Canada’s Arne Dankers returns from injury with strong performance at speed skating World Cup

Arne Dankers of Calgary made an impressive season debut Friday posting the 10th fastest time of the day in the men’s 5,000-metres at the third stop on the World Cup long track speed skating circuit.

The host Dutch continued to dominate the men’s distance events sweeping the medals. Bob De Jong earned his second win this season clocking six minutes and 28.01 seconds, Carl Verheijen was second in 6:29.19 and Tom Prinsen third in 6:31.00.

Dankers raced in the B group 5,000 and placed third in 6:40.28, the 10th fastest time of the day overall and worth 11 World Cup points for the Canadian. In his race, Ivan Skobrev of Russia was first in 6:36.54, sixth best on the day while Witold Mazur of Poland took second in 6:39.26.

The 23-year-old Dankers, missed the first two World Cup events due to an injured left knee which kept him off the ice for two weeks. He started skating again last week before leaving for Europe to join his teammates.

‘”It was important for me that the knee felt fine and today I had a very solid technical race,” said Dankers, a member of the 2002 Olympic team and in his third season o the national team. “I’m not surprised with the result, my training had gone well before the knee started to swell up. I think my experience is also starting to show.”

Philippe Marois of Charlesbourg, Que., was 12th in the B group race and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 19th

Competition continues Saturday.