Salt Lake City / United States

The world record may have been expected, but the name was a surprise. Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) destroyed Sven Kramer and Jorrit Bergsma (NED) with 13:36.60 to beat Kramer’s WR by almost five seconds in the Men’s 10,000m.

Heather Richardson-Bergsma (USA) made up for a dramatic day for Team Clafis, when she concluded Saturday’s A division races in a Ladies’ 1500m World record time of 1:50.85.

Hong Zhang (CHN) grabbed her second Ladies’ 500m win of the weekend in 36.82, when she beat Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) again on the second day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Salt Lake City and Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) won the Men’s 1000m in a Russian national record of 1:06.70.

Canadian surprise
“I thought I had a world record in my legs”, said Ted-Jan Bloemen after he surprised the world with his superb 10,000m gold medal. “But there was yet one pair to go (after his own race) and I never thought I could win”, Bloemen added. Olympic champion Jorrit Bergsma faced Sochi silver medallist Sven Kramer in the final pair.

Bergsma tried to match Bloemen’s pace, and even was a little ahead of the Canadian at the 6000m point, but he couldn’t keep his lap times even and finally collapsed entirely. “I never broke the way I did here”, Bergsma said. “Usually I should be able to carry that pace home, but with three laps to go I just couldn’t round the corners anymore. I don’t know what went wrong.”

Kramer was behind Bergsma the whole race, but kept an eye on his rival and saw him struggle: “When he broke down, I could catch up”, he said. Bloemen’s world record stayed out of sight however. Kramer took the silver medal in 12:44.26 and Bergsma bronze in 12:53.99. “I didn’t dare to watch so I went out of the hall to do a cooling-down. When I got back, I saw that their lap times were getting up. I’m super happy”, Bloemen concluded.

Both Kramer and Bergsma were a little surprised by Bloemen’s performance, but they knew the Canadian was strong. Kramer said: “It sure is a surprise, but Bloemen had shown good form in the pre-season already and he skated a fast 5000m in Calgary too.”

Former Dutchman Bloemen said that he found stability in Canada after struggling to find a new team every year in The Netherlands. Kramer praised Bloemen’s choice for Canada: “I don’t want to downplay Ted-Jan’s performance at all, but he has lived at this altitude for two years now. He made that choice deliberately. That’s very good, that’s sport too.”

In Bloemen’s shadow pair mate Patrick Beckert (GER) set a German national record in 12:55.01 to end up fourth. Bart Swings (BEL), Peter Michael (NZL) and Andrea Giovannini (ITA) also improved national records. The Belgian ended up fifth in 12:57.31 and Michael, who never skated a 10,000m before, crushed Shane Dobbin’s 13.04,36 NR from 2011 when he crossed the line in 12:58.07 to finish 6th.  Giovannini lowered the mark of Enrico Fabris from 2006 and brought it to 13:07.20.

In the B Division Bob de Vries (NED) set a personal record in 12:43.61, which would had gotten him silver in the A Division. With 12:51.92  Arjan Stroetinga (NED) would also have made it to the podium in the A Division.

Kramer still leads the long distance World Cup with 180 points. Bloemen climbed to second place with 170 points and Bergsma is third with 150 points.

Podium copy of Friday
Hong Zhang faced Sang-Hwa Lee again in the final Ladies’ 500m pair on Saturday. Like on Friday the Chinese sprinter started slower, but this time she didn’t seem to be able to catch up. Lee was ahead well into the final straight, but Zhang beat her on the line with a 0.01 margin in 36.82. Brittany Bowe (USA) skated 37.08 to complete the exact same podium as the day before. Bowe defeated Heather Richardson-Bergsma (USA), 37.23, who ended up fourth, but took revenge in the 1500m later in the afternoon.

The top ladies couldn’t match their Friday times, but five others managed to skate a personal best in the A Division on Saturday.

Zhang leads the World Cup with 380 points, ahead of Lee (320) and Bowe (280).

Russian record for Kulizhnikov  
After becoming the fastest man on ice with 33.98 in Friday’s 500m, Pavel Kulizhnikov kept his form in the 1000m on Saturday. He was the only one to skate below 1:07 when he clocked a new Russian record of 1:06.70 in the final pair. His pair mate Gerben Jorritsma (NED) finished in 1:07.23 to take the bronze medal and Kjeld Nuis (NED) took silver in 1:07.02. Nuis, who won Friday’s 1500m, started a bit too slow but took advantage of pair mate Joey Mantia (USA) at the crossover twice to equal his personal best time. Mantia ended up seventh in a personal best time of 1:07.47.

Vincent De Haître (CAN) and Kai Verbij (NED) battled the closest race, both finishing in a personal best of 1:07.45. De Haître appeared to have finished 0.003 before Verbij to end up fifth. Verbij had to settle for sixth place. Shani Davis (USA), who took 1500m bronze on Friday, ended up fourth with 1:07.37 in the 1000m on Saturday.

In the B-division there were NRs for Vitalij Mikhailov (BLR, 1:09.97), Konrad Nagy (HUN, 1:09.51) and Christian Oberbichler (SUI, 1:10,90)

Kulizhnikov retained the lead with 180 points in the 1000m World Cup. Jorritsma is second with 170 points and Nuis third with 150 points.

World record for Richardson
Heather Richardson had to swallow another 500m defeat by compatriot Brittany Bowe on Saturday, but she hit back in the 1500m. The two American ladies fought a fierce battle in the final pair, with Richardson leading by a small margin all the way to finish in 1:50.85 versus 1:51.31 for Bowe, who also skated a personal best time.

Team Clafis coach Jillert Anema (NED) was emotional after Heather Richardson’s 1500m world record. He saw Richardson’s teammate and husband collapse in the 10,000m and his other pupils did not impress either. “We had Alexis (Contin, FRA), who had been to Taiwan (World Championships Inline Skating), which he shouldn’t do any more. We had Erik Jan Kooiman (NED) starting his 10,000m at world record pace, which he shouldn’t do any more, and then we had Jorrit (Bergsma) falling apart like he did in the 10,000m. And now Heather (Richardson) manages to win the mother of all distances, the 1500m, in a new world record, that’s fantastic.”

As best of the rest Martina Sábliková took the bronze medal well behind the American couple in a Czech record time. Misaki Oshigiri (JPN) was sixth in a new Japanese record of 1:54.10 and Vanesse Bittner sharpened the Austrian record to 1:55.05, finishing 11th.