Vanessa Herzog (AUT) returns to the 500m A Division, facing nemesis Nao Kodaira (JPN) and classification leader Olga Fatkulina (RUS) in a thrilling ladies' sprint battle at the third leg of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Nur-Sultan. In the long distance, Olympic Champion Esmee Visser (NED) hopes to take her chance in the only ladies' 5000m this World Cup season.
In the men's competition everyone is anxiously waiting for Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS). Will he skate or not? The Russian is on the entry list for Nur-Sultan but may decide to postpone his return from injury a little longer. If he decides to skate, the world record holder will get his first piece of international action this season. In the 1000m and the 1500m Dutch teammates Thomas Krol and Kjeld Nuis resume their battle for the middle distance crown, and Patrick Roest (NED) defends his lead in the long distance classification in the only 10,000m race of this season's World Cup.
Bowe versus Ter Mors
Brittany Bowe (USA) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Action starts with the ladies' 1000m on Friday. Brittany Bowe (USA) leads the ranking after the first and only race of the season yet in Minsk. Jorien ter Mors (NED) is second in the ranking and she'll be eager to beat Bowe after their 1500m race at in Tomaszów Mazowiecki two weeks ago. The Dutch Olympic 1000m champion saw her chances on a good result being blown to pieces, when she had to hold back at the first crossing to give Bowe priority. The American was not able to impress in the 1500m either, finishing sixth in Poland. In Nur-Sultan she not only defends her top rank in the 1000m ISU World Cup Speed Skating, she also has to live up to her status as track record holder (1.14,10).
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 1000m Ladies
Question mark Kulizhnikov
Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) at the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships (NED) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The men will line up for the third 500m race of this ISU World Cup Speed Skating season, with Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) and Jun-Ho Kim (KOR) on top of the field, both having won one race. The big question will be whether and if so, how strong Pavel Kulizhnikov will return. Dai Dai Ntab (NED) and Ruslan Murashov (RUS) share the track record with 34,52.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 500m Men
Olympic champion wants to make amends
Esmee Visser (NED) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (NED) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Esmee Visser had a disappointing start to the season coming ninth and fifth in the first two 3000m races of the season. The Olympic Champion hopes to excel in her favorite 5000m, but Martina Sáblíková (CZE) will not give way easily. The world record holder showed resilience two weeks ago, when she won the 3000m in Tomaszów Mazowiecki after she had been bothered by stomach problems at the first ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Minsk. Canada's Isabelle Weidemann won in Belarus, but Carlijn Achtereekte (NED) leads the ISU World Cup Speed Skating ranking after having come second twice. The Olympic 3000m champion will not skate in Nur-Sultan, however.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings long distance Ladies
Line-up changes could shake up Team Sprint
Thomas Krol (NED) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The first day in Nur-Sultan concludes with the Team Sprint. In the men's event, the Netherlands have dominated the first two races in different line-ups. Thomas Krol (NED) joined starting skater Ronald Mulder and Kjeld Nuis, for the final lap in Poland, instead of Kai Verbij, who had taken second lap duty with Nuis as third man in Minsk. It will be interesting to see which skaters national coach Jan Coopmans will send to the start in Kazakhstan.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings Team Sprint Men
The Dutch ladies also changed their line-up for the second World Cup, after having seized gold in Belarus. Coopmans sent Michelle de Jong and Jutta Leerdam on the ice, with Sanneke de Neeling (NED) instead of Letitia de Jong (NED) as third skater. This line-up had to settle for silver behind Russia, who successfully replaced Irina Kuznetsova (RUS) for Daria Kachanova (RUS).
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings Team Sprint Ladies
Herzog back where she belongs
Vanessa Herzog (AUT) at the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships (NED) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Vanesse Herzog (AUT) is back where she belongs in the first race in Nur-Sultan on Saturday. After having been relegated to the B Division due to a disqualification for two false starts in Minsk, the 500m ISU World Speed Skating champion got her A Division ticket back when she won the second tier in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. Herzog will not only face Nao Kodaira (JPN), but Olga Fatkulina (RUS) as well. After a couple of difficult years, the 2013 1000m ISU World Speed Skating Champion is back on top, after having won her first individual ISU World Cup Speed Skating race since 2014 three weeks ago in Minsk.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 500m Ladies
Kulizhnikov could add suspense to 1000m
Thomas Krol (NED) won the first and only 1000m ISU World Cup Speed Skating this season yet, with Ning Zhongyan (CHN) coming second and Kjeld Nuis (NED) third. They could also face Pavel Kulizhnikov for the first time this season to make up for even more suspense in a competition that was already very tight.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 1000m Men
Yuskov back for 25 laps
Denis Yuskov (RUS) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Patrick Roest (NED) has won the first two 5000m races of the season confidently, with Jorrit Bergsma (NED) and Danila Semerikov (RUS) both taking one silver medal. Bergsma is more of a 10,000m specialist, but Roest has already proven that he can handle 25 laps too, when he won the Dutch World Cup trials in a track record in Heerenveen in October. Denis Yuskov (RUS), who switched focus from the 1000m and the 1500m, to a more endurance-based program with the 1500m and the 5000m as prime targets, will skate his first international 10,000m in years. He took two bronzes in the 5000m this season. Will he be able to produce in the double distance too?
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings long distance Men
Wüst defends top spot in 1500m
Ireen Wüst (NED) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The Nur-Sultan ISU World Cup Speed Skating concludes on Sunday with the 1500m and the Team Pursuit for both men and ladies. Ireen Wüst (NED) won the first two 1500m races in the ladies' field, with Yekaterina Shikhova (RUS) and Miho Takagi (JPN) both taking one silver medal. Takagi, who seized her first ISU World Cup Speed Skating golds at the Alau Ice Center in 2016, will not be present this time around. With Shikhova, Bowe and Ter Mors, there will still be more than enough competition for Wüst in Nur-Sultan, however.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 1500m Ladies
Nuis and Krol cross swords again
Kjeld Nuis (NED) at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The men's 1500m is another battle ground for team mates Thomas Krol and Kjeld Nuis (NED), with Nuis having won the firs, and Krol the second race this season. Denis Yuskov holds the track record and the Russian has already shown that his return to a more endurance-based training approach did not hamper his speed in the 1500m, having won a silver and a bronze this season already.
Team Pursuit tactics
Team Pursuit Japan Ladies Team at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
In the concluding Team Pursuit events everything depends on the line-ups. Two weeks ago Japan lost for the first time In the ladies' field after a ten-race winning streak. Coach Johan de Wit (NED) explained that they were not able to field their strongest line-up because Ayano Sato (JPN) alongside Miho and Nana Takagi, was not in shape. Both the Takagi sisters and Sato will be absent in Nur-Sultan, so there might be another chance for Russia or the Netherlands, who are first and second after the first race.
The Netherlands dominated the first men's Team Pursuit of the season with a new tactics of changing turns in front every lap instead of every 600m. The Dutch will have to cope without the experience of veteran skater Douwe de Vries (NED), who won his tenth ISU World Cup Speed Skating team Pursuit gold in Poland two weeks ago.
Team Pursuit Netherlands Men at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating (POL) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Where to Watch
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