Canada to vie against US in Olympic men's speed skating team pursuit final

14:43, February 27, 2010      

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Canada and the United States set up a showdown of the speed skating men's team pursuit final after pre-Games favourites the Netherlands and Japan were out of top two at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games here on Friday.

Canada skated an Olympic record time of 3:42.38 in the quarterfinal and renewed the fresh record in the semifinal to three minutes and 42.22 seconds.

Without any medal from the individual events, the hosts showed team work better, ousted the defending champion Italy in the quarterfinals and beat Norway in the last four.

Canada is to meet the United States in the final on Feb. 27.

With a lineup including two Olympic champions from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the team of Netherlands was disappointed to step out of the final, losing to the United States in the semifinals.

Kramer claimed the gold in the men's 5,000m but was disqualified in the 10,000m for incorrectly lane changing after crossing the finish line first with a big margin.

Together with 1,500m winner Mark Tuitert, Kramer and Jan Blokhuijsen, the Dutch team clocked 3:43.11, namely 0.4 seconds away from the front runner American skaters.

The Dutchmen later admitted misunderstanding caused their failure.

"Most of the times it goes well but we had a mis-communication during the race. The first mistake was when Jan had to give over after the second lap, but he gave over earlier. I think Jan shouted, 'Easy' a few times and I think Mark said, 'Sven go back, push Jan'. This totally was not the strategy," Kramer said.

The Dutchmen will thus face Norway to battle for the bronze while Italy and South Korea to meet for the fifth place, and Japan plays Sweden for the seventh.

In the women's part, Japan, Poland, Germany and the United States will meet in the semifinals to be held on Feb. 27.

The 12-event speed skating competition will conclude on Saturday after the men's and women's team pursuit finals.

Source: Xinhua
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