Salt Lake City / USA

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In a battle of the Russian giants Ruslan Murashov defeated Pavel Kulizhnikov to win the Men’s 500m in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Dutchmen Kai Verbij and Dai Dai Ntab took silver and bronze.

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Murashov managed to beat Kulizhnikov in a head-to-head battle, but just failed to depose him as the fastest man ever in the 500m. Clocking a personal best of 34.02 seconds, Murashov was only 0.04 away from Kulizhnikov’s world record.

Kulizhnikov finished in 34.16 to take fourth place.

Skating in the sixth pair, after Murashov had already set the bar, Ntab had the fastest opener of the field clocking 9.51. The Dutchman was a little slower than Murashov in the full lap, but still finished in a personal best 34.15, second position at that moment. 

“My opener was good, but I was beaten in the full laps this weekend,” Ntab said.

“It was a good race, but I was a little surprised that Kai (Verbij) had to edge me out by 0.02 seconds.”

Ntab was a little disconcerted about the gap between Murashov and the rest of the field.

“I’m not disappointed because of losing, but the gap is too big,” he said.

In the ninth pair, Verbij did not open as fast as his compatriot and Team Plantina teammate, but like Murashhov he was faster in the full lap to clock 34.13.

He knew why Murashov was faster in Salt Lake City: “In the previous high-altitude races he started in the outside, finishing on the inside. This time it was the other way around, which is an advantage for a big guy like him. He just skated a very good race.”

Verbij was happy with his own race too: “My opener was 9.6 for the first time this season, which is like a milestone for me. The full lap was good as well. I was a little surprised about my time, I don’t think I can pull this off four times in a row.”

Ronald Mulder (NED) retained his lead in the World Cup ranking with 416 points. The Dutchman finished seventh in 34.22 on Saturday.

Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR), who took 12th place in 34.41, is still second with 376 points and Verbij is third with 368 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.