Dutchman Kjeld Nuis earned a narrow victory over nearest rival Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia in the men's 1,000 metres race at the International Skating Union Speed Skating World Cup in Heerenveen, The Netherlands today.
The pair have been locked in an intriguing battle throughout the campaign and today's race may have been the most exciting of the lot as Nuis came through in a time of 1min 08.81sec to claim the win by just 0.01 seconds.
His victory delighted the expectant home crowd as compatriot Stefan Groothuis took third place.
The result gave Nuis his second consecutive triumph over the Russian, who goes into the last World Cup event of the season in Erfurt, Germany, with a 59-point lead ahead of the talented Dutchman.
Earlier on in the competition, Kulizhnikov sealed his second straight 500m win as he posted a time of 34.62sec, which proved enough to beat South Korea's Mo Tae-Bum, while German Nico Ihle was the nearly man once again as he clinched the last podium spot for the third race in a row.
Kulizhnikov's deserved win saw him seal the overall World Cup title as he has a points tally of 780, 219 in front of nearest challenger Laurent Dubreuil of Canada.
In the women's races, Germany's Judith Hesse took the 500m honours in a tight race that saw the top three all separated by just 0.05 seconds.
Hesse's time of 38.18 was 0.02 quicker than Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea, while Thijsje Oenema ensured the Dutch support would have something to cheer as she finished third.
American Brittany Bowe, meanwhile, went one better than her second-place yesterday by claiming victory in the 1,000m, beating Dutch star Marrit Leenstra by 0.12 seconds, with the Czech Republic's Karolína Erbanová rounding off the podium.
Despite a fourth-place result, China's Li Qishi maintained her overall lead and both Leenstra and Bowe still have a chance of overhauling her at the summit.
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