Pair of Americans races to gold in KazakhstanDavis stays unbeaten on season in 1,000; Bowe wins first World Cup 1,500
U.S. skaters Shani Davis and Brittany Bowe were golden on the second day of the World Cup in Astana.
Ladies 500 meters
Sang-Hwa Lee of Korea notched her second 500-meter victory of this weekend, although in a slightly slower-than-usual time of 37.32. Germany's Jenny Wolf again took second place, with a time of 37.66, and Olga Fatkulina of Russia finished third in 37.81. Friday's bronze medal winner Nao Kodaira of Japan did not compete in the 500 on Saturday as she was due to start in the 1,500 less than an hour later. Lee leads the World Cup with 600 points, with Wolf following with 408 and American Heather Richardson at 360.
Men's 500 meters
Two Russians, Artyom Kuznetsov and the very experienced Dmitry Lobkov, battled for national honor in the surprisingly competitive fifth pair. Kuznetsov opened a little faster than Lobkov, in 9.63 (versus 9.72), but Lobkov made up most of the difference with a 25.1 lap (versus 25.2). The result was that both skaters were below the old track record. Kuznetsov took the victory with 34.85; Lobkov finished in 34.86. Nobody after that had a faster lap than Lobkov, or a faster time. The closest was Ronald Mulder of the Netherlands, who opened in 9.59 and a lap of 25.2, which resulted in 34.87 and bronze. Mulder increased his World Cup lead on Korea's Tae-Bum Mo, who finished only ninth here. In the absence of Canada's Jamie Gregg, Ronald's brother, Michel, took over third place in the ranking.
Ladies 1,500 meters
The top-ranked skaters, Ireen Wüst and Lotte van Beek, both of the Netherlands, did not travel to Astana, and Richardson did not compete, giving Bowe of the U.S. the opportunity to take over the lead in the ranking. In pair five, Brittany Schussler of Canada opened in 26.5, gained 0.3 in the first lap, then lost 0.2 in the second and another full second in the last. Her time of 1:57.78 was just good enough for her to take the lead. Nobody else managed to break 1:58 until the last pair, featuring Bowe and Julia Skokova of Russia. Bowe opened a second faster than Schussler, and Skokova was not far behind. Although they did not manage to keep up that pace, they did not give up all of their advantage. Bowe took the victory in 1:57.28; Skokova was second in 1:57.70. Bowe now leads the World Cup ranking with 199 points, Wüst is second (180), and Skokova sits third (162).
Men's 1,000 meters
This race was also missing a few of the top skaters of the past weeks, notably Brian Hansen of the U.S. and Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis, but World Cup leader Shani Davis was present, and again the American won. Italy's Mirko Giacomo Nenzi was paired with track record holder Stefan Groothuis, and both produced a good race, but in the final lap, Nenzi surprised with a strong finish. His 1:08.90 was only 0.05 off the track record. In pair nine, Michel Mulder had the fastest start of the day with 16.34, and then lost a little to Nenzi, finishing in 1:09.02. In the 10th and last pair, Davis used the final lap (26.3) to make the difference. He took the track record in 1:08.66. Mulder's time held up for the bronze. It was Nenzi's first podium finish in a World Cup. Davis now has the maximum 300 points, Nuis is second with 160, and Michel Mulder moved up to third with 152 points.