Czech Republic’s Martina Sáblíková claimed her 11th consecutive International Skating Union (ISU) Speed Skating World Cup long-distance title after taking gold in the 3,000 metres event at the final in Norwegian city Stavanger today.
The triple Olympic gold medallist clocked a winning time of 4 min 04.21sec to beat nearest challenger Antoinette de Jong of The Netherlands by 1.14 seconds and seal her World Cup triumph with a total of 630 points.
Russia’s Anna Yurakova, who came fourth today, ended up 235 points behind in second.
De Jong finished a further 35 points back in third, while fellow Dutchwoman Melissa Wijfje, the bronze medallist today in 4:05.59, came fourth in the rankings.
Sáblíková dominated the long distances as usual this season, winning four of five 3,000m races and the only 5,000m race in Dutch town Heerenveen.
In the women’s 500m, Japan’s Nao Kodaira triumphed in a time of 37.14 to secure the World Cup with one race remaining.
European sprint champion Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic came second in 37.87, while the United States’ Heather Bergsma took bronze in 38.13.
World champion Kodaira, 30, has won all seven 500m World Cup races she has skated this season and will be looking to make it eight out of eight tomorrow.
Bergsma grabbed gold and the World Cup in the women’s 1,000m, posting a time of time of 1:14.85 to take her sixth win in as many outings this season.
Kodaira came away with silver in 1:14.90, while the bronze went to Erbanova in 1:15.22.
Fourth-place finisher Miho Takagi of Japan took the overall silver and The Netherlands’ Marrit Leenstra finished down in sixth to drop to third in the final rankings.
On the men’s side, The Netherlands’ Kjeld Nuis concluded a near-perfect season with a gold medal to take the 1,000m World Cup.
The world champion was the only competitor to beat the 1:09 barrier, securing the World Cup with a time of 1:08.76 as Canada’s Vincent De Haitre and fellow Dutchman Kai Verbij ended up second and third respectively in the final rankings.
De Haitre also took today’s silver in 1:09.28, while Germany’s Nico Ihle won the bronze in 1:09.42.
The Netherlands’ Dai Dai Ntab won today’s men’s 500m, with countrymen Ronald Mulder, Verbij and Jan Smeekens coming second, third and fourth.
Top-ranked Ruslan Murashov of Russia was not able to secure the World Cup win, finishing fifth behind the Dutch quartet.
Ntab grabbed his second career World Cup win in 34.93, with Mulder taking silver in 34.99.
Verbij took the bronze in 35.01, beating Smeekens by a mere 0.006 seconds.
Ntab, Mulder and Verbij can still push Murashov off top spot tomorrow.
Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov is ranked third at the moment, but is not competing in Stavanger.
The Netherlands’ Jorrit Bergsma won the men’s long-distance World Cup after winning today’s 5,000m in 6:17.74.
New Zealand’s Peter Michael had to beat Bergsma to win the World Cup and despite trying to attack his opponent in the early stages of the race, he could only manage a 10th-place finish and dropped to third position in the final rankings.
Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen took silver in 6:18.46 and also ended up second in the final classification.
Dutchman Erik Jan Kooiman claimed bronze in 6:19.07 to finish fourth in the final ranking.
Japan clocked a time of 3:00.60 to beat The Netherlands by 1.82 seconds in the women’s team pursuit today, securing overall victory in the process.
Both countries had won two team pursuit races prior to the final and with Japan’s victory in Stavanger, they ended up level on 430 points.
Japan took home the World Cup because they had three gold medals, one more than The Netherlands.
Russia took the bronze today in 3:02.93 and finished third in the ranking as well with 384 points.
In the men’s team pursuit, The Netherlands and Norway fought a tough battle before the former came out on top.
A time of 3:43.02 was 0.33 seconds faster than that of the home team, who the Dutch beat to the World Cup title.
Japan took the bronze in 3:44.09 and finished third in the overall rankings.
Action in Stavanger is due to conclude tomorrow.