Dordrecht / Netherlands

The Canadian men’s 5000m relay team sent out a message of intent with an emphatic victory in the closing event at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track in Dordrecht.

The quartet, led by 500m gold medallist Samuel Girard, controlled the race from the start for the second weekend running and now look like the team to beat at February’s Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

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The Dutch team delighted the Dordrecht crowd by hanging on to silver, relegating the Chinese team into the bronze-medal position. But, barring a late fall, the identity of the gold medal winners was never in doubt.

“We got better with every race this weekend and we showed what we can do,” Pascal Dion (CAN) said.

The 23-year-old, who was part of the Canadian team which finished fifth in the relay at the 2017 ISU World Championships, was not about to give away the secrets behind the team’s impressive progression.

“We can’t tell you everything!” he said. “But we make sure we always watch the videos back, even when we win, and see how we can improve.”

Girard is determined that the team maintains its form through the crucial next four months.

“To stay in front on the ice, and mentally, is really important,” he said. “It’s pretty cool racing with these guys and we have to go away now and train hard and come back even stronger for the Asian legs (of the Audi ISU World Cup, in November).”

Fresh from sending the crowd crazy with victory in the men’s 1000m, the Netherlands’ Sjinkie Knegt was a little disappointed he and his team couldn’t deliver more Dutch glory.

“There is room for some improvement, from me and from the team,” Knegt said. “There are things myself that I can do better.”

In the B Final, the USA finished ahead of Belgium.

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