch team stayed in the lead for most of the race. The Maple Leaf briefly took the lead, but with eight laps to go the Olympic champions regained the lead and held it to the end.
Only 23 hundredths of a second separated the Canadians from victory. The South Koreans overtook the Chinese on the final lap to complete the podium.
“We had some excellent changes and some good overtaking manoeuvres. In the last two laps I came in with a lot of speed and tried to overtake at the entrance,” explained Boutin, the last Canadian torchbearer.
“Xandra (Velzeboer) is not open. I lost a lot of speed because of this. Next time we have it, I can feel it! We are ready for the Netherlands.”
The Canadian women’s relay has one gold and four silvers this season. Boutin took part in all finals. In Dresden, Danaé Blais represented Canada in the quarterfinals and then gave way to Claudia Gagnon in the semifinals.
“We have been consistent throughout the season with very different orders. We’re slowly stabilizing the chemistry and we’re often in a great position to win,” Boutin added.
A little earlier, she placed 10th in the 500m after giving up the B final, preferring to keep her strength in anticipation of the relay.
For her part, Claudia Gagnon beat her compatriot Renée Steenge, winning the B final over 1500 m and finishing 8th. Danaé Blais finished 20th over this distance after reaching the semifinals.
The men’s relay is fourth
The men’s relay runners were in good shape to match their compatriots in the A final, where William Dandjinou, Pascal Dion, Maxime Laoun and Félix Roussel were in action on Sunday.
Japanese, Canadians and Chinese fought for first place. With just five laps to go, Pascal Dion fell when he received the push from Félix Roussel.
Dion got up quickly and resumed racing, but the gap between him and his rivals failed to close and Canada finished fourth. The Chinese took gold before the Japanese and Hungarians.
Individually, Pascal Dion was penalized in the 1500m semifinal and finished 19th. Roussel, who won a bronze medal in the 1,000m on Saturday, is 17th while Mathieu Pelletier is 24th.
Steven Dubois signed the best individual result of the day with a fourth place finish in the 500m. The athlete from Terrebonne got off to a good start in the final and took the lead in the race. However, he became addicted to Kim Tae Sung, causing him to lose some ranks. After that, he failed to recover while the South Korean was penalized for the streak.
William Dandjinou was stopped in qualifying and finished 59th.
The last World Cup on the calendar takes place in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, next weekend.