Cindy Klassen continues amazing return with silver medal in 1,000 at world Cup final

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg continued her amazing return to competition on Saturday with the silver medal in the women’s 1,000 metres at the World Cup final in long track speed skating.

Anzhelika Kotyuga of Belarus won the gold medal clocking one minute and 16.70 seconds with Klassen second in 1:16.84 and Olympic champion Chris Witty of the U.S., third in 1:17.11. Olympic bronze medallist Jennifer Rodriguez of the U.S., was fourth and world champion Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands, fifth.

For Klassen, the all around world champion last year and an Olympic bronze medallist in 2002, it was only her third race this season and first in the 1,000. She has missed most of the season due to a serious arm injury which occurred in training last October. At that time no one thought that she would race this season let alone win medals.

“I just knew I had to go all out,” said Klassen, third in the 1,500 on Friday and now qualified for the world single distance championships next month. “I was happiest with my first and second laps which were excellent. I have to work on my opener because it’s not the fastest and it was a bit shaky in the corners. But that’s to be expected when you haven’t gone that fast all year.”

Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., was 11th while in the B final, Krisy Myer of Calgary was ninth, Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg 10th and Kim Weger of Regina 14th.

In the men’s 1,000, Jan Bos led the Netherlands to a medal sweep clocking 1:09.21. Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was fourth in 1:10.01 and Mike Ireland of Winnipeg 13th. The two Canadians finished in fourth and fifth place in the World Cup standings. Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands took the title.

In the B final, Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., was third, Steven Elm of Red Deer 11th and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., 19th.

Other Canadian results Saturday: in the women’s 3,000, Kristina Groves of Ottawa was 10th while in the B final Tara Risling of Medicine Hat was 11th; in the men’s 10,000 B final, Arne Dankers of Calgary was 19th and world junior champion Justin Warsylewicz of Regina 20th.

Competition ends Sunday.