Denis Yuskov (RUS) wins 1500m in Obihiro 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Yuskov beats Nuis
The first men's 1500m of the season was exciting before the A Division had even started. Japan's Masaya Yamada won the B Division in a personal best and track record time of 1:45.66. Sven Kramer (NED) also started in the 1500m B Division, but due to back problems the Dutch Olympic 5000m Champion has not found his form yet this season. He clocked 1:48.10 to end up fourth.
Kramer's 22-year-old team mate Patrick Roest (NED) was the first to break Yamada's B division track record when he stopped the clock at 1:45.12. Olympic Champion Kjeld Nuis (NED) started out faster than Roest and managed to maintain his speed long enough to stay ahead. With two pairings to go, Nuis led the pack in 1:44.81, but he ended up with a silver medal.
In the final pairing Denis Yuskov (RUS) beat Nuis with a spectacular final lap of 27.7 seconds. Skating versus Thomas Krol (NED) Yuskov paced his race superbly. The Russian skated behind Krol's back trailing Nuis' time up till the 1100m split, but none of the other skaters was able to post a sub-28 second lap. Yuskov's thus took gold in a track record time of 1:44.55. Krol took fourth place behind Nuis and Roest in 1:45.36.
With his 1:45.66 B Division winner Yamada would have come fifth in the A division. The A division's number five and six, Seitaro Ichinohe (JPN) and Kim Min-Seok (KOR) were also still faster than Nuis' previous track record time of 1.45,97.
Kulizhnikov follows Yuskov's example
Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) followed Yuskov's example when he added another gold medal to the Russian tally in the second 500m. The world record holder took revenge for his silver medal behind Olympic Champion Håvard Lorentzen (NOR) on Day 1. With 34.61 the Russian was 0.12 seconds faster than Lorentzen's winning time and 0.16 faster than he had been himself on Friday.
Lorentzen matched Kulizhnikov's previous 34.77, which got him the bronze medal on Saturday. Ryohei Haga (JPN) won silver in 34.71, his second World Cup medal after the 500m bronze he won at the 2014 Obihiro World Cup.
Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) wins 500m in Obihiro 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Giovannini in extremis
Andrea Giovannini (ITA) won the men's Mass Start in a tight sprint with Simon Schouten (NED) and Cheon-Ho Um (KOR) after an exhilarating race. Giovannini was one of the first skaters to attack, but he did not manage to breakaway together with Danila Semerikov (RUS). Chris Huizinga (NED) managed to jump from the pack a little later. He was soon joined by Viktor Hald Thorup (DEN) and Ryosuke Tsuchiya (JPN).
The skaters in the pack understood that they couldn't wait any longer, but there was no organised chase. Only some of the strongest skaters managed to bridge the gap, among whom Bart Swings (BEL) Giovannini, Schouten and Um. Swings led out the final sprint, but was overtaken by Schouten on the inside when the entered the final straight. Giovannini caught up and edged out the Dutchman in extremis, with Um taking third place.
Andrea Giovannini (ITA) wins Mass Start in Obihiro 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)