Pavel Kulizhnikov left Olympic Champion Kjeld Nuis more than half a second behind to win the Men's 1000m on the final day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating first leg in Obihiro. Patrick Roest dominated the 5000m and the Netherlands won the Team Sprint.
Kulizhikov class apart
Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) was a class apart in the Men's 1000m. The Russian, who had already won Saturday's 500m, crushed his 2014 track record (1.09,23) by more than a second when he stopped the clock at 1 minute and 7.85 seconds. The Russian defeated Kjeld Nuis (NED) in a one-on-one race in the penultimate pairing. The Dutchman started in the outer lane and lost 0.20 in the opener. Taking benefit from the draft at the first crossover, Nuis managed to keep Kulizhnikov in sight, but the Russian had a perfect target to chase on the final crossover and skated the fastest final lap of the field in 26.4. Nuis was 0.54 slower but still took silver.
Håvard Lorentzen (NOR) and Kai Verbij (NED) entered the rink in the final pair, but they had to bow their heads for Kulizhnikov's superb final lap too. Lorentzen came fourth in 1:08.80 and Verbeij fifth in 1:08.91. Thomas Krol (NED) had already skated 1:08.62 in the fourth last pair, which proved to be enough for the bronze medal.
In the B Division Masaya Yamada (JPN) had also been faster than Kulizhnikov's 2014 track record. With 1:08.858 he would have been sixth in the A Division.
Roest delivers superb 5000m
Patrick Roest (NED) on his way to 5000m gold 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Patrick Roest (NED) put forward his candidacy as heir to Sven Kramer's 5000m crown. The 22-year-old World Allround Champion already beat his team-mate at the Dutch trials last month, and won his first career individual World Cup gold in Sunday's 5000m. Kramer himself decided to pull out before the race. He will travel back home because of a back injury and miss next week's World Cup in Tomakomai too.
Roest broke Kramer's 2014 track record (6:20.90) by more than seven seconds when he posted a time of 6 minutes and 13.01 seconds in the fifth pairing. No one else was able to come close. Aleksandr Rumyantsev (RUS) had already clocked 6:17.67 in the fourth pairing and collected the silver.
Another Dutch youngster, 21-year-old Marcel Bosker, edged out Patrick Beckert (GER) for bronze in 6:18.12. The German missed out on the podium by only 0.02 seconds. Olympic 10,000m Champion Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) is far from medal winning form and posted a mediocre 6:28.64 to end up thirteenth.
Third Dutch gold in Team Sprint
After not winning a single gold in the first two days in Obihiro, the Netherlands grabbed their third win on Sunday, when Michel Mulder, Kai Verbij and Kjeld Nuis captured the Team Sprint gold ahead of last season's World Cup winners Norway. The Dutchmen posted 1:19.78 and were 1:01 faster than Bjørn Magnussen, Henrik Fagerli Rukke and Håvard Lorentzen (NOR). Canada's Christopher Fiola, Laurent Dubreuil and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu took bronze in 1:20.98.