Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) clinched his first career World Cup victory in the Men's 500m at the Tomakomai Highland Sports Center on Friday, while Netherlands made a successful change in their Team Pursuit line-up to take gold.
Replacement pays off for Netherlands
Once the men started their Team Pursuit competition, dusk had set in and a bit of snow made the Tomakomai Highland Sports Center look like the perfect winter wonder land. After an extra ice cleaning break halfway through the competition, Olympic Champions Norway were eying revenge for last week's defeat at the hands of Russia and the Netherlands. Håvard Bøkko, Sverre Lunde Pedersen and Simen Spieler Nilsen edged out Japan by 0.05 seconds when they stopped the clock at 3:4712 in the penultimate pairing.
Last week's gold and silver medalists, Russia and the Netherlands, met each other in the final pairing. The Dutch had replaced youngster Chris Huizinga by the also still only 22-year-old World Allround Champion Patrick Roest. The replacement payed off. With Roest as their main engine, Marcel Bosker and Douwe de Vries set faster split times than Norway and Japan throughout the race to take gold in 3:45.87. Russia also skated faster than Norway for most of the race, but had to bow their heads in the final two laps. They eventually had to settle for fourth place behind Norway and Japan.
Netherlands clinch gold in Tomakomai ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Maiden win for Shinhama
After taking his first World Cup medal coming third in last week's first 500m Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) clinched his maiden World Cup victory. The 22-year-old sprinter beat pair-mate Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) in the third last pairing and finished in 35.45. With 25.6 he skated the fastest full lap of the field. Kulizhnikov already lost time in the first 100m and eventually finished in 35.80 to end up sixth.
Behind Shinhama his compatriot Yuma Murakami took silver in 35.53, while World Champion Jan Smeekens (NED) grabbed the bronze medal in 35.58. Despite ending up sixth Kulizhnikov held on to the World Cup lead with 152 points. Shinhama is second with 144 points and Håvard Lorentzen (NOR) is third with 138 points. The Norwegian Olympic Champion clocked 35.95 and only came eleventh in the very competitive men's 500m field in Tomakomai.
Shinhama takes maiden win in Tomakomai ©International Skating Union (ISU)