Bronze medal for Kristina Groves at long track speed skating World Cup

Kristina Groves of Ottawa won the bronze medal Sunday in the women’s 1,500 metres while world records were lowered in the men’s 5,000 and women’s team pursuit to conclude the first stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit.

In the women’s 1,500, Anni Friesinger led Germany to a 1-2 finish clocking 1:53.48 which just missed her world mark of 1:53.22 set at a meet here last weekend. Claudia Pechstein of Germany was second in 1:54.92 and Groves posted a personal best 1:55.15 for the bronze. Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg was fourth in 1:55.24.

“A personal best is always what we strive for so I’m very happy with the showing,” said Groves, who beat her personal best by five seconds Saturday in a fourth place finish in the 3,000. “I’ve been really able to hit a good rhythm in my races this year with big strong pushes and staying relaxed, particularly at the end of the race.”

In the 1,500 Group 2 race, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was second, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., sixth and Clara Hughes of Winnipeg 12th.

In the women’s 2,400 metre pursuit, Germany took the gold in 2:56.04 smashing the previous world record of 3:03.07 set by the Canadians last season. China was second in 3:00.24 and Germany 2 third in 3:00.59.

Canada 2 with Hughes, Simpson and Shannnon Rempel of Winnipeg was 10th in 3:03.11 and Canada 1 with Klassen, Groves and Nesbitt 11th in 3:03.17.

“We changed things up with our teams and even though we had some problems near the end it was a good learning experience,” said Groves.

In the men’s 5,000, Chad Hedrick of the US., broke the world record clocking 6:09.68 eclipsing the previous mark of 6:14.66 set by Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Arne Dankers of Calgary broke his Canadian record placing 10th in 6:19.97. His previous best was 6:24.05 set last season in Calgary.

“I’m very pleased with it,” said Dankers. “I was consistent throughout. I knew it would be very fast and I was actually pretty worried when I saw the times posted before I raced. I knew I just had to worry about my own race.”

In Group 2, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was 10th, Justin Warsylewicz of Regina 15th, Mark Jesney of Regina 23rd and Dustin Molicki of Calgary 33rd.