Joey Mantia (USA) finally took 1500m gold after three straight podium places in previous World Cups. Jing Yu (CHN) and Ruslan Murashov (RUS) surprisingly won the Ladies’ and Men’s 500m and the Mass Start golds went to Misaki Oshigiri (JPN) and Arjan Stroetinga (NED).

Yu back among the top skaters “With this victory I rank among the top skaters again”, Jing Yu (CHN) said after winning the Ladies’ 500m in 37.84. The Chinese sprinter had eight 500m World Cup golds to her tally, but her last win was in March 2012. “After 2014 I seldom skated and I rested a lot”, she explained. In the first Heerenveen 500m on Friday, Yu finished eighth. She had to get used to her new blades: “I adjusted them after the first race.”

Back-to-back gold for Japan After their Team Pursuit win in Inzell the Japanese ladies (Ayaka Kikuchi, Nana Takagi and Miho Takagi) took another victory in Heerenveen. Japan thus became the fourth nation to win back-to-back Ladies’ Team Pursuit World Cup events after Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.

Alexis Contin (FRA) escaped from the pack and skated many laps in a solo breakaway. With Stroetinga in the backseat Swings chased the Frenchman but heading into the final lap Contin was still in front. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) closed the gap to hand his teammate the perfect sprint opportunity. Stroetinga: “That was a good race, wasn’t it? After last week I was really eager to win”, he said.

Meanwhile Natalya Voronina won the final 3000m race of the season in 4:08.15. “I am satisfied with my race and good shape, and I know I have won, but it doesn’t feel like a victory because Sáblíková and Wüst were not here,” she said. Voronina finished second in the 3000/5000 World Cup standings ahead of Irene Schouten (NED), who finished fifth in 4:08.91.

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Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (CAN), who started the season in the B-Division and took a silver medal in Inzell last week, finished in 34.78 to take the bronze. Last week’s winner Artur Was (POL) had to settle for fourth place in 34.80. “I didn’t have much energy. It’s a good result on not such a good day,” he said.

Fabio Francolini (ITA) sprinted to his second career Mass Start silver. “I really tried to win, but I miss something”, the Italian said. “I was really close, but Stroetinga was very fast. I come from inline skating, in which the corners are different. I have to learn a bit more.” Seung-Hoon Lee (KOR) took the bronze to grab his first Mass Start medal of this season.

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Russia’s Aleksandr Rumyantsev, Sergey Gryaztsov and Danil Sinitsyn finished in 3:46.24 to take the bronze. The Netherlands lead the Team Pursuit World Cup with 200 points, together with Korea, also with 200 points. The Dutch are ranked first because they won two races. The Polish team, who finished sixth in Heerenveen, is third with 175 points.

Bowe finished in 1:55.44 to take silver. She stuck with Saturday’s tactics and was not too disappointed about the loss. “If you look at my lap times, my last laps were stonger. I tried to stay with the technique. She (Richardson) had a very fast opener, that made the difference. Of course you always want to win, but it was a good race, tough but good.”

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Wüst’s compatriot Annouk van der Weijden won silver in 4:05.39. She skated in the third pair and left many of the other competitors struggling. She started fastest of the pack and set a first full lap of 30.8. Although her lap times went up towards the end, no one else was able to fully close the gap.

Kjeld Nuis leads the Men’s Grand World Cup with 630 points. Swings is second with 580 and Kulizhnikov is third with 530 points.

Yuskov was happy to have won silver, but he aims at the World Single Distance Championships in February. “It’s my second medal in the 1000m, so I’m getting faster. But my main goal are the 1000m and 1500m in Kolomna. There will be many children watching those races and if I skate well, there may be even more children who go skating back home.”

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Six in a row for Sábliková Martina Sábliková took her sixth consecutive 3000m World Cup win and her 26th in total. She is second only to Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann (GER), who won a total of 42. The Czech long distance specialist set 4:03.50 in the final pair versus Natalya Voronina (RUS), who ended up 6th in 4:07.85 (5).

Dec. 13, 2015: Alex Boisvert-Lacroix wins silver and Ivanie Blondin earns bronze at ISU World Cup Long Track event in Heerenveen (read)

With 35.12 Gilmore Junio (CAN) took his second podium place in the 500m this season. After gold in Inzell he took bronze in the first race of the final weekend. “It was probably my best race of the season,” he said. Junio is third in the World Cup ranking and aims at a podium spot in the overall standings. “That’s something I’ve been working on for my whole career’, he said. With 561 points he could even still win the Cup.

Russian crash and Russian winRuslan Murashov surprisingly won the Men’s 500m after his compatriot Pavel Kulizhnikov crashed in the first corner. Starting the weekend as number 15 in the World Cup ranking Murashov started in the fifth pair already, but his 34.67 stayed on top of the board until the end.

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Poland (Natalia Czerwonka, Katarzyna Wozniak and Luiza Zlotkowska) took the bronze medal in 3:01.51.

Brittany Bowe (USA) finished in 37.86 to take silver. She outskated Hong Zhang (CHN), who was back after skipping the Inzell World Cup last week. Zhang won two 500m races this season, but had to settle for fourth place with 38.01 in Heerenveen. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) also clocked 38.01, but the Russia was two thousands of a second slower.

Twice in a row for Canada In the men’s Team Sprint everybody stayed on their feet. Canada (Gilmore Junio, Alexandre St-Jean and Vincent De Haître) took their second consecutive win after their gold medal in Salt Lake City. With 1:19.75 they were more than a second ahead of silver medallists Russia (Ruslan Murashov, Alexey Yesin and Kirill Golubev) in 1:21.27 and the Netherlands (Jesper Hospes, Michel Mulder and Stefan Groothuis) in 1:21.29.

Stroetinga sprints to second season winThe Dutch men worked out their game plan better than their female counterparts and Arjan Stroetinga (NED) ran away with his second Mass Start win of this World Cup season. “I had to stay with Bart Swings (BEL) and wait for the sprint,” he said.

Milestone for Sábliková The queen of the long distances was absent in Heerenveen. Martina Sábliková won all five 3000/5000m World Cup races this season and already had an unassailable lead in the 3000/5000m World Cup standings. She grabbed the 3000/5000m World Cup for the tenth consecutive season and now equaled Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann (GER) on a record tenth win.

Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) set a new track record and the fastest time ever on a lowland track with 1:08.16 to take gold in the Men’s 1000m in Heerenveen’s Thialf Stadium on Saturday.

Perfect teamwork by Japanese ladies MisakiOshigiri took her first individual World Cup win when she outsprinted fellow escapee Carien Kleibeuker (NED) on the line after 16 laps. The Dutch lady took silver and Ivanie Blondin (CAN) finished third.

Murashov defends Russian honorRuslan Murashovtook care of the Russian honor in the men’s 500m. In absence of World Cup leader Pavel Kulizhnikov he won the penultimate 500m race of the 2015/2016 season, thus keeping his chance to win the overall 500m World Cup alive. Kulizhnikov has 705 points and Murashov 585, with a possible 150 points to win in the final race on Sunday.

Despite her fast time Yu had not expected to win because Sang-Hwa Lee was still up in the final pair. “Only after she finished I realised that I had gold,” said Yu. Lee finished fourth in 37.98. “I broke my lace at the start”, she explained.

After winning the first 1000m World Cup race this season Heather Richardson-Bergsma (USA) lost for the third time in a row in a head-to-head battle against Bowe. She finished in 1:15.33 to take silver after a very tough final lap. Richardson felt a little tired in Heerenveen. “I’ve done so many races this season, also skating the mass start. This race was very fast from the start and in the last lap my legs were just so tired.”

Heerenveen

Heather Richardson-Bergsma (USA) won the Ladies’ 1500m and took silver in the 500m on the final day of the World Cup in Heerenveen on Saturday. She collected a total of four medals in Thialf Stadium this weekend.

Team Pursuit Men Jan Blokhuijsen, Douwe de Vries, Arjan Stroetinga secured the Team Pursuit World Cup with 350 points, after winning with 3:42.28 on home ice. After Stroetinga crashed in this season’s first Team Pursuit race in Calgary, the Dutch men won the remaining three Team Pursuit events in Inzell and twice in Heerenveen.

Despite his two previous 1500m wins Yuskov is only third in the World Cup ranking (280 points). Disqualification in Salt Lake City cost him a lot of points. Mantia now leads the ranking with 320 points, just ten points ahead of Nuis.

Dec. 11, 2015: Canada wins gold in men's team sprint and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix collects bronze in 500m at ISU World Cup Long Track in Heerenveen (read)

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Murashov was the only man to skate below 35 seconds with 34.96. Ronald Mulder (NED) crossed the finish line after 35.05 seconds to take silver. “Mentally it was a very strange race because everyone could win in absence of Kulizhnikov,” Mulder said.