Groves & Nesbitt earn silver & bronze in women’s 1,500 at speed skating World Cup

HEERENVEEN, The Netherlands – Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., went head to head in the last pair and took silver and bronze respectively in the women’s 1,500 at the fourth stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit.

Anni Friesinger of Germany won her second straight gold at the distance in 1:55.98 with Groves second in 1:56.18 while Nesbitt took the bronze in 1:56.56. Cindy Klassen was seventh, Shannon Rempel 13th and Brittany Schussler 15th. All three are from Winnipeg.

‘’I’m really pleased with how I skated, it was a lot better than last week in Russia,’’ said Groves with her third medal this season at the distance. ‘’I was able to change a few thing that I didn’t do as well and I had a much better rhythm and felt lighter. It was kind of a tough day for all the girls on the last lap because you don’t get a good glide on this ice.’’

Nesbitt still leads the World Cup standings after four of seven races with 350 points. Groves is second at 290 and Friesinger third at 280.

‘’I’m pretty happy with being a lot more consistent than at this point last season,’’ said Nesbitt. ‘’But in today’s race it wasn’t as good as I would have hoped. I started faster than usual and I wasn’t use to it and paid for it in the end. I didn’t let myself relax.’’

In the men’s 5,000, Sven Kramer of the Netherlands collected his second gold in two days with a victory. Arne Dankers of Calgary was sixth and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina 11th.

In the men’s 500 Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., were 17th and 18th respectively.

In the men’s B group races Lucas Makowsky of Saskatoon was second in the 5,000 with Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., fifth and Aaron Sadlier of Norwood, Ont., 18th while François-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., and Muncef Ouardi of Quebec City tied for 11th in the 500.

Competition ends Sunday.