Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan


Ivanie Blondin (CAN) surprised even herself with the first 5000m World Cup victory of her career on Day 1 of the third leg of ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Nur-Sultan on Friday. Brittany Bowe (USA) took another 1000m win and the Dutch ladies regained their winning ways in the Team Sprint.

Bowe strengthens lead with second win

"Really good," was the first thing Brittany Bowe (USA) said about her 1000m race. The world champion confidently clinched her second World Cup gold medal of the season in her favorite distance. With a time of one minute and 14.28 seconds, she fell just 0.18 seconds short of her own 2015 track record at the Alau Ice Palace.

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Brittany Bowe (USA) en route to her second 1000m victory of the World Cup season in Nur-Sultan 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Bowe was happy with her speed, but says she has work to do when it comes to stamina. "I opened up real fast [and] the first lap came pretty easy," she said. "When I saw [2]7.1 on the board, I was pretty excited.

"It was definitely a tough one at the end. I had to fight that last 300 meters. I was in some pain so I had to stay down in my skating. When I looked up and won by almost half a second, that was a pretty good feeling."

Bowe will also start in Sunday's 1500m, although she has not yet found the distance so favorable this season.

"That's work in progress. The first 700m, I got feeling really good and smooth, [but] that last lap and a half has been really tough for me. I always have to put some money in the bank there. Coming up from the sprinting side, hopefully I can get the first 700 meters in fast, but I need to close out better, so that's the goal and all eyes are set on February (World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City)."

Daria Kachanova (RUS) took silver in 1:14.75 and her compatriot Olga Fatkulina got bronze in 1:15.09. Jorien ter Mors (NED) retained her second place in the World Cup ranking despite only finishing eighth in a disappointing 1:15.64.

Fatkulina was pleased with her result. Thanks to her podium spot, she has already qualified for the European Single Distance Championships in Heerenveen in January. On Saturday she will defend her leading position in the 500m World Cup. Looking forward to the confrontation with Nao Kodaira (JPN) and Vanessa Herzog (AUT), she said: "Of course I want to win, but my first 100m is not good and tomorrow my legs will be tired from today's race, so even a fourth place would be good."

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 1000m Ladies

Blondin takes gold with different mindset 

Ivanie Blondin (CAN) won her career first 5000m World Cup race, edging out Martina Sáblíková (CZE) by 0.05 seconds.

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Ivanie Blondin (CAN) winning the 5000m in a track record at the Alau Ice Palace in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

The Canadian is a specialist in the Mass Start, in which she has already collected six gold medals. Last season she won her first World Cup race in a classic distance, when she took 3000m gold in Erfurt.

"It's a different mindset," Blondin said, comparing classic races and the Mass Start. "I'm a little more nervous for individual races than I am for Mass Start races. [In the] Mass Start I'm more comfortable. I know that I'm the main target but it also gives me comfort that I'm one of the strongest ones. Yesterday Remmelt [coach Remmelt Eldering, NED] said that I'm still a five-kilometer skater.

"I surprised myself today. I knew that I was strong based on yesterday's training. I knew I was going to be in the mix for a top three spot."

Blondin had already broken the Czech world champion's track record by almost five seconds with 6:54.94 in the fourth of six pairings, before Antoinette de Jong (NED) and Esmee Visser (NED) took the ice in the penultimate pair. Olympic champion Visser came 1.40 short of Blondin's time and De Jong was 8.35 behind.

The Dutch ladies had to settle for fourth and seventh place after the final pair between Blondin's team-mate Isabelle Weidemann and Sáblíková had finished. "[It was] really, really cool," said Weidemann. "I hadn't raced Martina since last year and she's the best in the world, so I was really excited. She's always been someone I looked up to growing up in speed skating. It's awesome to race a hero."

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Ivanie Blondin (CAN) with Czech silver medalist Martina Sablikova, left, and Isabelle Weidemann (CAN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

The Canadian and the Czech contested an intense battle, swapping the lead a couple of times before Sáblíková came out on top. It was not enough for gold, but Sáblíková was happy to take silver and Weidemann settled for bronze.

Sáblíková said she had not looked at the clock. "I didn't think about time," she said. "I had a great fight with Isabelle. I was just thinking about winning this race between us. It was really close with Ivanie. I'm so happy for her."

The Czech world champion had been sick just ahead of the World Cup in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, two weeks ago, but she was fully recovered in Nur-Sultan.

"Today was the first day that I went full gas, [the past two weeks] I skated in Inzell with my team, but always behind someone's back. I really enjoyed today, I've got such a positive mind and I'm so happy to skate."

Sáblíková, Weidemann and Blondin are first, second and third in a tight long distance World Cup ranking. They will meet again in the 3000m in Nagano next week.

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings long distance Ladies

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Letitia de Jong, Jutta Leerdam and Michelle de Jong en route to winning team sprint gold for Netherlands 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Dutch revert to winning line-up

In the Team Sprint the Dutch ladies returned to winning ways by reverting to the line-up that was successful in Minsk, with Letitia de Jong (NED) instead of Sanneke de Neeling (NED) as third skater.

After finishing second in Poland at the second leg of the World Cup, the Netherlands kept silver medalists Russia at bay by more than a second, finishing in 1:27.95 versus 1:29.70. Poland took bronze in 1:30.09.

Letitia de Jong said: "I was absent in Poland, but that’s not a big issue. We all get along very well. It's good to win by such a big margin and now that we are sure of a slot at the World Single Distance Championships we can experiment with more different line-ups."

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings Team Sprint Ladies 

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ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series 2019/20:

Minsk (BLR) - Nov 15 – 17

Tomaszów Mazowiecki (POL) – Nov 22 – 24

Nur-Sultan (KAZ) – Dec 6 – 8

Nagano (JPN) – Dec 13 – 15

Calgary (CAN) – Feb 7 – 8

Final – Heerenveen (NED) – Mar 7 - 8