Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating - Hamar (NOR)
In a very cold Hamar, the programme consisted of the 1500m, as well as the longest distances – the 10,000m for men and the 5000m for ladies – and the Team Pursuit.
After two very full three-day weekends, where sprinters and all-rounders met in all the Olympic distances but the longest, this weekend there were only two days of competition. In a very cold Hamar, the programme consisted of the 1500m, as well as the longest distances - the 10,000m for men and the 5000m for ladies - and the Team Pursuit. There was a NR for Shane Dobbin (NZL) of 13:19.53, with which he won the B-division, and 7 more men and 6 women improved their personal best (14 in total).
Olympic champion Martina Sáblíková (CZE) had lost only one 5000m race in the past four years, which was against the later suspended Claudia Pechstein (GER). As she was ill during the first World Cup weekend in Heerenveen, she didn’t have enough points to skate at the end of the field. So she needed to set a time that would be hard to match for the four skaters coming after her. Her 7:03.95 was good, but she couldn’t keep an even schedule, and had four laps above 34, ending with a 34.5. This gave the current leader Stephanie Beckert (GER) her chance to win in the final pair, skating with last week’s surprise winner Jilleanne Rookard (USA). Beckert took the lead after 1800m, and kept her laps between 32.7 and 33.6. Spurting with a 32.7 final lap, she managed to stop the clock at 6:59.18. Rookard’s lap times went up, and in the last two laps she just lost a spot on the podium to Eriko Ishino (JPN), who managed 7:06.70 for her first World Cup medal. Beckert leads with 270 points, Rookard is still second with 200 and Sábliková moves up to third with 160 points.
On Sunday, the ladies tackled the 1500m, with only five skaters managing a time below two minutes. Christine Nesbitt (CAN) is unbeaten at this distance, but with 1:58.00 she was only a marginal 0.03 second faster than silver medallist Marrit Leenstra (NED). Leenstra skated strongly and evenly, and had the fastest pre-last lap and the second-fastest last lap, whereas Nesbitt had the second-fastest opening 300m and the fastest first full lap. Brittany Schussler (CAN) finished in third place with 1:58.96, and Laurine van Riessen and Yekaterina Lobysheva also finished below two minutes with 1:59.63; the Dutch lady being 0.005 second faster than the Russian. Nesbitt increased her overall lead after three victories to 300 points. Leenstra with 186 and Schussler with 170 both overtook Cindy Klassen (CAN) in the ranking. Olympic Champion Ireen Wüst (NED) did not compete and dropped to 5th place.
In the Team Pursuit, the Canadian team with Nesbitt, Klassen and Schussler won in an excellent 3:00.90. The Russians came in second, with Yekaterina Lobysheva, Yekaterina Shikhova and Julia Skokova reaching 3:03.90. The Dutch team, with Marije Joling, Marrit Leenstra and Jorien Voorhuis, finished third with 3:04.62, and now leads with 150 points, Germany has 145 and Russia and Norway both have 130 points. One of the Canadian skaters fell last week and so the team did not finish.
In the 1500m, Trevor Marsicano (USA), after finishing second last week, won the distance in 1:45.54. Simon Kuipers finished in second place with 1:45.97, and Shani Davis (USA), who won the first World Cup 1500m, was third, only 0.01 second behind Kuipers. Last week’s winner Håvard Bøkko (NOR) finished in fifth place. So, after three races and three different winners, we now have an idea of the strength of the field in general, and it’s very hard to predict who will eventually take the World Cup. Davis keeps the lead with 210 points, and Kuipers is just behind him with 205, but Trevor Marsicano jumped into the Top 3 with 201 points. Bøkko and Stefan Groothuis (NED) dropped out of the Top 3 with 182 and 162 points respectively.
The 10,000m will be skated only twice in this year’s World Cup, and is combined with the 5000m ranking. The Koreans, including Olympic Champion and last week’s 5000m winner Seung-Hoon Lee, did not come to Norway preparing for the Asian Games. First Dutchman Jorrit Bergsma impressed by skating 13:13.98 in only his second-ever 10,000m. Then Ivan Skobrev (RUS), the Olympic silver medallist, meticulously attacked that time, being faster only on the fourth lap before the end, finishing well in 13:11.26. But World Cup leader Bob de Jong (NED) won again with 13:05.83, with seemingly great ease. Bøkko was fourth, but slower than the time of the B-division winner Shane Dobbin (NZL), whose 13:19.53 was a national record. De Jong leads with 260 points, Skobrev has 200 and Jonathan Kuck (USA) 185.
In the Team Pursuit, the Americans Kuck, Marsicano and Davis won like last week. Their race was evenly skated, and they finished in 3:43.58. This time, the Canadians Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison and Justin Warsylewicz took second place with 3:44.61 and third was Norway in 3:47.01. Håvard Bøkko and Henrik Christiansen did not skate with Sverre Lunde Pedersen this time - the young man won the 1500m in the Junior World Cup in Zakopane (POL) this weekend - but with Fredrik van der Horst instead. The USA leads with 200 points, followed by Norway with 150 and Canada with 130.
Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating - Hamar (NOR) - Medal Winners
1 Christine Nesbitt
2 Marrit Leenstra
3 Brittany Schussler
1 Trevor Marsicano
2 Simon Kuipers
2 Shani Davis
1 Stephanie Beckert
2 Martina Sábliková
3 Eriko Ishino
1 Bob de Jong
2 Ivan Skobrev
3 Jorrit Bergsma
Team Pursuit Ladies
1 Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt, Brittany Schussler
2 Yekaterina Lobysheva, Yekaterina Shikhova, Julia Skokova
3 Marije Joling, Marrit Leenstra, Jorien Voorhuis
Team Pursuit Men
1 Shani Davis, Jonathan Kuck, Trevor Marsicano
2 Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison, Justin Warsylewicz
2 Håvard Bøkko, Henrik Christiansen, Fredrik van der Horst
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