Belarussian Vitaly Mikhailov won his first career World Cup gold with a sensational solo in the Men's mass start, while the Dutch men swept the 1500m podium and Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) clinched his second 500m win.
Shinhama takes 500m double
Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) struck again in the Men's 500m. After he took his maiden World Cup win in track record time in Friday's 500m, the 22-year-old sprinter crushed the track record once more on the Tomakomai Highland Sports Center on Saturday. With 35.20 seconds, he was 0.24 seconds faster than Viktor Mushtakov (RUS), who took silver. The 21-year-old Russian was 0.33 faster than he had been on Friday, when he ended up fifth. Mushtakov's older team mate and tutor Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) pulled out for Saturday's race after a disappointing sixth place on Friday.
Yuma Murakami (JPN) clinched Saturday's bronze after his silver medal in the first 500m run in Tomakomai. He equaled his Friday time of 35.53 to keep Dutchman Kai Verbij (35.63) and Jan Smeekens (35.66) off the podium.
Shinhama pushed Kulizhnikov off the top in the World Cup ranking. With 204 points he has a 30 point lead over Håvard Lorentzen (NOR). The Olympic Champion came seventh in 35.74 on Saturday. Ryohei Haga (JPN), who finished eighth, is in third place with 154 points.
Shinhama and Murakami celbrate in Tomakomai ©Internationall Skating Union (ISU)
Dutch podium sweep
Last week's 1500m winner Denis Yuskov (RUS) was absent in Tomakomai and the Dutch men took full advantage. Kjeld Nuis, Patrick Roest and Thomas Krol swept the podium, with Japan's Seitaro Ichinohe (JPN) leading the rest of the field in fourth place.
Nuis on his way to 1500m gold in Tomakomai ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Nuis took on team mate and Roest in the second last pair. The set-up was clear. The Olympic 1500m Champion would start fast and hang in, while the World Allround Champion was going to pace his race with a moderate start to accelerate towards the end. With 24.26 Nuis did start fast, but Roest was only 0.25 behind. It gave Nuis the perfect opportunity to draft behind Roest's back at the first cross-over, and he was 0.8 seconds faster in the lap. Nuis took another 0.2 seconds in the penultimate lap and although Roest did make up time with a 28.8 final lap versus 29.5 for Nuis, the race was already over. Nuis was the only one to skate under 1:48 with 1:47.61. Roest stopped the clock at 1:48.20.
Thomas Krol took the ice in the final pair. He managed to start faster than Nuis, but he was slower throughout the rest of the race and despite still being faster the Roest at the 1100m split, he eventually had to settle for bronze behind his two team mates.
After two races Nuis, Roest and Krol are also on top of the 1500m World Cup ranking in the exact same order. Ichinohe is fourth and Yuskov dropped back to 11th place.
Mikhailov on the podium with Um and Swings ©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)
Mikhailov sees attack rewarded in Mass Start
Vitaly Mikhailov (BLR) surprised everyone to take his first World Cup in the Mass Start gold. Together with compatriot Aleksei Kirpichnik the 32-year-old Belarussian set up a surprise attack straight from the start. Kirpichnik was the first to jump. After the first intermediate sprint he waited for Mikhailov, who was a little behind and the two cooperated until Kirpichnik had to give way.
The riders in the bunch hesitated and no one wanted to waste energy in the chase, resulting in a gradually increasing gap for the sole leader. With three laps to go, Mikhailov still had a 300m advantage over the bunch and he managed to stay well ahead until the end.
Cheonho Um (KOR) beat Bart Swings (BEL) in the silver medal sprint to take the lead in the World Cup rankings. Swings is second and Livio Wenger (SUI) third.