Nesbitt & Riopel - Masters of the 1500m

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) and Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) each won their 1500m events Friday, on Day 2 of the Fall World Cup Selections at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

Though Nesbitt may not be skating at 100% yet due to a late start in training, she certainly showed today that she’ll be ready for the first World Cup of the season which will take place November 12 - 14 in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

“My elbow was hurt in a car accident this summer, which pushed back my return to training,” explained Nesbitt. “I’m happy with today’s results though, since I’m not quite at my best yet.”

Long track specialist Nesbitt stopped the clock at 1:55.77, ahead of Britanny Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) whose time was 1:56.06; Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) completed the trio in a time of 1:56.86.

“I feel confident that I’ll have a good season though,” mused Nesbitt. “I switched coaches (she now trains with Xiuli Wang) and I have to adapt to new training methods. I still need some time to get into optimal shape.”

Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) and Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) finished fourth and fifth. Nesbitt and Groves were pre-qualified for the Fall World Cups in the 1500m distance, so there are three spots left for other female skaters.

Riopel Rules

Quebec’s Philippe Riopel took the win in the men’s 1500m event thanks to a time of 1:46.34, 26 hundredths ahead of Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) – both skaters are in good position to race this distance for Team Canada.

“Earning a spot on the World Cup Team yesterday alleviated some pressure; I was less nervous while skating today,” commented Riopel. “I didn’t have a very good season last year, and I’m happy to see things are changing this year.”

Riopel modified his summer preparations this year, and he’s beginning to see the fruits of his labour, “I went to Korea for six weeks, and I trained with them,” he continued. “The workouts were really intense, and it was great mentally to change my training environment.”

Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) came in third with a time of 1:46.86. Richard MacLennan (Sault Saint Marie, ON) and Mykola Makowsky (Regina, SK) took fourth and fifth, respectively.

Denny Morrisson and Lucas Makowsky did not skate today, in light of their prequalification in the 1500m event. The High Performance Committee will meet next week to determine which athletes will skate this distance along with them in the World Cups.

Saturday, the women will skate the 3000m event, while the men will take to the line for the 5000m event.