Three more medals for Canada at long track speed skating World Cup

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg and Kristina Groves of Ottawa finished second and third in the women’s 1,500 metres and helped Canada to second spot in the team pursuit on Sunday to conclude the fourth stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit.

In the women’s 1,500, Olympic champion Anni Friesinger of Germany took the gold in one minute and 54.66 seconds with Klassen, the world champion in the event, second in 1:54.72. Groves earned her second bronze this season clocking 1:56.28.

“Cindy felt pretty good in her race but she lacked her usual speed at the start,” said Canadian national team coach Neal Marshall of Calgary. “But the rest of her race went very well.”

Groves was happy to rebound from a subpar performance in Saturday’s 5,000.

“It was great to comeback and skate very well,” said Groves. “Today I was a little more relaxed and consistent in my pacing and technique. And I was aggressive too.”

Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was 16th and Clara Hughes of Winnipeg, the 5,000 winner on Saturday, 18th.

Friesinger maintains her lead in the World Cup 1,500 standings with 280 points after three of five races. Klassen is second at 260 and Groves third at 176.

In the women’s 2,400-metre team pursuit, a new Olympic event for the Turin Games this February, the Netherlands were first in 3:03.61 while the Canadians with Groves, Klassen and Nesbitt took second spot in 3:03.96. In the first pursuit this season the Canadians were ninth.

“It was good for us to have a strong race,” said Groves. “We changed our strategy and tactics and it helped a lot. We stayed together the whole race and ended with a good time. We were really happy about it.”

Canada 2 with Michele d’Amours of Ste-Foy, Que., Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 12th.

In the men’s 10,000, Carl Verheijen of the Netherlands broke the world record clocking 12:57.92.

Fast-improving Arne Dankers of Calgary broke the Canadian record placing seventh in 13:10.58. It eclipsed the previous mark of 13:34.58 set by Dustin Molicki of Calgary 2001. Dankers has also lowered the national marks in the 3,000 and 5,000 this season.

“I was getting worried seeing everyone go so fast but I ended up with a great race as well,” said Dankers. “The key for the 10,000 is to have a good rhythm and that’s what I did. To get the three records is beyond my expectations. I’m way ahead of where I was last year.”

The next stop on the circuit is this Friday to Sunday at the Olympic venue in Turin.