Groves & Hughes just miss 5000m podium at Moscow World Cup

After bringing in eleven medals in the first two stages of the World Cup, the Canadian speed skating team started its third weekend of competition in Moscow. Once again, Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) was the highest placed Canadian, coming in fourth in the 5000m. The 2006 Olympic gold medalist in this distance, Clara Hughes (Winnipeg, MB), finished fifth, 0.36 seconds behind Groves.

“It was a tough race but I’m satisfied with my performance. The technique and focus were there even though it was painful race. As the first 5000m race of the season, I expected it to be difficult,” said Hughes, “but I was feeling good throughout the race, even at the end.” “I see the season as a big step forward and am keen to continue”.

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) and Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) finished in tenth and eleventh places. In Division B, rookie Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) finished thirteenth with a time of 7:19.99, a sign that she has a good future ahead of her.

Today, the men competed in the 1500m and the competition was fierce. The young Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) finished in ninth place, a mere two seconds behind the leader, the Norwegian Håvard Bøkko. His teammates, Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) and François-Olivier Roberge (St. Nicolas, QC) finished in thirteenth and fourteenth.

“It’s been a long three weeks but with every race I’m learning more and improving my skating. I am getting more comfortable with each aspect of the race”, explained a satisfied Lucas Makowsky. “I can’t wait to come back home and train to improve my performance. I’m really excited about the rest of the season”.

In Group B, Jeff Kitura (Langley, BC) finished fourth with a time of 1:50.20. Jay Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) finished sixth, 0.03 seconds behind Kitura.

Tomorrow, the men will skate the 10,000m, while the women will be competing in the 1500m. The Canadian women’s team started the season well in this distance, with Groves having won the first two races, while Nesbitt, Shussler and Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) standing third, fourth and fifth in the overall rankings.