Dutchman Jorrit Bergsma and American Heather Richardson both claimed victories on the first day of the International Skating Union (ISU) Speedskating World Cup event in Hamar, Norway.
Bergsma, who won the Olympic 10,000 metres event at Sochi 2014, took full advantage of Olympic champion Sven Kramer's absence as he powered home in the 5,000m race in a time of 6min 17.89sec to seal The Netherlands' 100th World Cup gold over the distance.
Compatriot Douwe de Vries took silver, while Norwegian Sverre Lunde Pedersen was third, but it was a difficult day for current overall World Cup leader Bob de Jong as he finished down in 11th.
The result sees Bergsma move up to fourth on the leaderboard on 280 points, just five shy of third-placed Aleksandr Rumyantsev, and De Jong still leads the standings on 301 points.
In the women's 1500m race, America sealed a dominant one-two as Richardson, Bergsma's girlfriend, surged to the gold medal ahead of compatriot Brittany Bowe in a blistering time of 1:56.30.
Bowe was a second adrift of teammate Richardson and Marije Joling of The Netherlands claimed the final podium place.
With four-time Olympic champion and World Cup leader Ireen Wüst opting not to compete in Hamar, the American duo produced commanding performances to strengthen their chances of overhauling Wüst at the top of the leaderboard.
Wüst's Dutch teammate Marrit Leenstra, who also sat out the World Cup meet in Norway, remains second overall on 320 points.
Richardson's comfortable victory saw her leapfrog Ida Njåtun, who finished in a disappointing ninth in Hamar, into third and the American now has 280 points to her name.
There is still plenty to play for as for the first time in history, the World Cup event will determine qualification places for the upcoming World Allround Championships in Calgary in March.
The competition continues tomorrow with the men's 1500m and women's 3,000m races taking place.
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