Sven Kramer should win the men’s 5000m today, but Bob de Jong could cause an upset, as might Enrico Fabris. Bob is in the pair after Sven, which could be the crucial difference because he’ll know what schedule he needs to follow to beat Sven. In November, in Heerenveen (which is also low/slow ice) Bob came within 9 hundredths of upsetting Sven’s undefeated status at this distance, and Sven was in a later pair and trailed for most of the race, only coming back in the final lap after being passed on the outside by Norway’s Håvard Bøkko. Fabris and Bøkko are in the final two pairs and they too will have the slight advantage of going later.
Outside contenders to be aware of – Jan Blokhuijsen, Alexis Contin, and defending champion Chad Hedrick could potentially stage an upset, but only Chad is paired with a skater who could push him to the necessary performance. At this level of competition though, anything can happen.
Also watch for Shane dobbin of New Zealand, who is paired with Canada’s best 5k skater Lucas Makowsky, which should ensure that the crowd gives him a little lift. Latvian Haralds Silovs will be leaving straight afterwards to go across town to skate in short track immediately following his race.