Cindy Klassen reclaims world record in 1,500 at speed skating World Cup

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg reclaimed the world record in the women’s 1,500-metres on Sunday while Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., took home two bronze medals to conclude the second stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit.

In the women’s 1,500, Klassen continued her super season clocking 1:51.79 seconds to smash the previous world mark of 1:53.22 set by Anni Friesinger of Germany two weeks ago in Calgary. It was Klassen’s 10th career World Cup win and third already this season.

“It was a solid race,” said Klassen, who also holds the 3,000 world mark set last weekend in Calgary. “I was particularly happy with my top speed which was lacking last weekend. I held on to it pretty well and didn’t die too much at the end.”

Friesinger was second in the race in 1:53.19 and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., notched her first career World Cup medal placing third in 1:54.43.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the medal, it hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ve done this well,” said Nesbitt, 20, who bettered her personal best by just under three seconds. “I was actually feeling pretty tired before the race and I was just trying to get easy speed and feel relaxed. In the end, that really helped me.”

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was eighth. In the Group B 1,500, Clara Hughes of Winnipeg was second and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 17th.

In the men’s 1,000, Shani Davis of the U.S., broke the world record clocking 1:07.03 with Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands second in 1:08.00 and Wotherspoon, who was paired with Davis, third in 1:08.08.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 12th, Steven Elm of Red Deer 17th, Brock Miron of Calgary 20th and Vincent Labrie of Ste-Foy, Que., 26th.

In the men’s 500, world record holder Joji Kato of Japan took the gold in 34.45 with Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea second in 34.55 and Wotherspoon third for a second straight day in 34.63. Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was fourth in 34.71.

Miron was 19th, Labrie 31st and Mark Nielsen of Calgary 36th.

“Jeremy’s in there with the top guys and that’s where you want to be at this time of year,” said Wotherspoon’s coach Sean Ireland of Calgary. “He was solid overall and within range of his best ever times. He’s breaking in new skates and new blades right now and as he gets more and more comfortable we’ll see his performances improve.”

In the women’s 500, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was fifth in 37.80 while Simpson was 27th, Kim Weger of Regina 28th and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 30th.

Milwaukee hosts the next World Cup this weekend.