“Here we go again!” », announced Laurent Dubreuil, index fingers raised, to the camera. In Poland on Sunday, the 31-year-old speed skater reminded the world that it was still too early for his cryogenics.

After a bumpy autumn, marked by a slow return from injuries, this regular on the podiums returned to success at the last World Cup in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, a small town located less than two hours by car southwest of Warsaw.

Silver medalist in the first 500m on Saturday, Dubreuil won gold over the same distance the next day. Reversing the previous day’s ranking, he beat Chinese Olympic champion Gao Tingyu by four hundredths to clinch his sixth victory on the circuit, not counting his 2021 world title.

After six weeks in Asia and Europe for the first four rounds of the season, the father of two young children had a more pleasant journey when he returned on Monday.

“Ending on a good note like this allows me to approach the holidays with optimism, rather than asking myself the question “What do you mean I’m getting beat?” », summarized Dubreuil, early on the peak, Tuesday morning.

Opening his camera, he presents burly 14-month-old Nathan, simply dressed in a diaper. “He lost a little weight, he started walking everywhere and he got a little longer,” smiled his father, who almost missed his first steps. “When I left, he was walking along the walls and he was pushing his little toy walker. Otherwise, he took two steps and fell. » Rose, already 4 years old, comes to say hello while covering herself with her owl blanket.

Sitting at the kitchen table, Dubreuil is happy to be back in his element. This return is smoother now that he has returned to second place in the World Cup standings, of which he is the double defending champion.

Was there any doubt when he finished seventh, sixth and sixth in the first three races of the season, in Japan and Beijing?

“It’s true that everyone’s expectations, mine too, are higher,” he reasoned out loud. I felt like I was really bad after two or three World Cups, when I was fourth in the rankings. There was a time when I would have been extremely happy to be fourth. Only, when you’re used to being first, you don’t feel super competitive…”

The Lévis sprinter bounced back in his fourth 500m, still in the Chinese capital, winning the silver medal. After a week of training and rest in Spain, he experienced another slump during the World Cup in Stavanger, Norway. He admits that a feeling of impatience began to tickle him.

“I wasn’t worried about the Worlds in February, and even less worried about the Olympics [of 2026]. But with injuries creeping up quicker than I would have liked, you wonder, “When am I going to be able to turn the corner?” Because I no longer doubt my qualities as an athlete. I no longer have imposter syndrome. »

As he “doesn’t like to live in the past,” Dubreuil is reluctant to open up about the tendonitis in his knee that slowed him down for two months during the off-season. When he arrived in Japan at the beginning of November, he crashed his back after a 600m time.

“In June and July, the training was exceptional. From the injury, I began to move backwards little by little. I was no longer able to do simple posture. I skated two or three times a week, but really at low volume. »

This deficit was especially reflected in the 1000m, an event in which he was the Olympic vice-champion.

In three starts over the distance, he was never competitive, to the point of dropping it in Poland. He wants to get back into action over the two and a half laps, especially in view of the World Sprint in Inzell (Germany), in March. After a missed opportunity in 2022, when a COVID-19 infection deprived him of an almost assured title, he is aiming for a return to the podium. In 2020, he won silver in Norway at this now biannual event. In his eyes, the American Jordan Stolz, a 19-year-old phenomenon, looks unbeatable.

With only two World Cups on the calendar, the last of which was in Quebec in February, Dubreuil practically conceded first place in the final to Wataru Morishige. The Japanese scored four victories and signed two other podiums to give himself an almost insurmountable lead in the 500m. The Canadian is the only non-Asian among the top five.

His top sporting priority is to reach full velocity for the 500m at the World Distance Championships on February 16 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. In December 2021, he achieved the third fastest time in history on the ice of the august ring, a thunderous 33.77 s.

“There’s a break, and then we kind of start from scratch again in a month and a half. But I feel like I’ve finally taken flight. I needed a longer runway to take off, but now, I feel like the Laurent of other years. »