Spectators saw 45 personal best times, amongst which were four national records for Belgium: Bart Swings with 6:20.39 took Bart Veldkamp's 5000m record and Jelena Peeters set a new national record in the Ladies' 1500m NR in 2:00.87 and brought her 3000m time down by 5 seconds to 4:11.13.


The first distance was the Ladies' 1500m. Entering the competition with a wildcard after not racing in Heerenveen the first pair saw Russian favourite Yekaterina Shikhova skated an even race, her time of 1:55.53 was only a little above the track record that Anni Friesinger had set in 2007 (1:55.39). Martina Sábliková (CZE) came closest with 1:56.95. In the final pair Lotte van Beek (NED), last week's bronze, fell in the first turn.

Last weekend, Christine Nesbitt (CAN) had beaten Marrit Leenstra (NED) in a tight race. This time, Nesbitt took the lead from the start and clocked her first full lap faster than Leenstra's. But at 1100m they were side by side, both a second faster than Shikhova. Nesbitt had problems keeping her pace in the final lap and finished in 1:56.16, faster than in last week's race, but not as fast as Shikhova. It was Leenstra who took the win in a new track record time of 1:55.04. Shikhova had silver, Nesbitt bronze. Leenstra leads the World Cup with 180 points, Nesbitt follows with 170 and Sábliková follows with 110.

In the men's 5000m, the three Dutchmen that divided the medals last week did so again. Blokhuijsen skated in pair seven with Bob de Jong, and opened aggressively in 18.17, following the schedule of the track record (that stood at 6:11.78) with laps ranging from 28.4 and 28.9 followed by mid 29's. His final 29.9 lap was just a bit too slow to take the track record, but finished in a personal best time of 6:11.97.

In the next and last race, Sven Kramer and Jorrit Bergsma were paired. Kramer started off with a first lap of 29.6 followed by laps between 29.0 and 29.4, keeping Bergsma behind him from start to finish. But Bergsma stayed close in an even race with one 29.3, five 29.4 and six 29.5 laps and finished in a new Personal Best of 6:13.09. Kramer improved his track record to 6:10.62. It was Kramer's 20th win in a 5000m World Cup race.

Kramer leads with 200 points, Blokhuijsen follows with 150 and Bergsma also has 150 points, Bob de Jong 120.

Kramer: I thought when I saw Blokhuijsen's time: Do I have it to be this fast?! But I am happy I could skate at this level. Things went well. As I did not race the 10,000 in the Dutch championships, next week I will not race. Blokhuijsen: It was a good Personal Best, but it is a pity that someone was faster. I hope to continue this line of progression.

In the Ladies Mass Start race, last week's winner Mariska Huisman (NED) did not have the support of her team mates this time, because Ter Mors was resuming her Short Track season and skaters who intended to make their mass start debut would skate in the B-division and consequently withdrew. Claudia Pechstein (GER) won all intermediate sprints and gathered 15 points in the competition, which brought her to fourth place. The Koreans raced strongly; Do-Yeong Park took points in the sprints, but in the final lap Bo-Reum Kim took off, followed by Huisman, but Huisman did not manage to overtake the strong 19-year-old Korean. Ivanie Blondin (CAN) finished in third, but her 9 points gathered in intermediate sprints brought her to second position in the final ranking. Kim wins with 31 points; Blondin has 19, Huisman 15. Overall Huisman leads with 170, Kim has 160 points, Blondin and Pechstein both 130.


The next day started with the 1500m Men and the first season start of Shani Davis (USA), who was not yet strong enough to be back on top. He was beaten in the fifth pair by Bart Swings (BEL). He did not start fast, on the contrary, his first lap of 26.3 was good but not remarkable, but then managed the fastest second half off all competitors, with laps of 27.1 and 27.7 hardly losing pace. With 1:45.77 he was 1.7 second faster than his own Belgian record of a week earlier.

Of the two Dutchmen skating right after him, Kjeld Nuis and Koen Verweij, who were much faster with one lap to go, only Verweij managed to beat Swings' end time, with 1:45.56 taking over the lead. The next skater below 1:46 was Brian Hansen (USA). He had the fastest opener in the field, and remained the fastest also after 700 and 1100m, on pace for the track record. But with a 28.9 final lap he lost 0.7 to Verweij in one lap and finished in third with 1:45.91. Polish Konrad Niedzwiedzki finished in fourth as he did last week, this time with 1:45.96. Nobody else managed to finish within 1:46 which brought a change to the podium with first-time individual distance winner Koen Verweij followed by Swings and Hansen who both had never been on the World Cup podium before. In the ranking Vriend leads with 145 points, Bøkko follows with 130, Verweij has 128 and Niedzwiedzki 120.

Then came the 3000m Ladies. In the B-division, Nesbitt had won in a fast 4:04.53. The first in the A-division to be faster was 40-year-old Claudia Pechstein. She impressed with an extremely even race, laptimes between 31.0 and 31.9 with a 32.2 finish in 4:02.31. This was less than a second above the track record. Marije Joling (NED) took almost 5 seconds off her Personal Best finishing in 4:03.90. With two laps to go she was still faster than Pechstein, but the difference was in the last laps: 32.7 and 33.2.

The two strongest skaters of last week, Stephanie Beckert (GER) and Martina Sábliková (CZE), were a bit behind on Pechstein's schedule. Beckert had to accept low 32 laps in the entire second half of her race; Sábliková did not quite manage to make up the difference to Pechstein in spite of a 31.8 final lap. She got silver in 4:02.46; Beckert with 4:04.19 was faster than the week before, but only fourth in this field. She still leads the ranking with 160 points including one win, then Sábliková follows with 160 points, Pechstein has 121. Thus Pechstein is the first 40-year-old to win an individual World Cup distance, her previous win was four years ago and she then was already the oldest winner ever.

The Men's Mass Start pack fell apart in the second half of the race. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) escaped, pursued by Ewen Fernandez (FRA). Far behind, Marco Weber (GER) and Jordan Belchos (CAN) tried in vain to bridge the gap. In the final turn Bergsma went for the final sprint duel and Fernandez just could not make it past him and had to accept second place. Fernandez' countryman Alexis Contin won the sprint of the pack for third. Bergsma leads with 145 points, Contin has 140, Groeneveld 132.

The overall World Cup leaders are Pechstein (29 points) and Kramer (20 points).

From Kolomna skaters will continue to travel east to Astana in Kazakhstan where the Essent ISU World Cup will continue next weekend.