Patrick Roest (NED) started the ISU World Cup speed skating season with a track record to win the 5000m in Minsk on Friday. The World Allround Champion beat Jorrit Bergsma (NED) and Denis Yuskov (RUS) to top the podum. The previous track record holder, Sven Kramer (NED), did not make the World Cup 5000m top 10 for the first time in his career. The Dutch also ruled in the Team Sprint, taking gold ahead of China and Canada.
Roest crushes Kramer's track record
Gold medalist Patrick Roest celebrates with Dutch team-mate Jorrit Bergsma, left, and Russia's Denis Yuskov © International Skating Union
Roest had already shown early season form with a track record at the Dutch trials and he lived up to the expectations in the Minsk 5000m. Skating in the penultimate pair versus team-mate Kramer, Roest blasted away with five laps below 30-seconds. Kramer did not even try to keep up.
Roest finished in 6 minutes and 16.61 seconds, beating Kramer's 2016 track record by almost three seconds. Kramer crossed the line in a disappointing 6:28.53 to end up 13th.
Yuskov was the surprise of the day. The Russian, who targeted the 1000m and the 1500m in the past seasons, shifted his attention back to Allround Speed Skating last summer. He lost a lot of muscle weight and the renewed version of Yuskov was able to compete for the long distance podium spots in Minsk. With 6:22.54 he took bronze just 0.25 seconds behind silver medallist Bergsma.
World 5000m champion Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) had a disappointing start to the season. After his preparations were hampered by a bike crash in Inzell in September, he managed to be back on the ice in time for the World Cup openers, but he still is far from championship form. With 6:30.00 Pedersen finished 14th, just behind Kramer.
Dutch beat surprise Chinese
Netherlands' sprint gold medal trio of Ronald Mulder, Kai Verbij and Kjeld Nuis with silver medalists China, left, and Canada, who took bronze © International Skating Union
China's best results last season were two fourth places, but motivated by the 2022 Winter Olympics their men are on the way up. Canada also finished close in Minsk, taking the bronze in 1:21.68.