Stavanger / Norway

Sven Kramer (NED) won the first and only 10000m race of the season before the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in an epic battle with world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Stavanger on Sunday. Erik-Jan Kooiman (NED) grabbed the bronze medal.

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Just as in last week’s 5000m in Heerenveen, Kramer faced Bloemen in the final pairing, and the Dutchman managed to beat Bloemen on that occasion with an acceleration in the final laps. It did not stop the Canadian from starting fast in this week’s 10000m, however, as Bloemen took an early lead over Kramer.

“I had not expected that, but you have to be prepared for everything,” Kramer said.

“I do understand why he did that. He wants me to make the quick effort to bridge that gap to force myself too much too early. But I’m experienced and he is too.

“We’re both too good for that, so I kept him in sight without forcing too much. We keep a look at each other’s lap times and then it all comes down to the final eight laps.”

In those final eight laps, Kramer managed to bridge the gap and overhaul Bloemen.

With two laps to go, Kramer was still a little behind, but Bloemen was not able to counter Kramer’s 30.3 seconds and 29.5s in the final 800m.

Kramer posted 12:50.97 for a track record and Bloemen stopped the clock at 12:52.64. Kooiman finished in 12:57.13.

Despite having to bow his head for Kramer again, Bloemen did not regret his tactics:

“When I skate to the best of my abilities, I have the best chance to win. I just try to skate as fast as I can every time out there and then we’ll see where that gets me.”

Despite his two silver World Cup medals this season, Bloemen aims at Olympic gold in February.

“I keep up the good work and if I’m able to skate my best race at the Olympics, I certainly could win a gold medal.”

Full results and classifications here