The Korean team was not present. There were eight Personal Bests, and Track Records were improved in the Ladies' 1000m, 1500m and the Team Pursuit.


With the absence of World Cup leader Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) in the 500m, Beixing Wang (CHN) proved that her move to Inzell this winter to train with Jeremy Wotherspoon was fruitful. She won the first race with 38.07, well ahead of Thijsje Oenema (NED) who finished second with 38.34 and Jenny Wolf (GER) who was third with 38.39.

Then the men skated the 10,000m. Various great skaters, like Kramer, Bøkko or Swings declined their right to skate, but not so World Cup leader Jorrit Bergsma and Bob de Jong (both NED). Once they raced, the next fastest time was for Olympic Champion Seung-Hoon Lee, 13:19.84, which was good for bronze. The Dutchmen finished with faster laps than they started with and stayed close together for most of the race with laps around 31.0. In the second half, Bob de Jong got his laptimes down to low 30s, but after 8400m Bergsma quickly closed the gap with three 29.2 laps. As soon as he had caught up with De Jong, the latter anwsered with a 29.2 through the last inner turn that Bergsma couldn't match. De Jong missed the track record finishing in 12:53.56, Bergsma took silver with 12:55.36 and still leads the overall rankings with 400 points, De Jong has 380 and Kramer 300.

In the Ladies' 5000m, Claudia Pechstein (GER) was the first to manage a laptime within 34 seconds. For most of the race, she had skated side by side with Diane Valkenburg (NED), who had been slightly in the lead with one lap to go. Where Valkenburg's powers left her in the final lap, Pechstein found an extra gear and came towards Valkenburg in the final crossover and passed her through the last inner turn. Pechstein set the leading time, 7:06.96. In the final pair, the two leading Ladies of the long distance, Martina Sábliková (CZE) and Stephanie Beckert (GER) were paired. They were the only ones to skate every lap below 34 seconds. Sábliková started with a 32.9 first full lap, followed by laps between 33.1 and 33.4, with one 33.6 in the middle and a 33.5 at the end. Her winning time was 7:01.33. Beckert did not manage to keep the slight lead she had in the first half of the race. At 2200m they passed side by side, an then Beckert's laps went towards 33.8. A final 33.0 lap was not enough for victory, her 7:02.84 gave silver. Sábliková leads the World Cup with 430 points, Beckert follows with 350, Pechstein has 331.


Saturday started with the Men's 500m, where nobody came below 35 seconds. Ronald Mulder finished in third place with 35.28 after a 9.7 opening, grabbing the victory over his pairmate Yuya Oikawa in the final 100m. The final pair was a Dutch-Japanese duel as well, and it resembled the previous. The opening went to Japanese Joji Kato with 9.6 while Jan Smeekens clocked 9.7. The Japanese skater maintained the lead with 100m to go, but Smeekens had the better finish. With 35.06, Smeekens took his 3rd World Cup victory in a row and Kato settled for silver with 35.15.

Then came the second 500m race for the Ladies. Again, Beixing Wang was strongest, this time in 38.15. But it was a close race between her and Jenny Wolf. Like in the men's race, the last 100m made the difference. Wolf lost a podium place in her finish with 38.22, as both Olga Fatkulina (RUS) and Oenema, pairmates in the previous pair had finished 38.21. The timing system appointed Fatkulina the winner of silver, with 38.215, and Oenema had bronze with 38.217.

Sang-Hwa Lee still leads the 500m ranking with 800 points, Wolf follows with 611 and then Richardson has 530 and Beixing Wang 516.

In the Men's 1000m the first skaters below 1:10 were Brian Hansen (USA) and Stefan Groothuis (NED). Groothuis, who had not been able to impress earlier this season, opened just below 17 seconds, which was the opening speed of Hansen. Hansen had a 26.0 lap and Groothuis managed 25.5, the fastest in the field, but had a tough battle in the final lap. Although 27.4 brought him to 1:09.84, Hansen emerged from behind and skated a 26.7 lap, with which he was the fastest in the field, not just for the lap, but also in time: 1:09.79. One by one the skaters, even those who were faster than Hansen after 600m struggled through the last lap. Two skaters shared bronze: Dmitry Lobkov (RUS) and Nico Ihle (GER) both finished in 1:10.189. Kjeld Nuis (9th today) took over the lead from Hein Otterspeer (11th), with a marginal difference: 482 for Nuis, 479 for Otterspeer, followed by Shani Davis (USA) with 456 points and Samuel Schwarz 445.

The Ladies' 1500m showed that this day in Erfurt, the last lap was the toughest. There were only six skaters below 1:59, and only the winner was below 1:58. It was Ireen Wüst (NED), who smashed the old track record that Anni Friesinger had set in 2007, 1:56.10. An opening of 25.81, laps of 28.7 and 29.8 were all faster than anybody else's, nor did she slow down for her final lap: 31.2. The new track record time is 1:55.61. Diane Valkenburg, with 1:58.32, and Marrit Leenstra, with 1:58.38, completed the podium. Leenstra leads the World Cup ranking with 375 points, Christine Nesbitt (CAN) follows with 270 and Yekaterina Shikhova (RUS) has 232. With 150 points to be won in next week's final, the season's winner will be one of these four.

The Men's Team Pursuit races completed the day. The Dutch team with Kramer, Verweij and Bergsma won with a slight advantage over the Korean and the Polish team. The Dutch reached 3:45.21, Korea 3:45.33 and Poland 3:45.79. The Dutch won all competitions and have 300 points, Korea 230 and Russia 180.


The final day started with the second 500m for the men. The medals were given to the same skaters in the same order as the previous day. Smeekens won for the fourth time in a row, this time with 34.96, Kato finished in 35.05 and Ronald Mulder had the same time as on Saturday, 35.28. Smeekens is the clear leader with 830 points. He only missed the podium once this season. Kato follows with 686 points and the twins Michel and Ronald Mulder follow with 485 and 445 points and will be paired together in Heerenveen next week. With 300 points as the maximum to be won next week, it will be hard for Kato to get ahead of Smeekens and the Mulder brothers.

In the 1000m for Ladies, Ireen Wüst had another good race. She stayed two tenth above the track record that Jennifer Rodriguez (USA) had set over 8 years ago, but 1:15.74 seemed a very strong time in Erfurt. Others finished slower than 1:16, but the surprise winner came from the next-to-last pair. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) started fast in her race with Brittany Bowe (USA), but Bowe had a first lap of 27.5, the fastest of the field. Although her last lap was not as fast as Wüst's 29.2, her advantage after 600m was threequarter of a second and her final lap 29.5. Thus Bowe set a new track record time of 1:15.34 and could celebrate her first ever World Cup victory. Her pairmate Fatkulina was fat enough for bronze with 1:15.79. Heather Richardson (USA) kept her lead in spite of a weak race, with 501 points. Karolina Erbanová has 429 points and Brittany Bowe moved to third place in the rankings with 390 points.

The 1500m for Men saw a different winner every time this season. Also today, as the World Cup leader Zbigniew Bródka became the first Polish skater in history to win a World Cup competition. He won with 1:46.88. The fastest time had been set by Haralds Silovs (LAT) in the third pair, with 1:46.98 becoming the first Latvian skater on a distance podium. Next closest was Brian Hansen, who finished in 1:47.01. Silovs and Bródka were equal at 1100m, but the last lap gave Bródka the victory. Bródka now leads with 340 points, he increased his lead over Håvard Bøkko (NOR) who has 284. Brian Hansen moved up to third with 255 points, but four skaters are close behind.

The Dutch Ladies won the Team Pursuit in 3:02.83, a track record time. Canada took second place with 3:04.34 and Poland managed to beat Russia to the bronze with 3:05.23. The Netherlands and Canada both have 250 points, but as the Netherlands won the last race, they are the number one. Germany and Poland have 190 points.

At the end of the competition a few teams participated in the Team Sprint demonstration races. The German Ladies and the Canadian Men won.

Martina Sábliková took over the lead from Heather Richardson in the Grand World Cup after her victory on the 5000m. Jorrit Bergsma still has a safe lead with 55 points, over Smeekens with 39.50, and has virtually won the Grand World Cup.

The World Cup will find its conclusion coming weekend in Heerenveen (NED). On all distances, the final winners will be determined there.