Thomas Krol (NED) led an orange armada in the men's 1000m as he seized gold in a track record and his countrymen took three of the next four places on the second day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Minsk, Belarus. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) added to the Netherlands medal haul winning the mass start with a powerful jump, holding off the bunch in the last three laps and maintaining the Dutch men’s dominance in the first event of the 2019/20 series.
Krol takes career first 1000m gold in World Cup
Thomas Krol celebrates victory in the men's 1000m on Day 2 of the World Cup in Minsk © International Skating Union
Hein Otterspeer (NED) was the first to break the 1 minute and 10 seconds barrier in the 1000m, when he stopped the clock at 1:07.14 in the fifth pairing. Heading into the final lap in the sixth pairing, Ning Zhongyan (CHN) had a two-tenths advantage over Otterspeer. The Chinese youngster, who celebrated his 20th birthday a fortnight ago, maintained his pace to finish in 1:09.22, breaking Kjeld Nuis' 2018 track record by 0.01 second.
In the penultimate pairing world champion Kai Verbij (NED) took on Håvard Lorentzen (NOR), but both the Dutchman and the Norwegian were not up to Ning's challenge. Verbij had to settle for fourth place in 1:09.51, while Lorentzen even finished outside the top 10 in 1:10.33.
World record holder Kjeld Nuis (NED) and the second fastest man ever, Thomas Krol (NED), were paired in the final race. Krol was faster from the very beginning. Nuis skated a far from perfect race with a few hiccups in the corners, while Krol finished smoothly in 1:09.00, confidently breaking Ning's fresh track record to take gold. With 1:09.27 Nuis had to settle for bronze behind Ning, who took his career first World Cup medal.
Krol is flanked by Ning Zhongyan of China and his Dutch team-mate Kjeld Nuis, whom he raced in the final pairing © International Skating Union
Powerful jump hands Bergsma mass start gold
Bergsma won the men's mass start in style. The Dutchman seemed to have missed the boat when Peter Michael (NZL) tried to escape the bunch after the first intermediate sprint. Michael stayed clear of the peloton for about six laps, while Bergsma tried to counter-attack twice.
After the final intermediate sprint Michael only had a 50m gap left,when Bergsma attacked for the third time - and this time it was for real. The Dutchman powered away from the bunch on the inside, swerved round Michael on the outside and managed to stay clear even when Bart Swings (BEL) and the Koreans Cheonho Um and Jae-Won Chung accelerated for the final sprint. Chung finished second and Um third.
Jorrit Bergsma wins the mass start to maintain Netherlands' dominance of the top of men's podium in Minsk © International Skating Union
After Patrick Roest's (NED) 5000m gold and the Netherlands men's Team Sprint win on Friday, the Dutch men still have a 100 percent score after four events at the World Cup opener.