Cindy Klassen third overall at world speed skating championships

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg finished third overall for her third medal this weekend at the long track speed skating all around world championships on Sunday.

Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, who won two of the four races this weekends and reached the podium in all four including a bronze in Sunday’s 5,000-metre finale, took her first career overall crown with 158.662 points.

Anni Friesinger of Germany, a three-time champion, was second at 160.515 and Klassen, the defending champion, was third at 160.754. It’s a fifth top-three overall finish for Klassen at the all around worlds. She also won in 2003 and was second in 2002 and 2005.

“I’m really happy,” said Klassen, who also won bronze in the 500 and 3,000 this weekend. “It was special to get that good a result especially after taking a (competitive) break after last season.”

Klassen, a five-time Olympic medallist last year in Turin, didn’t compete at the fall World Cups preferring to focus on training after a busy off-season.

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was seventh, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., third in Saturday’s 1,500, ninth and Clara Hughes of Winnipeg 17th.

In Sunday’s 5,000, Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic posted the victory in 6:49.31. Groves was fifth, Klassen sixth and Nesbitt 11th. Hughes, the Olympic champion in the event, didn’t qualify for the 5,000 reserved for the top-12 over the previous three distances.

Klassen was paired with Paulien van Deutekom of the Netherlands, her main threat for the overall bronze, and beat her by two seconds to remain third.

“There was some pressure in that race because we were both going for that spot,” said Klassen. “I stayed ahead of her the whole race. She was catching up at the end but I was able to hold it off.”

“My main goal this year is the world singles distance championships (in March) and I’m glad I’ll have some time to prepare for that. There are things I need to work on.”

In men’s competition, 20-year-old Sven Kramer won the 10,000-metre finale to complete a Dutch sweep with his first overall crown with147.934 points. Kramer was third at the previous two worlds. Enrico Fabris of Italy was second at 140.043 and Carl Verheijen of the Netherlands third at 149.237.. Two-time defending champion Shani Davis of the U.S., was sixth.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., a silver medallist in the 500 and 1,500 this weekend, was 10th, Arne Dankers of Calgary 12th and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 13th.

In the 10,000, Kramer took the gold in 12:49.88 with Verheijen second in 12:55.30 and Eskil Ervik of Norway third in 13:08.92.

Dankers was ninth and Morrison 12th.