U.S. trio sets unofficial world team pursuit record

, Last Updated: 2:51 PM ET

p> HAMAR, Norway (AP) -- KC Boutiette, Chad Hedrick and Derek Parra of the United States set an unofficial world record in the team pursuit Saturday at the World Cup speedskating season opener.

Skating on the Viking Ship oval built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, the American trio covered the eight laps in 3 minutes, 48.56 seconds. The team pursuit is on the World Cup schedule for the first time this season although it already is on the Olympic and world championship program.

The record is to be ratified by international skating authorities at the end of the season.

The Americans easily beat a Dutch team in their heat. Italy, with Matteo Anesi, Stefano Donagrandi and Enrico Fabris, was a distant runner-up in 3:51.20.

For Hedrick, a former inline champion who switched to the ice only two years ago, it was the second record in the Viking Ship. In February, the Texan broke the men's world overall points record and led the United States to its first 1-2 finish at the World Allround Championships.

Mark Tuitert led a Dutch 1-2-3 finish in the men's 1,500, finishing in 1:46.88. Erben Wennemars was second (1:47.17) and Beorn Nijenhuis third (1:47.46.) Hedrick finished fourth (1:48.09).

Kristina Groves led a Canadian double in the women's 3,000. She finished the longest women's World Cup event in 4:06.77. Clara Hughes was runner-up in 4:07.06 and Gretha Smit of the Netherlands was third in 4:07.92.

Cindy Klassen, another Canadian, won her race in 4:07.28 in her comeback. Klassen, the 2003 world allround champion, missed last season after injuring her arm during training.


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