Nesbitt On the Podium at World Allrounds

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) achieved her goal of yet another podium finish, this time at the World Allround Championships in front of a Canadian crowd in Calgary, Alberta, Sunday. The highest-ranking Canadian man in the overall standings was Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) in 12th place overall.

Today’s events kicked off with the 1500m race, where Christine Nesbitt had to uncharacteristically settle for second place with a time of 1:53.22, behind the Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst who was first across the line in 1:52.59. Third place went to Dutch skater Marrit Leenstra in 1:53.88

Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) skated to a strong fourth place finish in 1:54.88, followed directly by Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) in fifth in 1:54.91. Rounding out the results, rookie Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) took 21st place in 1:59.02.

In the grueling 5000m event, Cindy Klassen was the highest-ranking Canadian woman, earning sixth place in a time of 6:59.54. Brittany Schussler was the next in line, skating across the line in 7:07.05 for 11th place; middle-distance specialist Christine Nesbitt came 12th in 7:09.06.

The distance was won by Germany’s Stephanie Beckert in 6:49.51, followed by the Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst 6:55.85; third place went to Japan’s Masako Hozumi in 6:56.35.

In the overall rankings, Christine Nesbitt finished with the silver medal, behind Dutchwoman Ireen Wüst who took gold; rounding out the podium was the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova who earned bronze.

Speaking about today’s racing, Nesbitt had this to say “I wasn’t really happy with my 1500 today - or some of my other races this weekend - but at the same time, it just means that there’s a lot to improve on and that’s exciting to me. The 5000m race wasn’t as painful as I remember it being, but maybe that’s just because I haven’t had to do them as often!” she joked. When asked about her level of fatigue Nesbitt admitted, “I feel pretty tired! We fly to Salt Lake City on Wednesday, then back to Europe after that, but I know that the training program accounts for these types of things. I haven’t felt that much pressure this year, I’ve been focusing on enjoying skating,” she concluded.

Cindy Klassen skated to an impressive fifth place in the final rankings – up from 12th place in last year’s competition. When asked about her continued progress she commented, “I still have a long way to go, but I’m on the right track. I skated exactly the way I wanted to, and I actually had a better 5K race today than I was expecting. The crowd wasn’t quite as loud as at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but they were definitely cheering loudly for us!”

Brittany Schussler earned ninth place in the final classifications, while rookie Ivanie Blondin came 20th.

Makowsky 12th in the Final Classification

In the men’s 1500m event, Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) was the highest-ranking Canadian man in ninth place in 1:44.30 – a career best performance. Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) took tenth in 1:44.74, followed by Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) who skated to 22nd place in a time of 1:47.79.

The event was won by Russia’s Ivan Skobrev in 1:42.94, in second was American Jonathan Kuck in 1:43.12; another American – Brian Hansen, took third place in 1:43.35.

Makowsky was the lone Canadian in the men’s 10 000m, and he skated to 12th place in 13:53.71. Havard Bokko of Norway crossed the line first in 12:53.89, Russia’s Ivan Skobrev took second in 12:58.36, while the Netherlands’ Jan Blokhuijsen skated to third in 13:00.04.

“Overall I had a pretty solid weekend, despite a bit of a mental battle in the longer distances,” said Makowsky. “We had a shorter prep time coming into this weekend, with last weekend’s competition being in Moscow there is a big time difference, and that was hard on me. I usually get a bit nervous in front of a hometown crowd, but the crowd today were really great, they were really encouraging every lap, even during the longer races which makes a big difference,” he concluded.

In the final rankings, Makowsky earns himself 12th place, Mathieu Giroux’s final placing is 15th, and Justin Warsylewicz finishes 21st.

Russia’s Ivan Skobrev earned the men’s gold overall title, followed by Norway’s Havard Bokko for the silver medal, while the Netherlands’ Jan Blokhuijsen took the bronze.

Team Canada’s next stop is the Salt Lake City Utah, USA World Cup February 18 – 19.