Cindy Klassen breaks world points record at all around world championship qualifier

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg broke her world record for her overall score on Sunday as the North American qualifications for the world all around long track speed skating championships concluded at the Olympic Oval.

Klassen won all four races this weekend in women’s competition including Sunday’s 1,500 and 5,000 metre races along with Saturday’s 500 and 3,000. Her total score of 157.177 points based on her average time over the four races eclipsed the previous all around points mark of 159.605 she set in January 2005 at Salt Lake City.

‘’It’s a record that shows I’m really skating solid going into the Games,’’ said Klassen, one of Canada’s top medal hopes in Turin. ‘’That gives me a lot of confidence. There was only a 90-minute break between races today but I still managed to keep an even pace. I’m skating more and more consistently in the longer distances and I’m holding it together better at the end instead of completely fading.’’

Kristina Groves of Ottawa, second in the 1,500 and third in the 5,000, was second overall at 160.423. Catherine Raney of the U.S., third at 164.256, Maria Lamb of the U.S., fourth at 164.808 and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., fifth at 165.509. The top-five qualify for the all around worlds this March in Calgary.

In men’s competition, world champion Chad Hedrick of the U.S., won the 10,000 metre finale to take the overall title at 148.799, Arne Dankers of Calgary was second at 151.132, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., third at 151.530, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., fourth at 151.913, Justin Warsylewicz of Regina fifth at 152.254 and K.C. Boutiette of the U.S., sixth at 153.545. The top-six qualify for the all around worlds.

Dankers finished second to Hedrick by less than two seconds in the 10,000 while Morrison beat the American star in the 1,500 by half a second.

‘’It was a really good experience for me to be paired with Chad,’’ said Dankers, who’ll race four events at the Olympics. ‘’My goal was to stay as close to him as possible but he’s got a lot of experience and can toy with his pair. This was my fourth 10,000 this season and I was really happy to get one in before the Olympics.’’