Wüst ends Sáblíková's winning 3000m streak

- Berlin, Germany

Dutch Ireen Wüst beat Czech arch rival Martina Sáblíková in the Ladies 3000m on day 3 of the ISU Speed Skating World Cup in Berlin on Sunday. Ruslan Murashov (RUS) won the men’s 500m, America’s Heather Bergsma collected her second 1000m gold of the weekend, and Dutch Kai Verbij grabbed his maiden individual World Cup gold in the men’s 1000m.

Murashov takes lead in 500m World Cup
Ruslan Murashov pushed Pavel Kulizhinkov off the top of the 500m World Cup ranking on Sunday. In absence of his injured compatriot, the Russian grabbed his season’s third 500m gold, when he stopped the clock at 34.81.

Dutch Ronald Mulder came second in 34.87 and countryman Kai Verbij was third in 34.98. Japan’s Tsubasa Hasegawa set the fourth time in 35.06. Murashov was 0.36 seconds faster than he was in the first 500m on Friday, when he came seventh. Nico Ihle, who won Friday’s race in 34.83, came eighth in 35.14 on Sunday.

Murashov collected a total of 445 World Cup points in the 500m. Kulizhnikov is still second with 425 points and Ihle is third with 308 points.

Fifth gold for Bergsma
Heather Bergsma claimed her season’s fifth 1000m World Cup gold on Sunday. The American won all the 1000m World Cup races she skated this season. Marrit Leenstra took silver and Czech European Sprint champion Karolina Erbanova grabbed the bronze medal.

Bergsma had skated 1:15.42 to win Friday’s race. When Leenstra stopped the clock at 1:15.45 in the penultimate pair, she may have hoped that it would be good enough for gold. It wasn’t. Bergsma was faster at the 200m and the 600m split and managed to keep her speed throughout the final lap to finish in 1:15.08. Erbanova had skated 1:15.50, and Bergsma’s Japanese pair mate Miho Takagi was fourth in 1:16.01 (4).

Bergsma retained the lead in the 1000m World Cup ranking with 500 points. Leenstra is second with 406 points and Takagi third with 386 points.

Maiden win for Verbij
After Dutch Kjeld Nuis had won Saturday’s 1000m in a track record of 1:08.25, he decided to go home and skip the second 1000m in Berlin on Sunday. His compatriot Kai Verbij, who won silver on Saturday, took advantage and secured his first career individual World Cup gold medal when he clocked 1:09.08 on Sunday.

Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen took his maiden individual World Cup podium place when he came third on Saturday, and he was promoted to silver on Sunday. The Norwegian crossed the line in 1:09.23. Nico Ihle took revenge for his disappointing 500m when he took bronze in the 1000m. The home favorite was the only one on the podium to skate a faster 1000m time than he had done the day before, when he came eighth in 1:09.64.

Nuis is still on top of the 1000m World Cup ranking. He collected 400 points. Verbij is second with 370 points and Canada’s Vincent De Haitre, who finished sixth in 1:09.28 on Sunday, is third with 320 points.

Wüst ends Sáblíková’s ten race winning streak
Ireen Wüst is ready for the World Single Distance Championships in Gangneung in February. After grabbing a back-to-back win in the 1500m on Saturday, the Dutchwoman broke Martina Sáblíková’s streak of ten 3000m World Cup wins on Sunday. Wüst stopped the clock at 4:01.77, Sáblíková took silver in 4:02.38 and Russian Anna Yurakova collected bronze in 4:04.64.

Wüst started in the third pair and she didn’t hold back. The 2014 Olympic 3000m champion clocked the fastest opener of the field with 19.44, followed by two sub-31, and two sub-32 laps. She struggled with 32.1, 33.0 and 33.7 in the last three laps, and had to fear for Sáblíková’s famous stamina in the final pair. The Czech long distance specialist started slower, with 20.27, followed by four sub 32 laps, but she managed to hold on to her sub 32 pace throughout the race. Her effort came a little too late however. Even her unmatched 31.9 final lap was not enough to make up for the lost time in the first half of the race.

With four gold and one silver medal (480 points) Sáblíková still firmly leads the 3000/5000m World Cup ranking. Yurakova is second with 305 points and Claudia Pechstein, who finished ninth in 4:07.23 on Sunday, is third with 247 points.

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