SPEED SKATING Preview: Another Dutch treat as World Cup season starts in Japan?

The Meiji Hokkaido-Tokachi Oval in Obihiro (JPN) is the site for the start of the ISU Speed Skating World Cup program of six events beginning this weekend and culminating at the Utah Olympic Oval next March for the World Cup Final.

National trials for the World Cup season have been taking place around the world and the question for the opening week is: who can beat the Dutch? The top placers from the 2017-18 World Cup:

500 m:
1. 716 Havard Lorentzen (NOR)
2. 568 Hein Otterspeer (NED)

1,000 m:
1. 530 Kjeld Nuis (NED)
2. 516 Havard Lorentzen (NOR)

1,500 m:
1. 520 Denis Yuskov (RUS)
2. 385 Sverre Lunde Pederson (NOR)

5/10 km:
1. 486 Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN)
2. 445 Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR)

Mass Start:
1. 234 Bart Swings (BEL)
2. 226 Andrea Giovannini (ITA)

500 m:
1. 795 Vanessa Herzog (AUT)
2. 786 Karolina Erbanova (CZE)

1,000 m:
1. 444 Yekaterina Shikhova (RUS)
2. 420 Marrit Leenstra (NED)

1,500 m:
1. 550 Miho Takagi (JPN)
2. 390 Marrit Leenstra (NED)

3/5 km:
1. 445 Antoinette de Jong (NED)
2. 439 Ivanie Blondin (CAN)

Mass Start:
1. 324 Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA)
2. 290 Ayano Sato (JPN)

Lorentzen (1-0-1) and Nuis (2-0-0) dominated the men’s shorter distances at the PyeongChang Winter Games. Japan’s sprinter Nao Kodaira (1-0-1) was the primary competition for the Dutch, who won the 1,000 m (Jorien ter Mors)-1,500 m (Ireen Wust)-3,000 m (Carlijn Achtereekte) and 5,000 m (Esmee Visser).

This weekend’s event is the first of two World Cups in Japan, with competition the following week in Tomakomai. Look for results from Obihiro here.