Winnipeg’s Cindy Klassen adds bronze to medal collection at speed skating World Cup

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg won the bronze medal in the women’s 1,500 metres to maintain her overall World Cup lead in the distance on Saturday to open the fourth stop on the World Cup long track speed skating circuit.

Anna Friesinger led Germany to a 1-2 finish clocking 1:59.46 with Daniela Anschutz second in 2:00.38 under windy and cold conditions at the outdoor venue. Klassen, the winner of the last two 1,500 World Cup races, was third in 2:00.65.

Klassen has medalled in all four World Cup 1,500 races this season and this is her last competition before the world all around championships next weekend in Moscow. Klassen was the all around world champion 2003 then missed most of last season due to injury. She continues to impress in her return and was satisfied with her performance in her first outdoor race this season.

"It was O.K., I probably still had some jet lag," Klassen said. "With two laps to go I was feeling like there was one lap left. With the wind you have to be very low and I tend to be up a bit more when I race. But it was the same for everyone."

In the World Cup standings, she stands first with one World Cup event remaining at 350 points, with Friesinger second at 262 and world sprint champion Jennifer Rodriguez of the U.S., third at 250.

In the B group race, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was second, Michelle d’Amours of Ste-Foy, Que., sixth and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg eighth.

Canada didn’t enter the women’s 2,400-metre pursuit race. Both Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Clara Hughes of Winnipeg are suffering from the flu and are doubtful for Sunday’s races. Canada won the first two World Cup pursuit races which is a new official event for next year’s Olympics in Turin.

In the men’s 5,000, Oystein Grodum of Norway took the gold in 6:31.39. Double Olympic champion Jochem Uytdehaage led the Netherlands to next five positions with the silver in 6:32.58 while Bob de Jong was third in 6:33.35.

Arne Dankers of Calgary was 13th in 6:44.97.

In the men’s 5,000 B group, Justin Warsylewicz of Regina was fifth and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., 25th.

Competition ends Sunday.