Sweden's Nils van der Poel ended his season and, potentially his career, in style with victory in the 5,000m at the ISU Speed Skating World Cup Final in Heerenveen©Getty Images

Sweden's Nils van der Poel completed his stunning individual season by winning the men’s 5,000 metres at the International Skating Union  Speed Skating World Cup Final in Heerenveen in what may have been his last race before retiring. 

Van der Poel earned 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic gold medals Beijing 2022 before being crowned all-around world champion last week in Hamar.

The 25-year-old had suggested before the event in Hamar that he would retire at the end of the season, although he left the door open for a World Cup return at a later date.

Van der Poel signed off in style by winning today’s 5,000m race in a time of 6min 08.815sec at the Thialf Arena, which saw full crowds permitted in speed skating-mad Netherlands for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belgium’s Bart Swings and Italy’s Davide Ghiotto completed the podium, ending in times of 6:15.121 and 6:19.386.

The triumph saw Van der Poel seal the World Cup title for the discipline, ending on 360 points to Ghiotto’s tally of 272.

The home crowd were able to celebrate a Dutch clean sweep in the men’s 1,000m event led by Kjeld Nuis in 1:08.051.

Thomas Krol finished 0.19 seconds behind, with Hein Otterspee third at 0.65 behind the winner to complete a podium that had a distinct orange tinge to it.

Krol may have been beaten but was still crowned overall World Cup champion for the discipline on 282 points, ending 12 clear of Nuis.

Japan's Miho Takagi earned the overall women's 1,500m title ©Getty Images
Japan's Miho Takagi earned the overall women's 1,500m title ©Getty Images

Japan’s Miho Takagi clinched the women’s 1,500m title by winning the final race of the season over the distance.

Takagi triumphed in a time of 1:53.324, ending 1.01 seconds clear of second placed Antoinette de Jong of The Netherlands.

Norway’s Ragne Wiklund placed third in 1:54.750.

The final World Cup standings were topped by Takagi on 300 points, with United States’ Brittany Bowe second on 256.

The penultimate men’s and women’s 500m races were also held, with Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama and America's Erin Jackson winning the respective events.

Shinhama claimed the men’s event 34.384sec, finishing 0.15 seconds ahead of joint second placed Laurent Dubreuil of Canada and Japan’s Wataru Morishige.

Dubreuil looks poised to earn the World Cup title with a total of 528 points heading into the last race, with Shinhama adrift on 466.

Olympic champion Jackson extended her World Cup lead by winning today’s race in 37.329, 0.32 seconds clear of The Netherlands’ Femke Kok.

Japan’s Nao Kodaira was third.

Jackson heads the overall standings on 540 points, with Kodaira in second place on 492.

Seven races are scheduled to held tomorrow as the World Cup season concludes.

Organisers paid tribute to retiring Dutch greats Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust at the venue today as they each performed lap of honour.

Kramer will end his glittering career, which has seen him earn four Olympic and 30 world titles.

Wüst earned her sixth Olympic gold medal at Beijing 2022, making her the Netherlands most successful Olympian in a career which has also included 22 World Championship titles.