November 16, 2012

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (AP) -- Olympic champion Sven Kramer of the Netherlands has won the first 5,000-meter race of this season's speedskating World Cup, edging two other Dutch racers with a time of 6 minutes, 16.09 seconds.

Usually dominant at this distance, Kramer's training was delayed by an offseason back injury. He started slowly Friday and appeared unlikely to win, but built up speed with each lap and overtook countrymen Jorrit Bergsma and Jan Blokhuijsen.

U.S. champion Shani Davis pulled out of the competition with a groin injury.

In the women's events, Stephanie Beckert of Germany won the 3,000 meters in 4 minutes, 4.39 seconds. Sang-Hwa Lee of South Korea won the 500 in 37.85 seconds, ahead of Heather Richardson of the U.S. and Nao Kodaira of Japan.

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