Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) clinched his career first 5000m World Cup gold in a track record time of six minutes and 14.66 seconds in Erfurt on Saturday. Italy’s Nicola Tumolero took his first individual World Cup podium with silver, while world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) had to settle for bronze.
Pedersen and Tumolero faced each other in the penultimate pair and they immediately showed that they meant business. They were the only skaters with a sub 48-second split after 600m.
Pedersen was a little ahead throughout the race and he managed to keep his lap times under 30 seconds until the final lap. His finishing time was more than a second faster than the track record of 6:16.02 set in 2009 by Sven Kramer (NED), the Dutch World and Olympic Champion who skipped Erfurt to prepare for PyeongChang next month.
Pedersen is also in preparation for the Olympics and, despite Friday’s 1500m silver and Saturday’s 5000m gold, does not yet feel at the top of his game in Erfurt.
“I was feeling a little tired before the weekend, because I have done a lot of training for a couple of weeks now,” he said. “It came a little bit as a surprise that I was able to skate that fast now, but I have been skating better in the second half of the season since I was a kid. So I hope to continue that this year.”
Tumolero stopped the clock at 6:16.11. The Italian, who won European 5000m gold two weeks ago, had team pursuit silver and bronze medals to his name, but had never before clinched silverware in an individual World Cup race.
Bloemen, who clocked 6:17.11 in the final pair, was not concerned at losing to Pedersen and Tumolero.
“This was a good race with a flat schedule,” he said. “I’m happy with it. I only arrived here form Canada two days ago, so I did not expect too much. I came here to skate a solid race and to qualify for the World Allround Championships. That worked out pretty well.”
Bloemen retained the World Cup lead with 410 points. Kramer is second with 300 points and Pedersen climbed to third place with 295 points.