World champion Brittany Bowe (USA) confidently beat Olympic champion Jorien ter Mors (NED) in the Ladies' 1000m on the third day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Minsk on Sunday. In the Mass Start Ivanie Blondin (CAN) defeated arch rival Irene Schouten (NED) with a powerful sprint on the final straight.
Bowe seals win with fast final lap
Brittany Bowe (USA) on her way to the gold medal in the Ladies' 1000m in Minsk on Sunday © International Skating Union
Ter Mors, who missed last season with a knee injury, had an early start in the fourth of 10 pairings in the Ladies' 1000m. She skated the fastest first full lap of the field in 27.51 seconds, but was not able to maintain her pace in the final lap (30.23) and finished in 1:15.95. Despite the decay in the final lap, Ter Mors' time was still the one to beat when Bowe and Miho Takagi (JPN) set off in the penultimate pairing.
In a reprise of Saturday's 1500m race, Bowe defeated Takagi once more, this time to take the gold medal instead of the bronze a day before. The American 1000m world champion was 0.03 seconds slower than Ter Mors at the 600m split, but skated the fastest final lap of the field in 29.61 to finish in 1:15.35, shaving 0.47 off the 2018 track record of Marrit Leenstra (NED). Takagi clocked a disappointing 1:16.62 to end up ninth.
Yekaterina Shikhova (RUS) had already skated 1:15.96 in the eighth pairing, which turned out to be enough for the bronze medal. Ireen Wüst (NED) and Olga Fatkulina (RUS) did not challenge the podium in the final pair, finishing seventh and 11th respectively.
Ladies' 1000m medalists, from left, Jorien ter Mors (NED), Brittany Bowe (USA) and Yekaterina Shikhova (RUS) © International Skating Union
Blondin catches prey on final straight
In the Ladies' Mass Start Tatyana Mikhailova (BLR) pleased the home crowd with an early attack. The 22-year-old Belarusian was followed by 21-year-old Noemi Bonazza (ITA) and the Italian youngster pulled through. But after a few laps together, Mikhailova couldn't keep up with Bonazza, who eventually also had to bow her head, when Melissa Wijfje (NED) started chasing in front of the bunch mindful of Schouten's chances in a final sprint.
Shortly after Bonazza was caught, Schouten took the lead heading into the final lap in first position. Blondin had to dig deep in pursuit but, once she had caught up with the world champion, the Canadian settled in behind her back for half a lap, before emphatically crushing her prey on the final straight. Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) finished third.
Ivanie Blondin of Canada celebrates her victory in the Ladies' Mass Start in Minsk ©International Skating Union
Blondin’s win made amends for coming second behind Schouten in last year's World Single Distance Championships. Her gold medal was Canada's second of the World Cup weekend after Isabelle Weidemann's 3000m victory on Friday.