TOKYO, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Vitaly Mikhailov of Belarus won his first career World Cup gold with a sensational solo in the men's mass start, while the Dutch men swept the 1500m podium and Tatsuya Shinhama of Japan clinched his second 500m win in the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Speed Skating at Tomakomai, Japan on Saturday.
Last week's 1500m winner Denis Yuskov of Russia was absent in Tomakomai and the Dutch men took full advantage. Kjeld Nuis, Patrick Roest and Thomas Krol swept the podium, with Japan's Seitaro Ichinohe leading the rest of the field in fourth place.
Nuis took on teammate and Roest in the second last pair. With 24.26 Nuis did start fast, but Roest was only 0.25 behind. It gave Nuis the perfect opportunity to draft behind Roest's back at the first cross-over, and he was 0.8 seconds faster in the lap.
Nuis took another 0.2 seconds in the penultimate lap and although Roest did make up time with a 28.8 final lap versus 29.5 for Nuis, the race was already over. Nuis was the only one to skate under 1:48 with 1:47.61. Roest stopped the clock at 1:48.20.
Krol took the ice in the final pair. He managed to start faster than Nuis, but he was slower throughout the rest of the race and despite still being faster than Roest at the 1100m split, he eventually had to settle for bronze behind his two teammates.
Tatsuya Shinhama struck again in the men's 500m. After he took his maiden World Cup win in track record time in Friday's 500m, the 22-year-old sprinter crushed the track record once more on the Tomakomai Highland Sports Center on Saturday.
With 35.20 seconds, he was 0.24 seconds faster than the Russian skater Viktor Mushtakov who took silver. The 21-year-old Russian was 0.33 faster than he had been on Friday. Mushtakov's older teammate Pavel Kulizhnikov pulled out for Saturday's race after a disappointing sixth place on Friday.
Yuma Murakami of Japan clinched Saturday's bronze after his silver medal in the first 500m run in Tomakomai. He equaled his Friday time of 35.53 to keep Dutchman Kai Verbij (35.63) and Jan Smeekens (35.66) off the podium.
Vitaly Mikhailov surprised the audience to take his first World Cup gold in the mass start. Together with compatriot Aleksei Kirpichnik the 32-year-old Belarussian set up a surprise attack straight from the start. Kirpichnik was the first to jump. After the first intermediate sprint he waited for Mikhailov, who was a little behind and the two cooperated until Kirpichnik had to give way.
The riders in the bunch hesitated and no one wanted to waste energy in the chase, resulting in a gradually increasing gap for the sole leader. With three laps to go, Mikhailov still had a 300m advantage over the bunch and he managed to stay well ahead until the end. Cheonho Um of South Korea beat Bart Swings of Belgium in the silver medal sprint to take the lead in the World Cup rankings.