Ruslan Murashov (RUS) stepped out of the shadow of his feted countryman Pavel Kulizhnikov to win the first world title of his career on Thursday. The 26-year-old took gold in the 500m at the World Single Distances Championships in Inzell, while world record holder Kulizhnikov could only finish seventh. To conclude the second day of competition, Netherlands won gold in the Men’s Team Pursuit, taking revenge on Norway for the semi-final defeat at last year’s Olympic Winter Games.
Track record win for Murashov
The Men's 500m was very competitive, with the first 19 finishers all skating under 35 seconds. Olympic champion Håvard Lorentzen (NOR) skated in the third-last pairing and was impressed by the display of speed before him. “Ronald (Mulder, NED) skated 34.5 in the first pairing already and then Murashov did a 34.2 before me too. That’s superfast," he said.
With 34.22, Murashov broke Kyou-hyuk Lee’s (KOR) 2011 track record by more than a tenth of a second. It inspired Lorentzen to do something special too. “I need the big scene to get the adrenaline running,” he said.
With 34.35, the Norwegian skated a personal best to take silver. It was a relief after a difficult home World Cup in Hamar last week. He said: “Last week was frustrating because I felt good but the times were not good. We checked my equipment after Sunday. Jeremy (Wotherspoon, coach) made some changes to the radius and the bend of the blade. Small changes can have a big impact.”
Murashov jumps for joy at winning his first world title © International Skating Union (ISU)
Kulizhnikov, 24, skated in the final pairing but had a mis-stroke in the corner and clocked 34.53 to finish seventh and allow countryman Viktor Mushtakov to hang on to the bronze medal with a personal best of 34.43.
Murashov was too surprised to be happy. He said: “I did not dare to watch Pavel’s race and after he finished I just could not believe that I was the World Champion.”
Netherlands take revenge in Team Pursuit
After losing his 5000m world title on Thursday, Sven Kramer wasted no time getting back on top of the podium when he anchored the Netherlands to victory over Norway in the Team Pursuit. Kramer was joined by Douwe de Vries and Marcel Bosker. The Dutch men had never raced together before and held their first joint training on Friday morning. Despite the short preparation, they broke the 2011 USA track record by three seconds, clocking 3:38.43.
It was 22-year-old Bosker’s first senior world title. “But he skates as if he's got years of experience,” said 36-year-old Douwe de Vries, who won his third Team Pursuit gold in the World Championships. “Our race was far from flawless, but we could solve everything without even having to say anything. I’ve never had to coach Marcel the way I have had to do with others in the past.”
Sven Kramer, Marcel Bosker and Douwe de Vries (NED) on their way to Team Pursuit gold © International Skating Union (ISU)
Bosker knew the secret of the Dutch team: “We've all been able to put our egos aside. I had to push Douwe in the beginning, because he's not such a fast starter. That cost me a lot of energy, for which I paid towards the end. So I skated a little less in front, and Sven is such a class-act, he could pull us through.”
Norway (Håvard Bøkko, Sverre Lunde Pedersen and Sindre Hendriksen) skated 3:40.80 to take silver and Russia’s Aleksandr Rumyantsev, Danila Semerikov and Sergey Trofimov clocked 3:41.31, clinching the bronze.
Thursday's 5000m champion Pedersen was Norway’s locomotive again. Bøkko said: “That’s how we won the Olympics last year. Sverre is so strong. I had to scream to him to wait for us all time. He pulled us through all three final laps, which feels like skating a full 1500m at maximum pace for me. Getting silver is a bit disappointing at the moment, but the Netherlands were very strong today.”
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