Sven Kramer (NED) beat Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) in the final pairing of the 5000m to clinch gold at his home World Cup in Heerenveen on Sunday. Dutch-born Canadian Bloemen had to settle for silver and Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) took the bronze medal.
Bloemen said he could not remember any previous head-to-head race versus Kramer in a World Cup, but he would not be forgetting this experience any time soon.
“I finally got to see that famous Sven Kramer acceleration in the final four laps. It’s good to learn how to deal with that. Unfortunately I was not able to keep up,” he said.
At 3400 metres Kramer accelerated with a 28.9 lap after he had skated 29.9 in the three previous laps. Bloemen clocked 29.6 at 3400m and could not close the gap after that. In the final lap Kramer again skated sub-29 to finish in 6 minutes 12.88 seconds, 2.07 seconds ahead of Bloemen.
“It was a good race,” said a satisfied Kramer, 31. “We were level with four laps to go and then I got a sign that I was a second above schedule so I was able to shift gear.”
The Dutchman only skated one distance at this first event of the 2017/18 World Cup because he had been feeling unwell. “It’s not too bad, it was more of a precaution to skip the Friday and Saturday races,” he said.
Pedersen, who clocked 6:15.81, gave credit to the Norwegian team for his bronze medal. “I feel really well. We have a very good team and it’s good to have Håvard Bøkko (NOR) back. He has really raised our level,” he said.
Bøkko took a break from speed skating last season but is back on the ice after overcoming a knee problems in the summer. He finished second in the B Group with 6:18.35.