The Netherlands' Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst won the respective men's and women's titles at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Allround Speed Skating Championships in Norwegian town Hamar today.
Wüst managed to recapture her crown after a two-year reign for Czech Republic’s Martina Sáblíkova, who came second in front of Japan’s Miho Takagi.
In the men’s tournament, Kramer topped an all-Dutch podium with Patrick Roest and Jan Blokhuijsen taking silver and bronze respectively.
Victory for Wüst ensured her sixth world title after previous successes in 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
It also saw the 30-year-old take an 11th world medal to equal the record of Germany’s Claudia Pechstein.
Before the tournament, Sáblíkova appeared to be Wüst’s most likely title rival, but Takagi surprisingly topped the classification after day one.
The Japanese skater managed to defend her leading position in a fierce 1,500 metres battle with Wüst.
Wüst won in 1min 55.49sec, but she still had to make up another 0.95 seconds in the 5,000m to overhaul Takagi in the final classification.
The Japanese skater finished second in the 1,500m in 1:55.81, while Sáblíková was third in 1:56.15.
Antoinette de Jong came seventh in 1:56.77, but remained in the bronze-medal position with fourth-placed Sáblíková within striking distance.
Wüst faced Sáblíková in the penultimate pair of the final 5,000m, knowing she had to set a high bar for Takagi, who would face De Jong in the final pair.
She defended a 12.60-second lead over her Czech arch rival and an 11.77-second advantage over De Jong.
Sáblíková won the 5,000m in 6:54.57, but Wüst’s 7:00.86 was more than enough to hold off the title defender.
Takagi had to skate almost three seconds faster than her personal best to stay ahead of Wüst and that turned out to be a bridge too far.
Skating against De Jong, she finished sixth in the 5,000m in 7:10.14 and was overtaken by Sáblíková in the silver-medal position.
Takagi did manage to keep De Jong at bay in the battle for bronze with her compatriot dropping off the podium in the final distance after clocking the third fastest 5,000m time in 7:02.62.
Kramer’s 21-year-old team-mate Roest proved to be his main rival in the men's event, but he was never seriously threatened on his way to claiming a record-extending ninth world allround title.
Russia’s Denis Yuskov started the day with a superb 1,500m, clocking 1:44.41 to come close to American Shani Davis' 2009 track record of 1:44.27 to take the distance win.
The former 1,500m world champion, who had started the allround tournament because countryman Sergey Gryaztsov was ill, chose not to skate the final 10,000m, however.
Kramer and Roest faced each other in the final pair of the 1,500m with the former grabbing second place in 1:45.78 and the latter third in 1:45.88.
Blokhuijsen could only finish 15th in 1:48.27, but he managed to hold on to third place in the ranking going into the final 10,000m.
He was more than 22 seconds behind Kramer and in excess of 19 seconds behind Roest.
Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen was fourth in the 1,500m in 1:46.23, and still in contention for the allround bronze.
Skating on home ice, he had to gain 5.64 on Blokhuijsen in the 10,000m for a podium place, but the Dutchman recovered well from his disappointing 1,500m to beat Pedersen in the penultimate pair of the final distance.
Blokhuijsen set 13:13.39 for second place, leaving Pedersen more than 11 seconds behind.
Kramer won the final distance in 13:10.45, with Roest coming third in 13:21.11 - his fourth personal best of the weekend.