Laurent Dubreuil wants more
Despite all his success last year, the best season of his career, long track speed skater Laurent Dubreuil is still hungry for his first World Cup.
A silver medalist in the 1,000m at the Beijing Olympics, a World Cup 500m champion and ten podium finishes in 12 races in her favorite event, Dubreuil always wants more.
• Also read: Third title in a row for Dubois
Before flying to Norway, where the first World Cup of the season will be held in Stavanger from Friday, Dubreuil declared, “I compete with myself to push my limits and the limits of my sport. I want to be the best. »
Dubreuil is not letting himself get complacent if he blew past the competition in the 500m last year. “I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. I want to win as many medals as possible because I don’t know when this will stop. Of course, the first medal I won in November 2014 is more special than the 15th medal, but my competitive spirit makes me want to win more. »
If he’s aware that the podiums will ever fade, Dubreuil is confident it won’t be in the next few years. “I feel like I haven’t reached my potential. I still have room to improve in the next two to three years. Despite my success, I know this year can be even better. I feel my best and my back is doing great. »
A useful change
Unlike last year, when the 500m was held twice at each World Cup, skaters will only do one sprint this year. Disappointing at first glance, this change will also benefit Dubreuil, who will look fresher on the 1000m start line.
“Last year, the 70-minute break between the second 500 and 1000 meters was not beneficial. I will never do two races on the same day. I will always be mentally prepared for the 1000m and that can only help me. Because of these changes, it is more important that I do well in the 1000m. »
“I have trained hard for the 1000m this summer and I believe in my chances of winning medals regularly to follow Dubrey, whose only 1000m medal was at the Olympics last year.
“Although the Dutch skaters have often beaten me in the past, I think I am eager to win. »
Eager to start the new World Cup season, the Levis skater fears he will be separated from his daughter Rose, son Nathan and his wife as he is away from home for a long time.
“As an athlete, I’m happy to leave and I have to be feverish before my first World Cup, otherwise it would mean my passion is no longer what it was, but I’m also torn because my passion has forced me to leave the people I love. expressed that there is the most love in the world. It is difficult. »
“The thing that bothers me the most is that I left Rose, who was boring last year, and went after Dubreuil. I predict it will be more difficult this time when he is three years old. After a month Nathan won’t know I’m gone and we’re used to it, me and my wife. […] even if we are bored, we manage the situation well. »
Dubreuil consoles himself with the thought that the trips will be fewer this year. “Three trips is too few because the races will be held in Quebec,” he said.
BAPTISM OF THE HORSE FOR LALIBERTÉ-ROY
Rose Laliberté-Roy will experience her World Cup baptism this weekend.
In his first year with the Next Gen team, the 23-year-old sprinter will start his first international competition.
“I never excelled in the junior ranks, but I’ve made a lot of progress over the last two years,” he said. I had achieved my first goal by getting into the national team, and I never expected to qualify for the world championship this year. »
In its place
Despite his rookie status, Laliberté-Roy feels in place. “I have a very high fever, but things have been going very well since I arrived in Europe. I feel well covered and prepared. It’s more exciting than stressful. I’m here to gain experience and see myself against the international level. I want to get the best races possible without thinking about rank or time. »
With the World Cup behind the tie, Cédrick Brunet is also looking for experience.
“Europe is my baptism of fire,” said the Gatineau resident, who competed in the World Cup in Calgary last December. I have been waiting for this moment for a year. »
“My experience in Calgary can help, but I’m still coming here with the mindset that I’m here to learn,” Brunet continued. I’m still a teenager. I don’t think about the results in my head at all. I’m here to learn the best and the outcome doesn’t matter. I take care of myself. »
At last year’s trials in Calgary, Brunet caused a stir by finishing third in the 500m. The 22-year-old skater was not selected for the World Cup because he did not reach the standard of 34 s 90.
“Two years ago, I would not have believed that I would be at the World Championship this year. There are a lot of people who want to be on my skates and I’m lucky to have that experience. »
A long-awaited return for Fiola and Lamarche
Christopher Fiola and Béatrice Lamarche, who failed to qualify for the World Cup last season, return this year with the best skaters in the world.
Fiola and Lamarche secured their places during the mid-October selections at the Center de glaces. Two skaters failed to qualify during the same practice in Calgary in October 2021.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” concluded Fiola, whose last World Cup comes in 2019. This moment is right because I am in good shape and ready to perform. I’m a different skater than the last World Cup and I’m sure I can do well. »
Despite the obstacles that stood in her way, the 500m specialist never gave up.
“I have never stopped believing that I will return to the World Cup. I’ve moved on and I’m better than ever. There was no reason for me not to go back. Two 500m guys retired this year and the door was more open than ever. »
If Lamarche had made good on his poor performance in Calgary in the fall of 2021, he had a harder time accepting the cancellation of the Olympic Trials during the holiday period due to COVID-19.
“I can recover quickly from my setbacks and the training from October to December went well,” he said. However, the cancellation of the Olympic trials was very difficult to accept. My motivation was at an all time low. I don’t think I ever told myself I wanted to quit. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to end on such a disappointing note. »
Photo credit: Photo Archive, Stevens Leblanc
Practice with Malta
The arrival of Valerie Maltais at the Ice Center and a new training program have brought new life to Lamarche, who specializes in the 1000m and 1500m but will also start in the 500m.
“I don’t often get the chance to train with a girl of her caliber and her presence helped me get the machine going again,” he said. My new training program, which involves larger volumes, makes me believe that I will eventually be able to reach my full potential. »
Open the lock
Achieving the international standard required by Speed Skating Canada (SSC) presented some challenges for Fiola.
“Now I can focus on skating as fast as possible without thinking about my choice,” he said. Takes the pressure off. After posting a time of 34.80 at the Canada Cup in Calgary in March, I hit a personal best of 34.44 a few days later. The standard was no longer an issue and there was a release. »
“I didn’t get the time I wanted during the Quebec trials, but I know I can do better,” Fiola said. It’s an important year at the beginning of the Olympic era and I want to be important in the run-up to the 2026 Games. My goal is to get into Group A. [20 meilleurs patineurs] the whole year. »
Christopher Fiola will also participate in the 1000 meters race of the first two rounds of the World Championship.