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Ivanie Blondin raced to bronze in the women’s mass start for Canada’s lone medal on the opening day of an ISU long-track speedskating World Cup stop on Friday.

It was Blondin’s third medal of the season.

Reigning Olympic champion Irene Schouten of the Netherlands took the lead for good at the midway point of the 16-lap race, crossing in eight minutes 30.34 seconds.

Ottawa’s Blondin narrowly missed silver, crossing in 8:48.57, just two-hundredths of a second behind Dutch skater Marijke Groenewould.

Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., was fifth, a career-best result for the 32-year-old and four-time Olympian.

Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., was fifth in the men’s mass start, his first final of his career. He was ninth in the men’s 1,000 metres.

Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., who won silver in the 1,000 metres last weekend, had a rough outing. American Jordan Stolz fell while exiting a corner and slid into Dubreuil’s lane, forcing the Canadian to slow down to avoid collision. Dubreuil went on to cross 10th.

The men’s 500 and 5,000 metres and the women’s 1,500 and team sprint events are Saturday.

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