Sablikova, Kodaira, Bowe win speedskating World Cup titles

BY foxsports • March 22, 2015

ERFURT, Germany -- Brittany Bowe of the United States, Nao Kodaira of Japan and Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic all won speedskating World Cup titles at the last meet of the season Sunday.

Sablikova, the world champion, clinched the women's 3,000-meter title, clocking 4 minutes, 4.06 seconds in the race to edge Dutch skaters Marije Joling and Diane Valkenburg by 1.58 and 3.79 seconds, respectively.

Sablikova finished with 580 points, ahead of Germany's Claudia Pechstein on 360 and Dutch skater Ireen Wust on 350. The 43-year-old Pechstein was fourth in the race. Wust didn't compete at Erfurt.

Kodaira came third in the second 500 of the weekend which was enough to win that distance title with Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea not competing.

Heather Richardson of the United States won the race ahead of compatriot Bowe for the second day in a row, finishing in 37.97 seconds to edge Bowe by two tenths of a second and Kodaira by 0.72.

Kodaira finished the 500 World Cup with 926 points, beating Lee by 46 and Richardson by 216.

Bowe later pipped Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands to the 1,000 title by just three points.

Leenstra had been leading the standings going into the final race, but Bowe led another American 1-2, clocking 1:14.61 to beat Richardson by 0.52 and Leenstra by 1.17.

Bowe's first place earned her 150 points for a total of 510. Leenstra earned 106 points and finished with 507.

With just the mass start scheduled for later Sunday, Richardson -- who celebrated her 26th birthday on Friday -- was leading the overall World Cup standings with 1,105 points, ahead of Bowe on 1,045. Sablikova had 946.

Ruslan Murashov of Russia won the second men's 500 of the weekend, clocking 34.97 to edge both Laurent Dubreuil of Canada and Michel Mulder of the Netherlands by 0.13.

Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia didn't race after claiming the distance and overall World Cup titles on Saturday.

Denny Morrison of Canada beat Sverre Lunde Pedersen in the men's 1,500 by 0.36 to claim the title from the Norwegian by four points.

Morrison finished with 409 points, ahead of Pedersen on 405.

Bart Swings of Belgium was third in the race, 0.66 off the pace.