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Heather Richardson clinches women's overall speedskating World Cup title at season's end

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ERFURT, Germany — Heather Richardson clinched the women's overall speedskating World Cup title at the last meet of the season Sunday, when individual distance titles were spread among a host of skaters.

Richardson's fourth-place finish in the mass start — the last race of the season — left the American with a total of 1,195 points in the overall standings, 99 more than Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, who won the race in 9 minutes, 1.76 seconds. Brittany Bowe of the United States was third overall.

The mass start title went to Canada's Ivanie Blondin, who placed eighth and finished with 466 points, ahead of Dutch skater Irene Schouten on 432 after finishing 16th.

World champion Sablikova earlier clinched the 3,000-meter title, clocking 4 minutes, 4.06 seconds in the race to edge Dutch skaters Marije Joling and Diane Valkenburg by 1.58 and 3.79 seconds, respectively.

Sablikova finished with 580 points, ahead of Germany's Claudia Pechstein on 360 and Dutch skater Ireen Wust on 350. The 43-year-old Pechstein was fourth in the race. Wust didn't compete at Erfurt.

Nao Kodaira came third in the second 500 of the weekend which was enough for the Japanese skater to win that distance title with Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea not competing.

Richardson won the race ahead of compatriot Bowe for the second day in a row, finishing in 37.97 seconds to edge Bowe by two tenths of a second and Kodaira by 0.72.

Kodaira finished the 500 World Cup with 926 points, beating Lee by 46 and Richardson by 216.

PHOTO: Winner Martina Sablikova of Czech Republic competes during the womens  3,000 meters distance at the Speed Skating World Cup in Erfurt, Germany, Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Winner Martina Sablikova of Czech Republic competes during the womens 3,000 meters distance at the Speed Skating World Cup in Erfurt, Germany, Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Bowe later pipped Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands to the 1,000 title by just three points.

Leenstra had been leading the standings going into the final race, but Bowe led another American 1-2, clocking 1:14.61 to beat Richardson by 0.52 and Leenstra by 1.17.

Bowe's first place earned her 150 points for a total of 510. Leenstra earned 106 points and finished with 507.

Ruslan Murashov of Russia won the second men's 500 of the weekend, clocking 34.97 to edge both Laurent Dubreuil of Canada and Michel Mulder of the Netherlands by 0.13.

Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia didn't race after claiming the distance and overall World Cup titles on Saturday.

Denny Morrison of Canada beat Sverre Lunde Pedersen in the men's 1,500 by 0.36 to claim the title from the Norwegian by four points.

Morrison finished with 409 points, ahead of Pedersen on 405.

Bart Swings of Belgium was third in the race, 0.66 off the pace.

Swings later won the men's mass start in 8:10.29, edging Dutch skater Jorrit Bergsma by two hundredths of a second and Pedersen by 1.14.

Lee Seung-hoon was already assured of the title and the South Korean skipped the race.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Winners of the Grand World Cup of the season  Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia , left, and Heather Richardson of the US celebrate  with their trophies at the Speedskating World Cup final  in Erfurt, Germany, Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
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