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Friesinger, Postma lead world speed skating

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Posted: Saturday February 10, 2001 6:11 PM

  Ids Postma Ids Postma skates to a third place finish in the 500 meter competition. AP

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -- Dutchman Ids Postma and German Anna Friesinger led after the opening day of the world speed skating championships on Saturday.

European champion Friesinger won the first race of the day, the women's 500 meters, in 39.99 seconds ahead of American Jennifer Rodriguez and Canada's Cindy Klassen.

German Christian Breuer was the surprise winner of the men's 500 meters. Japan's Takahiro Ushijama was second with twice world champion Postma third.

Because of unusually warm weather at Vajdahunyad Castle the organizers decided to move the two afternoon races to the evening.

Seven-time world champion Gunde Nieman-Stiernemann was disqualified in the women's 3,000 meters for missing a change, allowing Renate Groenewold of the Netherlands to win the race. Germany's Claudia Pechstein was second.

Freisinger's third place was enough to secure top place in the women's standings after the two events.

"Due to the wind conditions I tried to skate on the right side of the track and I simply forgot to change. I am extremely disappointed," said Nieman-Stiernemann.

Dutchman Bart Veldkamp won the men's 5,000 meters while Postma secured his lead in the men's standings by coming second. Germany's Frank Dittrich was third.

The championships end on Sunday with the men's and women's 1,500 meters, the women's 5,000 and men's 10,000 races.

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