Le May Doan & Hughes fourth at world speed skating championships

In what was perhaps the final race of her career in her best event, two-time Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon finished fourth in the women’s 500-metres Saturday at the world single distance long track speed skating championships.

Monique Garbrecht- Enfeldt of Germany added the world 500 crown to her World Cup and world sprint titles this season clocking a two-race combined time of one minute and 17.17 seconds. Manli Wang of China was second at 1:17.29 and Anzhelika Kotyuga of Belarus, who clocked the fastest time in the first race, took third at 1:17.30.

Le May Doan, the defending champion, was fourth in the first race and third in the second clocking 38.72 each time for fourth overall at 1:17.44. She was paired with Garbrecht-Enfeldt in both races.

‘’I was frustrated with not making it on the podium,’’ said Le May Doan a three-time 500 champion at this event. ‘’Especially since it could be my last 500 race. It would have been nice to get a medal for the people who have helped me. It was a wide open race, everybody wound up having one good race and one that wasn’t so good. Usually in a two-race series I always do better in the second one.’’

The 32-year-old Le May Doan, in her 15th year on the national team, says she won’t decide on her future until she returns home.

‘’You can’t really say for sure until you talk to the people around you,’’ she said. ‘’I was pretty emotional today and I’m sure tomorrow it’ll be much more so. I’ll be packing some Kleenex in my bag. Maybe in my heart I sort of know but until you are finished and at home, talk to the right people, that’s when you’ll really know. We’ll wait and see.’’

Le May Doan will race the 1,000 metres on Sunday to conclude her season.

World junior champion Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 14th and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 16th.

In the women’s 3,000, Anni Friesinger led Germany to a 1-2 finish with her second gold in two days clocking 4:06.07. Claudia Pechstein was second in 4:07.99 and Gretha Smit of the Netherlands third in 4:08.91.

Clara Hughes of Winnipeg, who was paired with Pechstein, took fourth spot in 4:10.16 while Kristina Groves of Ottawa was sixth in 4:13.63. World all around champion and Olympic bronze medallist Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, who has been ill this week, was 11th.

‘’I gained a lot of confidence for the 5,000 tomorrow (Sunday) which is the main event for me,’’ said Hughes. ‘’I had a lot left at the end and the best part of my race were the last three laps. I just can’t wait to see how I’ll do in the 5,000.’’

In the men’s 1,500, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands took the gold in 1:47.80, his compatriot Ralf van der Rijst was second in 1:48.46 and Joey Cheek of the U.S, third in 1:48.56.

Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was 15th and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., 20th.

Competition ends Sunday with the men’s and women’s 1,000 and the women’s 5,000.