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Third gold of the season for Russian Denis Yuskov

Credit: ISU

Third gold of the season for Russian Denis Yuskov

Yuskov out in front
Yuskov skated his first international race after six weeks of training in Kolomna, Russia. He finished in 1 minute, 44.95 seconds to stay well clear of the rest of the field. He said: "Of course I know not everyone is here, but I know I'm in good condition now. This race was very important for me to get back into the racing rhythm after a long training camp."

With 1:46.28 Bøkko was 1.33s slower than Yuskov. Kim Min-Seok (KOR) took bronze in 1:46.39.

Bøkko said: "This is my best 1500m in years. Actually I don't even remember when my last individual World Cup podium was." Looking forward to the World Single Distance Championships the Norwegian was realistic. "Some of the fastest 1500m skaters, [Kjeld] Nuis, [Thomas] Krol and [Patrick] Roest are not here so this doesn’t put me into a favorite's role for next week. I focus on the Team Pursuit."

One-hand-down Kulizhnikov takes second gold
In the 500m it was gold and silver for Russia. Pavel Kulizhnikov won his second race of the weekend in 34.78s. Ruslan Murashov (RUS) came second in 34.82s and Saturday's silver medalist Kim Jun-Ho (KOR) took bronze in 34.84s.

Kulizhnikov was a little slower than he had been on Saturday. He said: "I actually did not want to skate today, to save energy for next week's World Championships, but I decided to do it anyway. I hoped that it would be an easy race, but it was not because my pair-mate [Kim Jun-Ho] was very strong. In the end I pushed hard in the first 100 meters and in the last 100 meters and that proved to be enough."

The Russian seemed to have trouble staying on his feet on the inner corner: "That was not a mistake, just a little Short Track trick – one hand on the ice to stay in position."

Second gold for Bowe
Bowe started in the penultimate pairing of the 1500m. In the previous race Lotte van Beek (NED) had set the fastest time so far in 1 minute, 56.13 seconds.

Bowe was impressed: "Lotte had a great race today," she said. "I knew she was going to have a good one based on her 1000m yesterday (in which van Beek won bronze) and when I saw her splits today, I knew I had to punch a little bit more in the beginning to put some money in the bank."

With a 25.0 opening versus van Beek's 26.0, Bowe had just enough money in the bank to finish 0.24 seconds ahead of her Dutch rival. "The perfect preparatory weekend to set me up for next week's World Championships," she said. Bowe took the lead in the 1500m World Cup rankings, with the absent Ireen Wüst (NED) and Miho Takagi (JPN) in second and third place respectively.

Van Beek said: "We were joking a little beforehand. She has been so strong all season and she does make the difference in the opening. My laps were great, so I need to work on my opening to be able to challenge her yet a little bit more."

The bronze medal went to last year's Junior World Champion allround Joy Beune (NED) in 1:57.15. "My first individual medal in the World Cup," she smiled. "I'm really proud and happy."

Beune had not seen it coming. "No, my goal was to qualify for the World Cup Final in Salt Lake City and I managed to. A World Cup medal was not one of my goals this season. I just want to skate well, learn a lot and improve step-by-step towards the (Beijing 2022) Olympic Games eventually."

Herzog takes advantage of absence Kodaira
Vanessa Herzog extended her lead in the 500m World Cup with a gold medal in 37.61 seconds. Russia's Angelina Golikova (37.90s) and Olga Fatkulina (38.09s) took silver and bronze.

Herzog was 0.24 seconds slower than she had been on Saturday, when she had to settle for silver behind Nao Kodaira (JPN). The Japanese Olympic champion had already flown to Inzell, Germany on Sunday to prepare for next week's World Single Distance Championships.

"I think Nao wants to do more training in Inzell," Herzog said. "I don’t really need that. I already train in Inzell all year. I know the track very well." In Saturday's race the difference between Kodaira and Herzog was just 0.12 seconds, so Inzell is going to be an exciting showdown.