Groves & Klassen reach podium in World Cup speed skating

Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg won silver and bronze medals respectively in the women's 1,500 metres on Saturday at the long track speed skating World Cup final.

The competition also featured a world record performance for Olympic silver medallist Sven Kramer of the Netherlands in the men’s 5,000.

In the women’s 1,500, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands was the winner in one minute 52.38 seconds, followed by Groves in a personal best 1:53.58 and Klassen in 1:53.80. Klassen and Groves were 1-2 in the race at the Olympics last year just ahead of Wust.

‘’I can hardly remember the race and that’s a good sign,’’ said Groves, who also takes third spot in the distance’s final World Cup standings. ‘’I was able to shut off my brain, just really relax and skate. The last few weeks I was worrying too much and it started to affect my performances and confidence.’’

Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was eighth, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg 10th and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg 15th. Nesbitt also placed fourth overall just behind Groves.

In the men’s 5,000, Kramer eclipsed his world mark by more than a second clocking 6:07.48 with his compatriot Carl Verheijen second in 6:12.75 and Enrico Fabris of Italy third in 6:14.20.

Arne Dankers of Calgary equaled his best-ever World Cup result placing fifth in 6:15.88. Justin Warsylewicz of Regina was 10th, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 21st and Lucas Makowsky 25th.

‘’I was really happy with that race,’’ said Dankers. ‘’I really fed off racing at home and I felt it gave me an advantage. The time was close to my personal best and it’s a great way to head to the worlds (next weekend) in this event.

In the men’s 500, Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was ninth and Brock Miron of Calgary 22nd. Yuya Oikawa of Japan won the race.

In the women’s 500, Rempel was 14th, Kim Weger of Regina 19th, Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 24th and Schussler 25th. Beixing Wang of China won for the second straight day.

Competition ends Sunday.