'Golden' Erfurt hosts succesful World Cup - News


World Cup Erfurt
The last international meeting of the speed skating top before the start of the 2018 Olympics took place in Erfurt, Germany. There the candidates for Olympic medals already showed themselves.

First gold medals Vanessa Herzog
Vanessa Herzog has tasted winning and obviously likes it. The 22-year old skater from Austria won the 500 meters two weeks ago during the European Championships in Kolomna and went on winning in Erfurt. She took gold for the very first time in a World Cup, and followed it up by a second one straightaway.

The start was a little bit shaky. Herzog didn't feel well the last days before the World Cup, and that affected her first 500 meters. Nevertheless she won silver. Only Karolina Erbanova (37,82) was faster than her 37,92. After that Herzog decided to skip the first 1000 meters.

One day later Herzog was already more recovered and that showed. On the second 500 meters she won her first gold medal in a World Cup race ever. She raced towards a time of 37,88 and that was enough for a personal highlight. This she beat Erbanova (37,96).

Herzog didn't have to wait long for her second win. Only one day later she hit the jackpot again. This time on the 1000 meters. In pair twelve she put up a great fight with Norwegian Hege Bokko, who was eventually also the only one staying close to Herzog. The Austrian clocked 1.15,26, Bokko finished in 1.15,52.

,,I could easily get used to winning", Herzog said with a laugh. But she downplayed her words immediately. ,,I do know it is not always like this. Today I felt very good and was faster than on the first day."

Winning 500 meters Lorentzen

Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen left Erfurt with two medals. The 25-year old Norwegian is in a great shape for weeks and showed this again in Germany.

On the first 500 meters the skater from Bergen almost won a bronze medal as well. He finished in 35,10, which was exactly the same as Artyom Kuznetsov. Only did the Russian need twee thousands more and Lorentzen five. It meant fourth place for the Norwegian.

Revenge came on the second 500 meters, where Lorentzen was faster than all the others. He raced towards a time of 34,85, exactly one tenth of a second faster than Jan Smeekens, with which he took the gold.

On the final 1000 meters Lorentzen was again close to a gold medal, but this time Dutchman Kjeld Nuis had other plans. He won in 1.08,40, just before the 1.08,66 from Lorentzen, who won the silver.

,,The first two races were a little off, but the last two were very good", Lorentzen analysed. He also created more distance with his rivals in the classification of the World Cup on the 500 meters. ,,That's important, although it's all about the Olympics now. I think I am good enough to have a shot at the medals."

Golden 5000 meters Pedersen

Sverre Lunde Pedersen brought Norway a rare gold medal on the 5000 meters. Rarem, because this distance is since long time dominated by the Dutch skaters, with this year also the Dutch Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen as a rival. But the best Dutch skaters were not present in Erfurt. Bloemen was, but he finished third in 6.17,11.

Pedersen raced a pair earlier against the Italian Nicola Tumolero, who is doing well on the longer distances this season. The two made it a great race, in which Pedersen crossed the finish line first in 6.14,66. Tumolero's 6.16,11 was in the end the second fastest time. In the classification of the World Cup 5k Pedersen moved into third place, behind Bloemen en Sven Kramer.

First victory Blondin on single distance

In the final races of the World Cup in Erfurt, Ivanie Blondin caused a huge surprise. For the first time in her career the Canadian skater won a gold medal on a single distance in the World Cup. In Erfurt she ruled the 3000 meters.

Blondin had to do it all by herself in. German veteran Claudia Pechstein was of no help in her race. But Blondin proved not only to be a candidate for a medal on the mass-start, but also on the 3k. She finished in 4.04,86, but had to wait how Martina Sablikova would perform in the final pair. But the Czech skater is not yet in her best shape. She clocked 4.05,91, which meant a bronze medal. Dutch Antoinette de Jong came in second with 4.05,45.

Poutala in best shape of his life

Mika Poutala will be a man to watch during the Olympics in PyeongChang. The man from Helsinki will turn 35 this year, but seems to be in the best shape of his life. He showed that again in Erfurt, where he was close to the gold on the second 1000 meters.

Victory was for Kjeld Nuis again with 1.08,57, and Hein Otterspeer won the silver in 1.08,96. But Poutala was very close to that with 1.08,99. An almost negligible difference, which could easily be turned around during the Olympics. One bad stroke can change the result completely, and with his experience, Poutala could easily be the one to benefit from that.


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