Groothuis storms to victory in Russia
Stefan Groothuis proved he has no intention of letting go of his title without a fight after storming to an opening 1500m ISU Speed Skating World Cup victory in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The 29-year-old Dutchman collected the 1000m title in last year's competition and opened up his defence by showing his prowess over the longer distance.
Groothuis, who won 1000m bronze at the World Championships earlier in the year, finished in 1:45.70, 0.57 seconds ahead of American Shani Davis, while Ivan Skobrev from Russia finished third.
In a close 500m, Pekka Koskela of Finland took gold in a time of 35 seconds, one hundredth ahead of Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands. Japan’s Yuya Oikawa was 0.07s behind in third.
In the women’s section, defending champion Martina Sablikova raced to victory in the 3000m.
The Czech skater crossed the line in 4:06.54, 0.62 seconds ahead of Ireen Wust, while Germany's Claudia Pechstein came third.
In the 500m, China’s Jing Yu won with a time of 37.81, well ahead of Japan’s Maki Tsuji and Netherlands’ Thijsje Oenema, who shared silver 0.41s back.
Another Dutchwoman, Annette Gerritsen, also posted a time of 38.22s but was five thousandths of a second behind.