Cindy a real Klass act

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

Winning the world championship was pretty much a formality but Cindy Klassen did it with a flourish.

Capping off an amazing season, the Winnipeg speed skater won the final two races (1,500 and 5,000m) yesterday at the ISU world allround speed skating championships at the Oval, setting a new allround world record for points as she captured her second title in three years in front of 4,000 fans.

Klassen's point-total record is 154.580 and she became the second straight female skater to win all four championship races after Germany's Anni Friesinger, the defending champion who didn't skate in Calgary, did it last year.

"Every race I put in my best performance and the weekend couldn't have been any better," said a beaming Klassen, who also won five medals at the Olympics and is the best female speed skater on the planet right now.

"It was really special to be racing in front of a home crowd and they were so loud but the Olympics definitely ranks up there as No. 1 but this is a highlight for sure."

Germany's Claudia Pechstein, the model of consistency, finished second for her 11th straight podium, with 158.265 points, while Ottawa's Kristina Groves took third with 158.295, her best showing at a world allround.

"My weekend was awesome and I'm happy. A lot of us knew we were coming in here going for second place," said Groves, who hails from Ottawa.

While the women's event wasn't close, the men's title had been a dogfight between Americans Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick until the 10,000 -- the final race -- when Hedrick was disqualified for skating in the wrong lane after 4,000 metres.

Davis, who hails from Chicago and lives in Calgary, won the championship -- his second in a row, and set a new record for points, 145.74. He also set a world record in the 1,500, finishing in 1:42.68.

Italy's Enrico Fabris finished second (147.216), followed by Sven Kramer (148.107) of the Netherlands, who set a new 10,000 world record of 12:51.60.

Fort St. John, B.C.'s Denny Morrison finished fifth overall -- the best result by a Canadian male since Dustin Molicki of Calgary's fifth place in 2002.

"It really came through to what Shani told me before my 10K. He said 'You know what man? You've got a top-12 finish no matter what. In my first year at a world allround, I was 16th,'" said Morrison, who took bronze in yesterday's 1,500. "So to be fifth in my first year, I didn't really expect it."

Hedrick, who has skated into the wrong lane on a couple of occasions in the past, took the blame squarely on his shoulders.

"This race is my least favourite race because it just gets boring out there and I got bored and wasn't paying attention," said the Texan.


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