Ottawa’s Kristina Groves ninth at speed skating World Cup

Jennifer Rodriguez of the United States won her second straight 1,500-metre race on Saturday comfortably beating Olympic champion Annie Friesinger of Germany at the second stop on the long track speed skating circuit.

Rodriguez finished in one minute and 57.86 seconds and missed Friesinger's course record by 0.13 seconds at the indoor oval. The German was second, 0.79 seconds behind. Renate Groenewold of the Netherlands was third, 1.86 back.

Rodriguez, the bronze medalist at the Salt Lake City Olympics, also won the 1,500 at the World Cup opener last weekend in Hamar, Norway.
Kristina Groves of Ottawa continued to be Canada’s top performer early in the season placing ninth in 2:01.12 a vast improvement over her 14th place finish last weekend in the 1,500.

“I’m very satisfied with the race,” said Groves, 26, who enjoyed her best season last winter capped by a fourth place finish overall at the world championships. “This week I skated a lot harder. I think last week I needed a reminder on how hard I need to go at this level. The 1,500 is an event for which I know I have the potential to do well in.”

In the B group race, Tiffany Hughes of Kingston, Ont., was 17th and Tara Risling of Medicine Hat, Alta., 19th,

In the men’s 10,000 metres, Bob de Jong led the Netherlands to a clean medal sweep with his second win this season in 13:17.63. Olympic champion Jochem Uytdehaage was second in 13:20.67 and Carl Verheijen third in 13:22.78.

In the B group race, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was 12th and Philippe Marois of Charlesbourg, Que., 18th.

Competition ends Sunday.