Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen claimed silver in the men's 10,000 metres to open the world single distance championship in Russia on Thursday. 

The world record holder from Calgary finished in 12 minutes, 59.69 seconds, which was nearly three seconds behind Dutch skater Sven Kramer.

"I was fighting against fatigue and my lap times," Bloemen said. "But I was really happy when I saw my time at the finish line."

Bronze went to a second Dutch skater, Erik Jan Kooiman, who was 5.38 seconds off Kramer's time.

Bloemen spent almost two months away from competition because of a leg injury. He returned to action two weeks ago and won a bronze medal in the 5,000m in Stavanger, Norway.

"I was able to push hard until the end and [the injury] didn't bother me," Bloemen said.

"I think indirectly, it affected me a little bit because I didn't prepare for the race the way I wanted to. I had to put all my energy into healing from the wound. I think that's why it was a little bit harder to find my race rhythm today."

His teammate Jordan Belchos, of Toronto, finished just off the podium in fifth with a time of 13:10.99. It was his best finish ever at a senior international competition. His previous best had been ninth place on the World Cup circuit and 11th place at the world single distance championships.

The championships continue Thursday with the women's 3,000m.

With files from The Associated Press and Speed Skating Canada