Olympic 500 metres champion Nao Kodaira of Japan is set to renew her rivalry with Austrian Vanessa Herzog when the International Skating Union Speed Skating World Cup season continues in Heerenveen this weekend.
A host of the sport's top names will make their return to competition after deciding to skip last week's event in Poland.
Kodaira, winner of the first four 500m races of the campaign, is among the entrants for the World Cup in Heerenveen, due to begin tomorrow.
Herzog capitalised on Kodaira's absence in Tomaszów Mazowiecki by securing two victories, moving her to the top of the overall 500m standings.
The Austrian had finished second behind the reigning Olympic champion at every race won by the Japanese and the two will go head-to-head in an eagerly-anticipated duel at the Thialf Ice Arena in the Dutch city.
Dutch star Kjeld Nuis, winner of two gold medals at this year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, is also due back on the ice.
The 29-year-old will be the one to watch in both the 1,000m and 1,500m races but could face a stern challenge from Denis Yuskov, who arrives in Heerenveen having triumphed over the longer distance in Poland.
While Nuis is a confirmed participant, his compatriot Sven Kramer, a four-time Olympic champion, is a doubt through injury.
Kramer is still considering competing, despite not being 100 per cent, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to participate.
The event in Heerenveen is set to start tomorrow and concludes with the final set of races on Sunday (December 16).