Denis Yuskov (RUS) won his second 1500m gold of this World Cup season in Calgary on Sunday. The Russian clocked the second fastest 1500m time in speed skating history, finishing in 1 minute 41.33 seconds. Dutchmen Koen Verweij and Kjeld Nuis took the silver and bronze.
Yuskov faced Verweij in the eighth pairing. They train together and know each other well. Verweij started faster and was slightly in front all the way to the 1100m mark.
In the final lap, Yuskov pulled off a 26.8-second lap time against 27.5 for Verweij, who finished in a new Netherlands national record of 1:41.95.
Verweij was disappointed not to win but happy with his performance.
“I skated faster than I ever did and that’s unknown territory,” he said. “My speed comes easy and that’s good against an opponent like him.
“It was good until the final 200 metres. In the corner I lost my technique, that’s the fighter in me. It’s trying too hard but I need to control my technique better.”
Verweij considers Yuskov the stronger 1500m skater but feels he is closing the gap.
“I was very close until that last corner but he’s better at the moment. Looking back on my own race, I see a lot of things to improve, in the final lap, but the penultimate lap can still go faster, too.”
Yuskov was only 0.29 seconds away from Shani Davis’s (USA) 2009 Salt Lake City world record.
Like Yuskov, Verweij does not know whether he will skate the 1500m at next week’s World Cup in Salt Lake City.
“There could be an opportunity for a world record,” Verweij said.
“But I have to focus on being at my top level at the Olympic Games in February and the [Dutch] Olympic qualification tournament later this month.”
Kjeld Nuis clocked 1:42.27 for the bronze medal in the fourth pairing against Konrad Niedzwiedzki (POL), who ended up 14th in 1:44.48.
Yuskov’s victory enable him to grab the lead in the World Cup standings with 200 points, ahead of Joey Mantia (USA) on 190 and Verweij with 172 points. Mantia finished fourth in 1:42.54 in Calgary.