March 23, 2012

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (AP) -- World sprint champion Stefan Groothuis won the 1,000-meter title at the speedskating single distance world championships Friday, finishing ahead of Dutch teammate Kjeld Nuis and two-time Olympic 1,000 champ Shani Davis of the U.S.

Another Dutchman, Sven Kramer, won the 5,000 to cap season in which he returned from a year off because of a right thigh injury with his fourth world title over the distance.

"I could not have hoped for more than this," Kramer said. "The European and world all-round titles and now this. It's a fantastic end to the season."

Kramer won in 6:13.87. Countryman Bob de Jong took the silver ahead of Jonathan Kuck of the U.S.

Christine Nesbitt won the women's 1,500, completing a Canadian sweep of the distance after Denny Morrison won the men's 1,500 on Thursday. Groothuis finished in 1 minute, 8.57 seconds, punched the air and then hugged Nuis, who was second in 1:08.79.

Davis, who was seeking his fourth world title over the distance, finished in 1:08.83.

The gold medal capped a breakthrough season for 30-year-old Groothuis, who won his first world title at the sprint all-rounds in Calgary this year.

"I've been skating for 10 years and this year I win two world titles, it's amazing," Groothuis said.

Nuis started the faster of the two in tough conditions at Thialf Oval, but Groothuis passed him with a blistering 25-second second lap and held on.

Nesbitt completed the 1,500 in 1:56.07, well ahead of defending champion Ireen Wust, who was second in 1:56.40. Wust's Netherlands teammate Linda de Vries was third in 1:57.08.

"It started very fast, but that was my plan," Nesbitt said. "I was struggling to remember how to race the 1,500."

Nesbitt is aiming for a second gold Saturday in the 1,000, a distance she has dominated this season.

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