Hedrick sets world record in World Cup victory

Chad Hedrick broke the world record in the men's 1,500 meters, finishing in 1 minute, 42.78 seconds in a speedskating World Cup at the Utah Olympic Oval on Friday.

Hedrick, who also set the world mark in the 5,000 on Sunday in Calgary, eclipsed the previous record of 1:43.33 set by U.S. teammate Shani Davis this year.

Davis ended up in second place, finishing in 1:43.41 _ only .08 from his previous best. Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands was third at 1:43.51

Friday's race marked the first time Hedrick has beaten Davis in the 1,500.

"I've changed my program, and everyone has changed their program, to be their best," Hedrick said. "This is what they're skating for _ an Olympic gold medal."

Hedrick appears to be an early contender for gold in several events in the upcoming Turin Winter Olympics, but remains cautious concerning his chances.

"I wouldn't say I'm the favorite. I've had a good couple weeks here, but I'm still in the middle of my training," Hedrick said. "You'll see the real Chad Hedrick in February."

In other events, Cindy Klassen won the women's 3,000 for the second consecutive weekend, finishing in 3:56.90. Klassen set the world record of 3:55.75 last Saturday at Calgary.

Fellow Canadians Clara Hughes and Kristina Groves claimed second and third after finishing in 3:59.06 and 3:59.77, respectively.

Germany's Anni Friesinger finished in 1:13.95 to win the women's 1,000. Friesinger edged out U.S. skater Jennifer Rodriguez, who finished in 1:14.24.

Rodriguez, a bronze medalist in the 1,000 and 1,500 events at the 2002 Winter Olympics, also placed third in the 500 after finishing in 37.87.

Beixing Wang claimed the top spot in the women's 500, and set the Chinese national record in the process, after finishing in 37.52. She squeaked past Manli Wang, also from China, who finished second in 37.53, AP reported. V.A.

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