Klassen books spots on World Cup team

Cindy Klassen continues to impress in her return to competitive speedskating after she earned two more spots on Canada’s World Cup team Monday. The Winnipeg native finished third in both the 1,000- and 3,000-metre races at the World Cup selection trials. Klassen gained a spot in the 1,500 on Sunday.

Canadian speedskater Cindy Klassen

RICHMOND, B.C. — Cindy Klassen continues to impress in her return to competitive speedskating after she earned two more spots on Canada’s World Cup team Monday.

The Winnipeg native finished third in both the 1,000- and 3,000-metre races at the World Cup selection trials. Klassen gained a spot in the 1,500 on Sunday.

“It’s just exciting to be racing again,” said Klassen, who missed all of last season after undergoing surgery on both knees. “I’m so grateful to be out here competing again competing with these girls. It’s been a good competition. I haven’t done two races in the same day in a long time.”

Kristina Groves of Ottawa won the 1,000 in a time of one minute 17.23 seconds, followed by Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler at 1:17.74 and Klassen at 1:18.86.

“This is always a tough race for me because the opening is my weak spot and I get kind of frustrated with it,” said Groves. “But it was a bit better (Monday) and we haven’t done a lot of speed work so that always comes a bit later in the year for me. So it’s a good start.”

Clara Hughes of Winnipeg won the 5,000 with a time of 4:12.16, ahead of Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., at 4:15.65 and Klassen at 4:15.90.

“I’ve been struggling with technique this year after having a fantastic spring and summer training,” said Hughes. “I feel fit and stronger than ever but I have not been able to put it into my skating … but it’s slowly coming and I’m really happy with that.”

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., recorded his second win of the competition, winning the men’s 1,500 with a time of 1:46.39. Morrison won the 1,000 on Sunday.

Two skaters booked spots on the Canadian World Cup team for the first time. Mathieu Giroux of Montreal and Mykola Makowsky of Regina finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 1,500, earning the final two available spots.

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