Ottawa’s Kristina Groves equals career-best seventh at long track speed skating World Cup opener

German and Dutch skaters dominated the season opening long track speed skating World Cup competition on Saturday.

Kristina Groves of Ottawa equalled her best-ever World Cup result placing seventh in the women’s 3,000 metres.

Two-time world champion Anni Friesinger led the Germans to a 1-2 finish in the women’s 3,000 clocking four minutes and 07.31 seconds. Her compatriot Claudia Pechstein, the Olympic champion, was second in 4:08.06 and Renate Groenewold of the Netherlands third in 4:08.39.

Groves was paired with Friesinger and took seventh in 4:14.07. Clara Hughes of Winnipeg placed ninth in 4:14.88.

‘’This is certainly the best start to a season I’ve ever had,’’ said Groves, a career-best fourth overall at the world championships last year. ‘’My strategy with Anni was to stay with her for the first part of the race then really focus on what I had to do to get the best possible time.’’

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, the world all around champion last year, is out until at least January after being involved in a freak training accident last month that required extensive surgery on her right arm.

Tara Risling of Medicine Hat, Alta., was 19th and Tiffany Hughes of Kingston, Ont., 20th.

In the men’s 1,500 metres, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands won the gold in 1:47.37 with his compatriot Mark Tuitert second in 1:47.55 and Olympic champion Derek Parra of the U.S., third in 1:48.80.

Jay Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 15th, Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., 24th, Philippe Marois of Charlesbourg, Que., 29th, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 38th and Jeff Kitura of Langley, B.C., 46th.

In the exhibition men’s team pursuit event, the U.S., won the gold while Canada with Marois, Kitura and Morrison were seventh.

Competition ends Sunday.