Stavanger / Norway

Jorien ter Mors (NED) impressed by skating the fastest lowland 1000m ever in Norway. The Chinese ladies and the Russian men dominated the 500m. Hong Zhang (CHN) won the ladies’ 500m and Pavel Kulizhnikov the men’s 500m on the first day of the first ISU World Cup in the Sørmarka Arena in Stavanger. Denis Yuskov skated the fastest 1500m. The total of 13 personal bests included two national records, for Belgium (36,33 Mathias Vosté) and Belarus (35.80, Ignat Golovatyuk).

Hong Zhang wins ladies’ 500m for the fourth time this year

China ruled in the ladies’ 500m in absence of Korean world record holder Sang-Hwa Lee. Hong Zhang won thanks to her fabulous full lap, setting the track record to 37.82. The first one to bring the track below 38 second was Jorien ter Mors (NED), less than a week after winning gold in the Team Relay at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Sochi (RUS). Her 37.99 was good enough for bronze, the time was at first bettered by Jing Yu (CHN) who took silver in 37.93. Vanessa Bittner (AUT) came only 0.01 short of the podium, whereas Brittany Bowe (USA) finished sixth (38.10 points), and Heather Richardson-Bergsma in eleventh.

In the World Cup rankings Lee leads with 680 points, followed by Zhang (610) and Richardson dropped to third (584 points).

Kulizhnikov extends his lead with sixth 500m victory this season

In the B-division, the track record was set to 34.93 by Tae-Yun Kim from Korea and in the first 5 pairs of the A-division that mark was not bettered. In pair 6 Ruslan Murashov (RUS) was the first of five skaters below that time, with 34.74 setting a tough time to beat. In the next pair Dutchman Kai Verbij beat his pairmate Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) by 0.01. Verbij's 34.87 was good enough for bronze. Gilmore Junio (CAN) with 34.88 was 0.001 faster than his countryman, but World Cup leader Pavel Kulizhnikov did what was necessary to win in 34.71.

Kulizhnikov leads with 605 points, followed  by three Canadians, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (431 points) despite his nineteenth place finish today, Junio is claimed to third with 387. Dubreuil (375) follows closely and William Dutton (CAN) is not far with 368. Mika Poutala (FIN) (371), Murashov and Verbij both have 355 points remain podium contenders.

Jorien ter Mors impresses with fastest 1000m ever in Norway

The Dutch ladies were strong in the 1000m, battling for the last national spot in the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships. Jorien ter Mors won that battle convincingly she raced in 1:14.52, a track record faster than  in Hamar’s Vikingskip. World Cup leader Brittany Bowe skated in the final pair in 1:14.61 earning silver while Marrit Leenstra reached 1:15.59 good enough for bronze.  Heather Richardson second in the ranking finished in eleventh place.

Ter Mors, who still has bruises from a fall at the Short Track Speed Skating competition last week, said that her goal was securing a spot at the World Sprint Championships. Succeeding on Friday means that she will return to her home on Saturday “I need to skate more competitions and there I want to be really fit”, she said. And about being faster than Bowe: “Those girls should not stay almighty, because that would give them wings and increase the gap.”

Bowe increased her lead in the World Cup 1000m rankings with 460 points. Richardson has 354, Leenstra 295.

Yuskov takes back the lead in the World Cup 1500m

Since the start of the season there has been a battle between three skaters in the 1500m. Denis Yuskov (RUS) won his third 1500m this Friday in 1:44.94. Bart Swings (BEL) took the silver as the first to take the Track record: 1:45.88. Joey Mantia (USA) was the leader going into the race, but he lost too much in his final lap, and finished sixth in 1:46.74. Mantia was paired with the other skater with a victory this season, Kjeld Nuis (NED), who used him well at the last crossover and finished in third place with 1:46.11. Thomas Krol (NED) finished in fourth, for the third time in a row.

Yuskov and Nuis now both have 380 points, but Yuskov is the leader because he has more victories. Mantia follows with 365, Swings has 260, Krol 253.