Erfurt / Germany

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Karolina Erbanova (CZE) refused to get carried way after winning the ladies 500m at the ISU World Cup in Erfurt on Friday. “This is a funny distance,” she said. “There are maybe eight or 10 girls who can medal at every World Cup.” 

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Erbanova beat Vanessa Herzog (AUT) in the 10th and final pair when she stopped the clock at 37.82 seconds at the Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann-Halle. Herzog was just 0.10 slower to take the silver medal.

“That was quite a good race if you take into account that I have been ill the whole week,” said Herzog.  

“It’s just a bad cough. It’s not really bad, otherwise I would not have raced here today. Tomorrow I’ll skate another 500m and maybe the 1000m on Sunday, but I don’t want to race too much because I want to get well as soon as I can to train for the (Olympic) Games.”

Like Herzog, Erbanova gained confidence in the build-up to PyeongChang 2018. 

“In the sprint many girls feel they have a shot at the podium. It’s nice to know that I’m up there with them,” said the Czech, who took advantage of the absence of World Cup leader Nao Kodaira (JPN). 

“She has been very good this season, no doubt. She’s stable in every race, she doesn’t make any mistakes. Let’s see what happens. I do not focus on my opponents. It’s better to focus on yourself. The best way to improve is to look at your last race and try to beat yourself to do it better the next day.”

Erbanova and Herzog were the only racers to beat the 38-second barrier in Erfurt on Friday. Russia’s Angelina Golikova took the 500m bronze in 38.10.

Kodaira still leads the World Cup with 700 points. Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR), who was also absent in Erfurt, is second with 510 while Erbanova climbed to third place with 466 points. 

Full results and classifications. Follow the discussion on social media by using #WCSpeed and #SpeedSkating and watch the live stream on the ISU Skating Channel.