Sven Kramer (NED) won gold in the men’s 5000m at the ISU World Cup speed skating in Calgary on Friday to maintain his unbeaten record after three long-distance races this season, once again consigning rival Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) to silver. Patrick Beckert (GER) took the bronze.
Before the race, Kramer spoke about breaking the world record of 6 minutes, 3.32 seconds he set in Calgary 10 years ago.
“I hope this time will be gone by next week, and broken by me, of course,” Kramer said last week.
When he started in the final pairing against Bloemen, he already knew a world record was not possible this weekend.
“The ice was fast all right, but the others did not skate under 6:10 and that was a sign that 6:03 was not going to be easy,” he explained after the race.
“It all depends on the conditions – the ice, the air pressure and my own condition. I’m all right physically, although I’ve just been here one week and usually you see that skaters flying over here from Europe tend to be better in the second North American World Cup tournament.”
Kramer will not be present in Salt Lake City to prove that next week. He will be attending a training camp to prepare for the Dutch Olympic qualification tournament.
Bloemen lost for the third consecutive World Cup event in a head-to-head battle with Kramer in the final race.
Apart from Kramer, he was the only skater to beat the 6:10 barrier with 6:08.54. Bronze medallist Beckert finished in 6:10.80.
Despite again being beaten by Kramer, Bloemen was happy with his performance:
“The last two weeks I have been a little bit sick and I lost my feel with the ice a bit, so I’m mostly happy that I was able to bring it back like this and be this competitive again,” he said.
He is confident that he can close the gap on Kramer as they head towards the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in February.
“I’m happy to be closer and closer, and in a season like this, these are not the races that really count. There’s only one race that really counts and that’s the Olympics.
“My training program is made in a way that I should be at my best in February, so I should have a little bit in the bank still.”