Shikhova lived up to the expectations on home ice. The 32-year-old Russian is the highest ranked European skater in the current World Cup standings, behind Japan’s Nao Kodaira, Miho Takagi and America’s Heather Bergsma.
Lotte van Beek (NED) set the bar in Saturday’s 1000m. Friday’s 1500m champion clocked 1 minute and 15.74 seconds, after another superb final lap in 28,9 seconds.
None of the other skaters managed to skate a sub-29 second final lap, but Shikova, Herzog and Leenstra all started a lot faster.
Leenstra was 0.63 ahead of Van Beek at the 600m split. She equaled Van Beek’s 1:15.74 at the finish line, but edged out her compatriot by eight thousands of a second.
Shikhova and Herzog faced each other in the penultimate pair and Herzog was the only one to clock a sub-18 opener at the 200m split. Shikova took the initiative after the first cross-over and kept the Austrian at bay in the final lap, finishing in 1:15.34. Herzog stopped the clock at 1:15.44.
Last year’s European sprint champion Karolina Erbanova (CZE), who took bronze in Friday’s 500m, withdrew because of illness.