Calgary shows to be superfast again at 3rd World Cup - News


With the 2018 Winter Olympics little over two months away, the speed skaters travelled to the Olympic Oval in Calgary for the third weekend in the World Cup. Our skaters performed very well again, winning 11 medals over the weekend.  

Sprintgold Alex Boisvert-Lacroix
Alex Boisvert-Lacroix could celebrate his first victory in the World Cup. The 30-year old Canadian was the big man on the 500 meters on home soil in Calgary.

It was a bit of a messy 500 meters though, with breaks caused by crashes and the following repairs of the ice. Boisvert-Lacroix wasn't bothered by that. He started in the third pairing and raced to a magnificent time. His 34,31 however was exactly the same as the Korean Min Kyu Cha one race before him. It needed some calculating, but Boisvert-Lacroix turned out to be exactly one thousand of a second faster than the Korean.

A minimal difference with huge consequences. Because Boisvert-Lacroix saw how one rider after another could not beat his time. Mike Poutala didn't, Ronald Mulder in the last pairing also couldn't make it. So in the end Alex Boisvert-Lacroix could really celebrate his first gold medal in the World Cup.

Ted-Jan Bloemen threatens Kramer
A magnificent race on the 5000 meters, but in the end it was again Sven Kramer who won the gold. But in the Olympic Oval it was clear to all that Ted-Jan Bloemen really has the potential to hurt the world champion on "his" 5k.

The Dutch Canadian proves this season to be the biggest challenger of Sven Kramer. Bloemen doesn't settle for the silver behind the Dutchman, but tries to challenge him whenever and wherever he can. Bloemen (31) choose to attack Kramer in Calgary. When he accelerated, Bloemen left Kramer behind for a while, but the Dutchman answered in style and so both riders pushed eachother to the limit.

Kramer won the race in 6.07,04, Bloemen followed in 6.08,45. But it is clear that the Canadian closes in on Kramer with each race, and that is very interesting regarding the approaching Olympics. Bloemen did win his third silver medal in this World Cup.

Mika Poutala: bronze and fifth
With 34 years of age Mika Poutala ca call himself a veteran amongst the sprinters. But that does not keep the Fin from battling for the medals on a regular basis. In Calgary he once again was successful with that.

Mika Poutala battled on the ice with Dai Dai Ntab, and the Finnish rider won that fight in 34,38. It meant the third place at that time behind Boisvert-Lacroix and Kyu Cha, with still five pairings to come on to the ice. But nobody managed to beat the time Poutala had set. It meant another bronze medal for Poutala.

On the 1000 meters Poutala also showed there is nothing wrong with his form at the moment. The rider from Helsinki had a great battle with Russian Alexey Yesin, whom he beat with three hundreds of a second: 1.07,47. The fastest time sofar, but in the remaining pairings there were a lot of fast men. Vincent de Haitre was the first to beat Poutala's time. Nuis, Lorentzen and Verbij even broke the barrier of 1.06 and moved Poutala to fifth place.

Canada: gold in world record time
The Canadian men appear to be in great shape just two months before te start ofthe Olympics. They demonstrated that once again with a gold medal in the - not yet Olympic - event of the teamsprint. The Canadian foursome Gilmore Junio, Laurent Dubreuil, Vincent de Haitre and Alexandre St-Jean raced towards a sparkling world record. Nobody ever was faster than their 1.17,31. It brought them gold, of course. The Canadians were almost a second faster than the Russians and more than a second faster than the Dutch.

Giant leaps for Yu-Ting Huang
Two seasons ago Yu-Ting Huang could just finish the 1000 meters within one minute and 37 seconds. Last year, she already broke 1.20 and in Calgary the skater from Chinese Taipeh again crushed all of her records.

Until now Yu-Ting Huang only had some fame as an inline-skater. She won the bronze medal on the marathon during the 2013 World Championships, just behind Italian Francesca Lollobrigida and Dutch Manon Kamminga. A great result, but on the ice there seems to be even more possible for the 29-year old Huang. Her progress is spectacular.

On the ice of the Olympic Oval Yu-Ting Huang set the seventh time om the 1000 meters. With 1.13,97 she was over a second faster than the Dutch riders Lotte van Beek en Sanneke de Neeling, just to mention a few names. Her personal best before the World Cup in Calgary was 1.16,06, which she achieved during the World Cup in Heerenveen, earlier this season. She took over two seconds of that time.

Also on the 500 meters her personal best went to pieces. Yu-Ting Huang improved herself in the B Division, where she ended up fourth. But she improved herself with over seven tenth of a second. Giant leaps in the world of sprinters. If she goes on like this, Huang will find herself at the podium somewhere this season.

Claudia Pechstein wins mass-start
Claudia Pechstein has more qualities than just a great 5000 meters. The 45-year old German was even able to win the mass-start in Calgary. In the sprint Pechstein was alittle biut faster than Danish Elena Moeller Rigas, who won the silver by staying just in front of Japanese Nana Takagi.

A special victory for Pechstein. The mass-start is normally dominated by Dutch, Canadian and Asian skaters, who are also a lot younger than Pechstein.

Just behind the top three finished Saskia Alusalu from Estonia. The 23-year old rider raced smart. She won the first two sprints, which earned her ten points. Those were enough to leave for example the faster Italian Lollobrigida behind her.

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