Kristina Groves of Ottawa wins World Cup season title

HEERENVEEN, The Netherlands – Kristina Groves of Ottawa won the showdown for the women’s 1,500 season title over teammate Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., on Saturday at the World Cup final in long track speed skating.

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., added another victory in the men’s 500 after clinching the season title at the distance on Friday.

Podium of the World Cup 1500m standings, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
In the women’s 1,500, the Netherlands were 1-2 in Saturday’s race with Pauline Van Deutekom first in 1:56.61 and Ireen Wust second in 1:57.04. Groves took the bronze in 1:57.63 while Nesbitt, the World Cup leader entering the race, missed the podium for the first time in seven races at the distance finishing 13th.

Nesbitt and Groves were the last pair of the day.

‘’I just raced it like any other race,’’ said Groves. ‘’I had certain things I wanted to focus on and I did those well. I was ahead off the start and maintained a strong pace. I got a good feel and rhythm today. It wasn’t my best race but a good stepping stone to the worlds (next month in Nagano).’’

Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 11th and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg 15th.

In the 1,500 overall standings, Groves earned 105 points Saturday to slip into first with 555 points. Nesbitt collected 18 points and dropped to second at 508. Wust was third at 338. Nesbitt led Groves by 40 points entering Saturday’s finale. Groves also pockets $14,000 U.S., with the title while Nesbitt collects $9,000 as runner-up

‘’It’s a nice accomplishment and something I’m happy about, but honestly, I don’t

Kristina Groves doing the World Cup winner lap, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
focus on that,’’ said Groves. ‘’I just focused on the skating and whatever happened with the standings wasn’t on my mind. But it certainly is a nice way to finish.’’

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon collected his ninth win in 10 races clocking 34.92. Joji Kato of Japan was second at 35.07 and Dmitry Lobkov of Russia third at 35.12. Mike Ireland was eighth, Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., 12th and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., 18th.

Arne Dankers of Calgary was fifth in the men’s 5,000 which was won by Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.

In the women’s 500, Jenny Wolf of Germany completed her domination with a 12th victory this season. Rempel was sixth, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 13th and Tamara Oudenaarden of Edmonton 17th.

Competition ends Sunday.