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Valerie Maltais of Canada competes in the Mass Start semi-final during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating at Thialf Stadium on Jan. 22, 2021 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Canadian women won a World Cup speedskating gold medal in team pursuit in their first international races in months Friday.

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann and Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Que, edged host Netherlands by just over three tenths of a second.

Norway placed third.

Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen, Toronto’s Jordan Belchos and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., finished third in the men’s team pursuit behind the victorious Dutch and runner-up Norway.

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday.

The World Cup in Heerenveen is the first of the 2020-21 speedskating season and the first major competition since March 8, 2020, in the same city.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated the racing season and compressed it into a pair of World Cups followed by next month’s world championship in Heerenveen.

Canada’s long-track speedskating team has also been without ice at Calgary’s Olympic Oval since Sept. 5 because of a mechanical failure.

Their on-ice training has been limited to a two-week camp in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., outdoor oval skating in Red Deer, Alta., and short-track workouts in Calgary.