Hughes wins silver medal at World Cup speed skating competition

Clara Hughes of Winnipeg won the silver medal in the women’s 5,000-metres Saturday at the third stop on the World Cup long track speed skating circuit while Dustin Molicki of Calgary was eighth in the men’s 1,500.

In the women’s 5,000, last season’s double Olympic champion Claudia Pechstein of Germany, Hughes’ pair, won the gold clocking seven minutes and 02.91 seconds. Hughes, who posted her first career World Cup win last weekend in the 3,000, clocked second in 7:04.35. Barbara de Loor of the Netherlands was third in 7:10.09.

"I was pretty happy with my race," said Hughes, an Olympic bronze medallist in the event last winter. "At the start I probably focused too much on Claudia and it’s only three or four laps in that I started to concentrate on my race. Then it went much better. Her laps were getting slower near the end but as soon as I picked up speed she started to push harder. She’s very tough at this distance."

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was seventh, her second best career World Cup result, in 7:15.83, Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg 11th in 7:18.29 and Tara Risling of Medicine Hat, Alta., 20th.

Pechstein leads the 3,000/5,000 standings with 320 points, Hughes is second at 290 and Klassen third at 199. Saturday’s 5,000 was the first at that distance this season.

In the men’s 1,500, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands took the gold with a track record 1:46.63. Yevgeny Lalenkov of Russia was second in 1:47.28 and Olympic champion and world record holder Derek Parra of the U.S., third in 1:48.18.

Molicki, fourth in the World Cup standings last season, posted his best result this season finishing eighth in 1:49.34. Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was 13th, Kevin Marshall of Coquitlam, B.C., 14th and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., 15th.

"Dustin struggled at the start of the season but he’s starting to find his wheels again," said Canadian national team coach Chris Shelley. "He had some problems with his skates but we were able to solve it for this race."

Competition ends Sunday.