Martina Sábliková continued her excellent start to the World Cup season ©Getty Images

Three-time Olympic champion Martina Sábliková continued her superb start to the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Speed Skating season as the Czech Republic skater claimed women’s 3,000 metres gold in Inzell, Germany.

The 28-year-old had won gold medals at the Calgary and Salt Lake City World Cups in the longer distance races and she maintained her status as the woman to beat by producing a fast time on European ice.

Sábliková stopped the clock in 4min 03.08sec, enough to finish ahead of her rivals with The Netherlands’ Marije Joling finishing 0.90 seconds adrift to claim silver.

Russia’s Olga Graf finished 0.02 ahead of Dutch skater Jorien Voorhuis to complete the podium in a time of 4:05.87.

The result saw the overall World Cup leader Sábliková move her total to 300 points, 100 ahead of Russia’s Natalya Voronina, while The Netherlands’ Irene Schouten lies third on 155.

Reigning Olympic women’s 500m champion Lee Sang-Hwa claimed her second race win over the distance this season after crossing the line in 37.33sec.

The South Korean was joined on the podium by American rivals Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson-Bergsma after they recorded times of 37.70 and 37.99 respectively.

Ahead of the second 500m race of the weekend, Sang-Hwa holds a 40 point advantage over China’s Hong Zhang in the overall standings and with her rival absent, she will hope to build upon her total of 420 points to move further clear.

Gilmore Junio beat his team-mate Alexandre St-Jean to men's 500m gold
Gilmore Junio beat his team-mate Alexandre St-Jean to men's 500m gold ©Getty Images

With Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov, the winner of all four men’s 500m races so far, also opted not to participate in Inzell the Canadian sprinters dominated.

Gilmore Junio was able to clinch a narrow victory over his team-mate Alexandre St-Jean by finishing in 34.86, with just 0.04 separate the pair.

The battle for the bronze medal proved even closer with Poland’s Artur Was, Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil and The Netherlands’ Hein Otterspeer all posting a time of 34.97, with the Polish athlete eventually winning the medal due to a faster second split time.

Kulizhnikov still holds a commanding lead in the overall standings, despite not competing, with the world champion lying on 400 points,  while Canada’s William Dutton is second on 308.

An excellent performance from The Netherlands’ team pursuit squad saw them earn the final gold of the opening day of action, ending in a time of 3:41.27.

Norway and Poland completed the medal positions after recording times of 3:44.88 and 3:46.17.

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