SOCHI, Russia – The Netherlands eased toward another speedskating gold medal, routing France in the quarterfinals of men's team pursuit Friday.
The Dutch trio of Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij won by whopping 8.70 seconds, coming around the final turn while the French were just going into the turn at the other end of the rink.
The victory sent the Dutch into the semifinals against Poland later Friday. The other semifinal will match Canada vs. South Korea.
Poland rallied to beat Norway by 0.41. Canada knocked off the United States by a comfortable 3.52, while South Korea quieted the home crowd with a victory over Russia by 3.38.
The women's team pursuit started after the men, with Netherlands also a heavy favorite. The Dutch face the U.S. in the opening round.