Davis, Hansen make 1,000-meter podium in CalgaryAmericans finish second in men's team pursuit
On the second day of the long track World Cup event in Calgary, Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) skated a world record in the ladies 500m of 36.74 and the Dutch men also set a world-record time of 3:37.17 in the team pursuit.
In Saturday's A-division, there were 19 personal-best times, including NRs for the Czech Republic (Martina Sábliková, 1:54.44), Kazakhstan (Denis Kuzin, 1:07.71), Korea (Lee, 36.74), Norway (Ida Njåtun, 1:55.17) and Russia (Olga Fatkulina, 37.52; Yekaterina Lobysheva, 1:54.66).
The ladies started with their second 500m race. The three skaters on the podium on Friday stood there again Saturday. Beixing Wang (CHN) recorded a time of 37.30, Jenny Wolf (GER) 37.18 and Lee (KOR) -- who, on Friday, skated the second-fastest 500m ever by a woman -- did even better Saturday. She opened in 10.21, 0.1 faster than the first race, and followed that with a 26.5 lap, also 0.1 better than the first race. This resulted in an incredible new world-record time of 36.74.
The men's 1000m was delayed slightly after Canadian skater William Dutton, racing in the second pair, fell and cut his upper right leg with the blade of his left skate. First aid was given on the ice, and fortunately the injury was not as severe as it initially appeared. The races continued with Brian Hansen (USA) in the following pair. Despite the delay, he managed a personal best time of 1:07.64. This came after he won the B-division 1,500m Friday in the third-best time of that day.
World champion Kuzin (KAZ) came close with 1:07.71, a national record, which was enough for fourth place. Koen Verweij (NED) was fifth in the same time.
The final pair brought the winner. World record-holder Shani Davis (USA) skated against Kjeld Nuis (NED), who Friday won bronze in the 1,000m. Nuis opened faster than Davis, but the American hauled him back on the first lap and, with a good last turn and a 25.7 last lap, overtook him to win in 1:07.46. Nuis's 1:07.56 was a personal-best time that brought him silver. Hansen took the bronze.
"I am more focused and really happy with where I stand right now," Davis said. "Last year, I was injured, but that has brought me mental strength and humility. I do what I have to do and am taking out what I don't need to do."
The ladies 1,500m races have only had three winners since Kristina Groves in 2010: Christine Nesbitt (CAN), Ireen Wüst (NED) and Marrit Leenstra (NED).
Saturday changed that.
When the favorites started, in the last two pairs, Martina Sábliková (CZE)was leading with 1:54.44, a Czech record time. Nesbitt was paired with Lotte van Beek (NED), who had never gone faster than 1:56.11 but was not intimidated by Nesbitt's reputation. Nesbitt had the fastest opening of the day, 25.19, but followed it with a 28.2, while Van Beek's 27.6 took her into the lead. This seemed to make Nesbitt nervous. Her lap times went up to 29.8 and 31.9, whereas Van Beek posted times of 28.9 and 30.8 to take the lead in a huge personal best of 1:52.95. Nesbitt finished in 1:55.18, which was only good enough for 7th place.
Wüst and Leenstra were the final pair. Leenstra opened faster than Wüst, although not as fast as Van Beek, but Wüst continued stronger after a 27.9 first lap, with 28.8 and 30.8. Wüst took second place with 1:53.30, and Leenstra finished with 1:54.59 in fourth.
Thus, Van Beek got her first World Cup victory.
"Last year, I finished twice in second place, but Wüst was so much faster then," Van Beek said. "That triggered me. I am really happy with this time. I am especially happy with my first full lap. It was tough, but I could keep skating well until the end."
Men's team pursuit
Teams from 14 countries competed in the men's team pursuit. Team USA with Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Trevor Marsicano skated well and almost set a world record with 3:38.66. This time set the pace until the final pair, when the Dutch (Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij) and Korean (Seung-Hoon Lee, Hyung-Joon Joo and Cheol-Min Kim) teams raced against each other. The Koreans matched the tempo of the Dutch in the first half of the race. Then the Dutch, who started carefully and after five laps were 1.44 behind the U.S. times, managed to seize the initiative. In the last two laps, they secured the win as well as an improvement to their own world record, which now stands at 3:37.17. The Korean team finished in third position with 3:40.53.
"We had not expected that we would have to skate that fast to win and planned on a world record rather next week," Kramer said.