Ottawa speed skater Kristina Groves posts career best World Cup result

Long track speed skater Kristina Groves of Ottawa posted the best World Cup result of her career Sunday as she placed sixth in the women’s 1,500 metres which concluded the third stop on the circuit this season.

Anni Friesinger of Germany took the gold medal clocking one minute and 58.34 seconds with Renate Groenewold of the Netherlands second in 1:58.71 and Jennifer Rodriguez of the U.S., the World Cup leader, third in 1:58.82.

Rodriguez, the winner of the first two 1,500 races this season, leads the event World Cup standings with 270 points, just 10 ahead of Friesinger while Gronewold is third at 220. Groves moved into 10th spot at 97 points.

“I’m not here to be in 13th place anymore,” said Groves, 26, now in her seventh season on the national team. “But at the same time the main objective is to peak for the world championships in February. Right now it’s like putting money in the bank. But I’m anxious to make a withdrawal because I know I can be at least in the top-five. So I’m being patient.”

Groves was fourth overall at the world championships last year and now has four top-10 finishes this season. This was the last World Cup for the middle distance and distance skaters before Christmas. The Canadians had a rough start when their star skater, world champion Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, suffered a freak arm accident in training last month and missed all three World Cup events.

“It’s been different this year without Cindy,” said Groves. “Everyone was initially a bit down at first after what happened. We all got progressively better and we feel we’re headed in the right direction.”

In the 1,500 B group race, Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton, Que., was fourth in 2:03.82 and Tiffany Hughes of Kingston, Ont., 11th.

In the men’s 3,000, Chad Herrick of the U.S., was the winner in 3:46.95 with Tom Prinsen of the Netherlands second in 3:47.57 and his compatriot Bob de Jong third in 3:47.59.

Jay Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 17th, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 26th, Jeff Kitura of Langley, B.C., 31st and Philippe Marois of Charlesbourg, Que., 42nd.

The World Cup season for the long track sprinters (500 and 1,000 metres) gets underway December 6-7 in Calgary. Canada is led by world champion Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer and Mike Ireland of Winnipeg.