Wüst and Kramer take Allround Titles

- Hamar, Norway

It did not come easy, but Dutch Ireen Wüst managed to recapture the World Allround Title after a two-year reign by Martina Sáblíkova. The Czech came second and Miho Takagi (JPN) hung in to take the bronze medal on Day 2. In the Men’s tournament Sven Kramer (NED) topped an all-Dutch podium, with Patrick Roest and Jan Blokhuijsen taking silver and bronze at the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships.

Wüst shrugs off Takagi in final distance
Wüst won her sixth World Allround crown after previous titles in 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 30-year-old Dutchwoman also took her 11th World Allround Medal to equal Claudia Pechstein’s (GER) record. Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann (GER) is still record champion with eight titles in total.

Before the tournament title defender Sáblíkova seemed to be Wüst’s most likely title rival, but after Day 1 Miho Takagi surprisingly topped the classification. The Japanese skater managed to defend her leading position in a fierce 1500m battle with Wüst.

Wüst won the 1500m in 1:55.49, but she still had to make up another 0.95 seconds in the 5000m to overhaul Takagi in the final classification. The Japanese skater finished second in the 1500m in 1:55.81 and Sáblíková was third in 1:56.15.

Antoinette de Jong came seventh in the 1500m (1:56.77), but remained in bronze medal position, with fourth placed Sáblíková within striking distance.

Wüst faced Sáblíková in the penultimate pair of the final 5000m. She had to set a high bar for Takagi, who would face De Jong in the final pair, and she defended a 12.60 lead over her Czech arch rival and an 11.77 lead over De Jong. Sáblíková won the 5000m in 6:54.57, but Wüst’s 7:00.86 was more than enough to hold off the title defender.

Takagi had to skate almost three seconds faster than her personal best to stay ahead of Wüst and that proved to be a bridge too far. Skating against De Jong, she finished sixth in the 5000m in 7:10.14. Not only did Takagi bow her head for Wüst, Sáblíková also overtook the Japanese skater in the ranking to grab the Allround silver medal. Takagi did manage to keep De Jong at bay in the battle for the Allround bronze. De Jong clocked the third 5000m time in 7:02.62, but dropped off the Allround podium in the final distance.

Kramer never in doubt
Sven Kramer’s record extending ninth World Allround title was never in doubt on Sunday. His 21-year-old team mate Patrick Roest proved to be his main rival, but the pupil never seriously threatened his master.

Denis Yuskov started the day with a superb 1500m. With 1:44.41 the former 1500m World Champion came close to Shani Davis’ (USA) 2009 track record (1.44,27) to take the distance win. The Russian, who had started the Allround tournament because countryman Sergey Gryaztsov was ill, chose not to skate the final 10,000m however.

Kramer and Roest faced each other in the final pair of the 1500m. Roest challenged his older team mate in a thrilling race, but Kramer grabbed second place in the 1500m with 1:45.78. Roest was third in the 1500m with 1:45.88.

Jan Blokhuijsen only finished fifteenth in the 1500m (1:48.27), but he managed to hold on to third place in the ranking ahead of the final 10,000m. He was more than 22 seconds behind Kramer and more than 19 seconds behind Roest.

Sverre Lunde Pedersen was fourth in the 1500m (1:46.23), and still in contention for the Allround bronze. Skating on home ice the Norwegian had to gain 5.64 on Blokhuijsen in the 10,000m for a podium place, but the Dutchman had recovered well from his disappointing 1500m to beat Pedersen in the penultimate pair of the final distance. Blokhuijsen set 13:13.39 for second place in the 10,000m, to leave Pedersen more than eleven seconds behind.

Kramer won the final distance in 13:10.45, with Roest coming third in 13:21.11, his fourth personal best of the weekend. 

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