[AP Photo] 4 Dec. 2011 – Heerenveen, NETHERLANDS 

As he did in Kazhakstan a week earlier, Shani Davis won the skirmish but not the battle. 

In the final pairing of the third World Cup 1500m event here, Davis out-skated the World Cup points leader, The Netherlands’ Stefan Groothuis, in a thrilling duel of middle-distance giants.

Using his trademark strong finish – part fitness, part determination – Shani overcame a 1100m deficit to win the day’s featured race in 1:47.01. But that good outcome didn’t translate to the result Shani wanted on the leader-board: the two-time Olympic 1500m Sliver Medalist placed 7th on the day.

Shani (180 points) remains in the hunt for the overall 1500m World Cup standings, now lead by Ivan Skobrev of Russia (202 points), who won in Heerenveen (1:45.81).

Said the defending World Cup 1500m champion: “It was a tough race. I gave it everything I had but it wasn’t enough on the scoreboard. But I’m happy for Ivan, too. He’s a good man and he skated great today.”

Shani also finished 7th in Sunday’s 1000m contest. “The positive is that the season is still young. If I continue making progress and trust that the hard work has already been done, I’ll find myself where I want to be later in the season for the [ISU] Championships.”

Having concluded the Fall World Cup series, Shani heads back to home sweet home Chicago for some rest and refinement in preparation for the U.S. Championships Dec. 13-18 in Milwaukee.

[AP Photo]