Canadians in speed skating semis

Canadian men and women speed skaters advanced to the semifinals of their respective team pursuits Wednesday.

In the women's quarterfinals, Canadians recorded the fastest time and set an Olympic record in the process.

Canadians Kristina Groves, Cindy Klassen and Christine Nesbitt crossed the finish line in a time of three minutes, 1.24 seconds while skating against the United States.

The Americans were well back in 3:04.59.

Germany (3:01.52) beat its biggest rival, the Netherlands (3:03.65), to confirm its status as a strong gold-medal contender.

The Germans led from start to finish in the six-lap race, defeating the Dutch team led by 3,000-metre gold medallist Ireen Wust by 2.13 seconds.

The Canadian team will face Japan in the semifinals.

In the men's quarterfinals, Canadians Denny Morrison, Jason Parker and Justin Warsylewicz skated against Japan and recorded a time of 3:52.01.

The Italian men's team set an Olympic record of 3:43.64.

The men's and women's semifinals are on Thursday.

Canadian women won silver in this event at the 2005 world single distance championships while Canadian men were fifth.

This is the first time the pursuit races have been part of the Olympic program.

Source: CBC Online