- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (AP) - Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won her fourth consecutive 3,000-meter race of the speedskating World Cup season at Thialf Oval on Friday.

World record-holder Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia also kept up his 100-percent record with victory in the first men’s 500.

After missing last weekend’s World Cup meet in Inzell through illness, Kulizhnikov won his fifth 500-meter World Cup race of the season in 34.48 seconds.

Kulizhnikov’s Russia teammate Aleksey Yesin was second and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Canada finished third.

Olympic champion Sablikova, racing in the last pair, finished in 4 minutes, 3.50 seconds, nearly two seconds faster than second-place Annouk van der Weijden of the Netherlands, who skated in the third pairing. Russian skater Olga Graf was third.

Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea won the first women’s 500 of the weekend in 37.59 seconds to solidify her lead atop the World Cup standings.

Lee, who won both 500s last weekend in Inzell, was .27 of a second faster than second-place Brittany Bowe. Bowe’s American teammate Heather Richardson-Bergsma was third.

The Netherlands team of Sven Kramer, Jorrit Bergsma and Jan Blokhuijsen won the men’s team pursuit in 3:43.77, beating Norway into second place. Russia was third.

Canada’s trio of Gilmore Junio, Alexandre St-Jean and Vincent De Haitre won the men’s team sprint ahead of Russia and third-placed the Netherlands.

Only two teams completed the women’s team sprint, with the Netherlands edging Russia to go top of the season standings.

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