A Quiet Day in Preparation for Tomorrow’s Send-Off!

All was quiet for Team Canada on day two of the final World Cup of the season, taking place in Heerenveen, the Netherlands – but stay tuned, as Sunday’s racing promises some interesting results. Today’s best results came courtesy Denny Morrison (Fort St.John, BC) with a sixth place finish in the men’s 1500m, while Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) earned ninth place in the 3000m event.

Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) was the highest-ranking Canadian woman in the 3000m event in ninth place in 4:12.64; close on her heels was Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) who skated to eleventh in 4:13.68. In the final World Cup rankings, Schussler finishes in fourth with 267 points; Klassen - who came roaring back in the latter half of the season - earned seventh place with 218 points. Christine Nesbitt, who chose not to race today to avoid more fatigue just one week before the World Championships, ends the season with a solid tenth place finish and 155 points.

The victor of today’s 3000m event – and new World Cup title holder in the distance (510 points) - was no surprise: the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova earned gold in 4:06.21. Germany’s Stephanie Beckert took silver today in 4:08.03, enabling her to take second place in the World Cup final rankings (475 points). Third place honours in the distance from today’s race go to the Netherlands’ Jorien Voorhuis in 4:08.96; while American Jilleanne Rookard earned third place (351 points) in the World Cup rankings.

In the women’s 500m event, the lone Canadian skater was Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) who skated to 17th place in a time of 39.46.

The top spot on the podium went to the Netherlands’ Annette Gerritsen who clocked 38.31, Germany’s Jenny Wolf skated to silver in 38.37, while Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee in 38.49 skated to bronze.

In the final World Cup standings, Germany’s perennial podium placer Jenny Wolf grabbed the World Cup Champion title with 1040 points, followed by Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee with 755; the Netherlands’ Margot Boer takes third with 645 points. Canada’s skaters also finished competitively in the 500m event final World Cup rankings, Shannon Rempel took ninth while Christine Nesbitt ends in 18th place.

Contemplating tomorrow’s 1000m event – where Christine Nesbitt has reined supreme all season – Long Track Program Director Sean Ireland commented “Tomorrow is a big day, with both the men’s and women’s 1000m events. Christine is currently second overall in the standings, and she has the potential to move up, certainly. She does like to win!” he laughed. “Denny is fifth right now, but all of them, Denny, Lucas, Jamie, they’ve all been on or near the podium. Tomorrow will be interesting! Overall, there’s a lot of racing throughout the season, but you want to be good at key events, so you build your racing around that. Some events you maybe don’t ‘perform’ at, in the hopes of really doing well at key events – like the World Championships next weekend,” he explained.

Morrison Just Shy of the Podium

In the men’s 1500m event, held today, Canada’s men skated well, Denny Morrison (Fort St.John, BC) took sixth in 1:46.83, while Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) skated to seventh in 1:47.05. Sean Ireland, Team Canada’s Long Track Director analyzed today’s racing, “Lucas’ result today was his second best in terms of placing, Denny was within striking distance of the podium, so things are going well.”

The event was won by the American Shani Davis in 1:45,92, silver went to Netherlands’ Stefan Groothius who crossed the line in 1:46.09, while Russia’s Ivan Skobrev skated to bronze in 1:46.59.

In the final rankings, American Shani Davis earned the title with 440 points, the Netherlands’ Havard Bokko took second with 357 points, followed by countryman Stefan Groothuis with 342 points. Denny Morrison was the highest-ranking Canadian, coming in eighth place with 257 points, followed by Lucas Makowsky in eleventh with 186.

The 2011 World Cup season comes to close Sunday, where men and women will take to the ice for the 500m and 1000m races. The final races of the season will take place when Team Canada heads to the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany March 10-13, 2011.