Podiums for Klassen & Groves in the 3000m event

Canada scored a double podium finish in the women’s 3000m event, with silver and bronze medal skates by Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) and Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON).

Canadian women posted solid results in the 3000m event, with two podium finishes and every skater finishing top ten. Cindy Klassen proved she’s back in the game with a silver medal in 4:07.19, behind Germany’s Stephanie Beckert who crossed the line in 4:04.38. Kristina Groves joined her teammate on the podium in third place in 4:08.01. The seemingly tireless Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) skated to fifth in a time of 4:08.78, flanked by Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) in sixth in 4:08.95.

Medalling in an individual race for the first time since December 2007, and after double-knee surgery, multiple-time Olympian Klassen is modest about today’s success, “It’s pretty exciting, I definitely didn’t expect it.” When asked about what helped her to skate to a podium today, she commented, “Training is going a lot better, and I feel like I’m getting stronger. I like Xiuli’s training program and it all seems to be coming together. I’m taking it one race at a time, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to get back on the podium,” she concluded.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games bronze medallist in the 3000m event, Kristina Groves was more playful about her results, “I’m happy but I feel like mentally I’m still not quite here; to be honest all I can think of is what I need to work on,” she laughed. However when asked about her focus for the season ahead, Groves was certain, “The All-Round World Championships is an important competition for me, and this year it’s here at home in Calgary. Over the next six to eight weeks I’ll be gearing up for that!”

Coach Xiuli Wang was also pleased with today’s results, “It’s really good to see Cindy skating well again, and it’s early so there is still time for improvement.” When asked about the training dynamics of her 16 athlete-strong training group, Wang was enthusiastic “They’re all working as a team, and overall they’re a happy group, which is good, because then I can focus on the training programs and not worry about personal relationships.”

Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) raced in Group B’s 3000m event, coming in eighth with 4:16.65.

The second set of women’s 500m events also took place today, with Christine Nesbitt taking tenth place with a time of 39.18. In a repeat performance, the event was won by Germany’s Jenny Wolf in 38:17, the Netherlands’ Margot Boer earned silver in a time of 38:54, and Japan’s Nao Kodaira took bronze in 38:77.

In Group B, Canadian women shone, taking the top two spots on the podium, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB), crossed the line in 39.46 – a mere one one-hundredths of a second behind her race time yesterday – while Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB) raced to second place in 39:54. With strong results both yesterday and today, Rempel will move to Group A for next week’s 500m races.

Makowsky top Canadian in the 1500m

Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) was the top Canadian skater in the 1500m event today, with a tenth place, in a time of 1:47.29. Phillippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) ranked 20th in 1:50.18, Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, AB) came 23rd in 1:50.36 after a stumble on the starting line.

American Shani Davis won the race in 1:45.04; the Netherlands’ Simon Kuipers earned silver in 1:45.48, while fellow countryman Mark Tuitert earned bronze with his time of 1:4595.

In the same distance in Group B, Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) skated to seventh place in 1:50.70.

The Heerenveen World Cup concludes Sunday with the second and final set of men’s 500m races, as well as their 5000m event, while the women will be racing the 1500m event. The next World Cup stop will be November 19-21, in Berlin, Germany.