After winning his first individual World Cup gold in the 500m in Calgary last week, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (CAN) immediately added another on the opening day in Salt Lake City on Friday as he set a season best time of 34.15 seconds.
The Men’s 500m was fast and furious with three national records and the season’s best was bettered three times.
Dai Dai Ntab (NED) was the first to beat the 34.31 that Boisvert-Lacroix clocked last week in Calgary. The Dutchman finished in 34.26, but he had to settle for fourth place eventually.
Mika Poutala (FIN) also set a new season’s best when he finished in a new Finnish national record of 34.17 in the seventh pair. He ended up with a silver medal. Ronald Mulder (NED) took the bronze with 34.22 in the final pair.
With the high speeds in Salt Lake City many skaters had difficulties holding the final inner corner. World record holder Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) drifted way into the outer corner, which cost him dearly. The Russian clocked 34.40 to finish ninth.
Poutala attributed his medal and national record to a magnificent final inner corner.
“I have been skating really fast this fall in training, so I knew the feeling," he said. "But I haven’t skated that fast in a race yet. To go this fast and be able to hold that final inner is amazing.
“I was a little bit struggling in the first two World Cups this season and I changed blades after that. Since then I have been skating really good and I got the confidence back.”
Boisvert-Lacroix said of his consecutive victories: “We haven’t seen this in a while. I think Pavel (Kulizhnikov) was the last one to win back-to-back. It’s nice to be on the same level as him to be able to do that.
“It’s really hard to go on after a win, recompose and come back to a race. Today I felt amazing, even in my warm-up I felt I had it. I knew I was going for a personal best. To win today, I needed a personal best.
“I don’t want to be cocky, but it wasn’t a perfect race. At my entry in the second corner, I did an extra two steps. I was able to recover because I’m a short-tracker, I can correct almost everything. But maybe I could have skated a 34.0 without that mistake.”