Sports

Canadian women skate to World Cup titles

The Canadian women's team pursuit grabbed the gold medal at a long-track speedskating World Cup event Sunday, clinching the season title, while Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., won the season title in the 1,000 metres despite finishing seventh in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

The Canadian women's team pursuit grabbed the gold medal at a long-track speedskating World Cup event Sunday, clinching the overall season title.

Meanwhile, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., won the season title in the 1,000 metres despite finishing seventh in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

Yekaterina Shikhova of Russia took the race in one minute 16.25 seconds, beating Dutch speedskaters Annette Gerritsen and Natasja Bruintjes.

Canada's men's team pursuit also picked up a medal Sunday, finishing second behind Norway and ahead of the United States.

The women's pursuit team of Ottawa's Kristina Groves and Winnipeg's Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen edged Germany with a time of 3:02.05 seconds to top the podium.

Schussler says winning the World Cup title takes a little of the sting out of the team's disappointing finish at the recent Vancouver Olympics, but not much.

"It was a bit of revenge today," said Schussler. "But winning the overall World Cup title is not winning the Olympics, it's not filling a void. Obviously, our goal was to win at the Olympics, but that clearly did not happen."

Fill-in for Nesbitt

Klassen, the veteran Olympian who did not skate in team pursuit in Vancouver, came in at the last minute to fill in for Nesbitt. She says she relied heavily on her teammates to push through for the win.

"I was hurting and Brit had to push me quite a bit during the race," said Klassen. "It ended up being good enough, so I was happy about that.

"They were there backing me up the whole way, so that helped a lot."

Germany and Japan took silver and bronze, respectively.

The Canadian men took silver with a time of 3:44.30, just 1.53 seconds behind Norway. Canada is third in the overall World Cup rankings with 306 points. Norway is first (380), followed by the Netherlands (350).

"It was nice to finish top-3 because it was only the top-4 countries skating the final," said Regina's Lucas Makowsky, who combined with Fort St. John, B.C., native Denny Morrison and Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., in the event.

"It wasn't too much pressure, but we definitely wanted to stay top-3."

Shani Davis edged the Netherlands pair of Stefan Groothuis and Mark Tuitert to complete the season with another win in the 1,000.

The American, who clinched the overall World Cup title in the same race last week in Germany, captured gold in 1:08.89 seconds. The Olympic champion also clinched the overall season crown in the 1,500 two days earlier.

Morrison finished fifth in the 1,000-metre standings.

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