Cindy Klassen & Arne Dankers post victories at speed skating selection meet

CALGARY – Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg and Arne Dankers of Calgary were the victors in the women’s 3,000 and men’s 5,000 metres respectively on Saturday at the long track speed skating Canadian team selection meet for this fall’s World Cups.

In the women’s 3,000, Klassen was the winner in 4:04.17 with Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., second in a personal best 4:05.93 and Wang Fei of China third in 4:08.64. The next best Canadian was Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg in fifth in 4:11.95.

Klassen, the world record holder in the women's 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 metres, says she’ll be patient this season with regards to her performances. Her plan is to build towards a top showing at the world championships.

"I think it's going to be a slow start to the season, but that's OK," Klassen said. ‘’Maybe the first couple World Cups I might not be exactly where I want to be. I hope by the end of the season, by the world championships I'll be racing the way I'd like to."

It was another strong result for Nesbitt who won the 500 and 1,500 races on Friday.

‘’My splits were consistent so I decided I would push hard in the final laps,’’ said Nesbitt, 22, a bronze medallist in the 1,000 at last year’s world championships. ‘’My endurance is really good right now plus I skated technically really well which allowed me to conserve a lot of energy.’’

Arne Dankers, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
Dankers won the men’s 5,000 metres with Justin Warsylewicz of Regina second and Aaron Sadlier of Norwood, Ont., third in a personal best. Sadlier appears headed to the World Cup circuit with his performance. He quit the sport at age 15 but returned two seasons ago.

‘’The race went as planned,’’ said Sadlier, 20, at one time a nationally ranked cross country runner. ‘’Except for a couple of laps my lap times were pretty even. I’m pretty excited about the fact that I have a good chance to go to the World Cups.’’

This weekend’s selection will help finalize the Canadian team for this fall’s World Cups. Members of last season’s world single distance championship team were pre-selected.

Competition continues through to Sunday at the Olympic Oval.