Russia dominated the men's competition on the second day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. Pavel Kulizhnikov, who won the 500m and the 1000m on Friday, skated yet another track record to win the 500m, while Denis Yuskov took gold in the 1500m.
Reborn Kulizhnikov continues fine form
Kulizhnikov has won three 500m races and two 1000m races in three World Cup events © International Skating Union (ISU)
After struggling with injuries last year, Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) is back to his best this season. Winning the 500m in 34.67 seconds, the World Record holder was 0.16 seconds faster than he had been on Friday. Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) took the silver medal in 34.87 and his compatriot Yuma Murakami (JPN) came third in 34.95. Friday's silver medalist Ryohei Haga (JPN) was 0.25 slower and had to settle for fourth place in 35.23.
Shinhama retained his top position in the 500m World Cup ranking with 296 points, but second-placed Kulizhnikov is closing in with 272 points. Håvard Lorentzen (NOR), who finished sixth in 35.26 on Saturday, is third with 260 points.
Kulizhnikov struggled with injuries last year but appears revitalized following knee surgery over the summer. He has won three 500m races and two 1000m races in three World Cup events.
"I'm feeling very well since the start of the season,” he said. “I was very motivated because we were not at the Olympics last year. Now I'm back to the plan I had since I was 15-16 years old.
"I missed being in first place, but everything is fine now. I feel even better than I did before."
Yuskov back in contention in 1500m World Cup
Yuskov climbed to joint second place in the 1500m World Cup ranking © International Skating Union (ISU)
Russia’s Denis Yuskov sped to victory in the 1500m, having skipped the 1500m World Cup outdoor race in Tomakomai, Japan two weeks ago.
"I don't like skating on outdoor ovals," he said. “We have indoor rinks and I think outdoor is something of the past. I had already planned a training camp during this World Cup."
Yuskov beat Konrad Niedźwiedzki's (POL) track record (1:48.11) by 1.33 seconds when he stopped the clock at 1:46.78. Seitaro Ichinohe (JPN) came second in 1:47.38 and Min-Seok Kim (KOR) took the bronze medal in 1:47.85.
Ichinohe took the lead in the 1500m World Cup rankings with 137 points, in the absence of Dutchmen Kjeld Nuis, Patrick Roest and Thomas Krol, who were in first, second and third place after the first two World Cup events.
Yuskov climbed to joint second place with Kim on 120 points. The Russian is now looking forward to competing with the Dutchmen in Heerenveen next week.
"It's not an easy fight in the 1500m World Cup this season. The new points system keeps everyone closer together in the rankings. Now that the Dutchmen were absent this weekend, it's going to be an exciting season. My main goal will be the 1500m at the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, but the 1500m World Cup is another big goal."