Many Top 10 for Team Canada at Erfurt World Cup

Canada’s long track speed skaters raced solid performances today, securing many top 10 finishes on the first day of the World Cup #7 in Erfurt, Germany. Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) and Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) were among Canada’s top skaters.

Nesbitt skated the ladies’ 1500m in a time of 1:58.62 to finish 4th. Nesbitt missed the podium by finishing only eight hundredth of a second behind Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands who took third place. Gernany’s Anni Friesinger and Daniela Anschütz Thoms were first and second respectively with times of 1:56.90 and 1:58.13. Britanny Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) came in 5th with a time of 1:58.95. Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) was 7th of the group in 1:59.29. Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) finished 12th, while Clara Hughes (Winnipeg, MB) ended in 20th place.

“This year has been the year where I was the most consistent. I would have liked to win a medal today in the 1500m, but my performance was very good at this point the season. I am confident that I will be able to pull a good one next week-end at the World Allround Championships. I am looking forward to my races tomorrow and Sunday. I think I can build on today’s performance,” said Nesbitt in retrospective of her performance today.

Nesbitt was the only Canadian woman skating the 500m in Division A and she took 16th place. Germany’s Jenny Wolf took the gold with a time of 37.58, while China’s Jing Yu (38.18) and Peiyu Jin (38.30) went for silver and bronze. In the B Group, Tamara Oudenaarden (St-Albert, AB) finished third with a time of 39.62 seconds. Beating Oudenaarden by only 0.62 second, Russia’s Svetlana Kaykan took first place with a time of 39 seconds flat, and Chiara Simonato of Italy finished in second place with a time of 39.53. Not far behind Oudenaarden were Kim Weger (Regina, SK) and Kerry Dankers (Melville, SK) who took 6th and 7th place respectively, and Danielle Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB) was 10th.

In the men’s 500m, former hockey player Jamie Gregg achieved another top 10 finish in an international long track competion. Gregg came in 7th with a time of 35.45, only 0.42 second slower than the gold medalist Fengton Yu of China (35.03). The silver medal went to Japanese Keiichiro Nagashima (35.12) while USA’s Tucker Fredricks took silver with a time of 35.12. Muncef Ouardi (Montreal, QC) also had a great race today with an 11th place finish and Vincent Labrie (Lévis,QC) ended in 13th place.

“Today’s race went well. With each race I get better and my preparation is also better,” said Gregg with regards to his race. Gregg speed skated as a kid, before focusing on hockey. “I came back to speed skating three years ago through the recruitment programme Own the Podium. I have now been in the development team for the past two years. It’s been very good for the training and the access to the support staff helps a lot. I think this year I have the chance to work on things to improve my natural tendencies,” finished Gregg, whose sister Jessica is leaving tomorrow for a Short Track World Cup in Europe, and other sister Sarah is competing at the Canadian Junior Championship, hoping to get a spot on Team Canada for the World Junior Championships.

In Division B, Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, MB) took second place with a time of 36.16 seconds. Parrott was only surpassed by Finland’s Pasi Koskela who won the race in 36.08. François-Olivier Roberge (St-Nicolas, QC) came in 15th place.

In the challenging 5000m, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) also had a great race and took 7th place with a time of 6:29.24. Without surprise, Dutch skater Sven Kramer took gold in 6:12.02. Norway’s Havard Bokko was second and Dutchman Bob de Jong was third with respective times of 6:22.37 and 6:23.45 minutes.
Morrison on a podium of the men's B group 5000m, 1) Lehmann (GER), 2) Jongejan (NED) 3) Morrison, J.
J. Morrison on podium for Group B of men's 5000m; Photo: Arno Hoogveld

All other Canadian skaters were in Division B, and the best Canadian was Jay Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) who took third place in 6:33.78, behind German skater Robert Lehmann (6:27.50) and Ben Jongejan of the Netherlands. Not far behind Morrison was Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) in 5th place. Mathieu Giroux (Montréal, QC), who was skating in the first long track World Cup of his career after switching from short track last Fall, was 11th.

Tomorrow, Canadian skaters will be racing the 500m and the 1500m on the men’s side while the ladies will be skating the 500m and 3000m.

For the complete results, click here