Met videoThe European Championship distances are: very successful expired for the Dutch skaters. On the final day, Jenning de Boo, the revelation of the season, became European champion in the 500 meters. Jutta Leerdam won the European title in the 1000 meters for the third time in a row. Kjeld Nuis narrowly missed out on gold in the 1500 meters. In the team pursuit for women, the Netherlands won with Irene Schouten, Marijke Groenewoud and Joy Beune in the fifth fastest time ever. Groenewoud also took the title in the mass start, Schouten took silver. Read here again how the day went in a sold-out Thialf.
• All medal winners: this is the harvest of the Netherlands in Thialf
1-2 for the Netherlands on mass start
The mass start for women was dominated by the Netherlands. Marijke Groenewoud chose to attack early and was joined by the German Michelle Uhrig. Behind the leading duo there was doubt and most women looked at Irene Schouten, but the Olympic champion did not chase her compatriot.
In the final phase, Uhrig moved too quickly at the front and the gold medal went to Groenewoud. Just behind, Schouten sprinted to second place. The bronze went to Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida.
Groenewoud also won gold earlier on Sunday with Schouten and Joy Beune in the team pursuit. She took it on Saturday silver in the 1500 meters.
Hard fall Hoolwerf in men
For the men, the mass start ended in a deception for the Netherlands. Bart Hoolwerf, the ace in the sprint, crashed a few laps before the end and injured himself. “I was in position on the train and the two French skaters come around the outside and steer quite abruptly inside the bend. I couldn’t go any further in and I became unbalanced,” Hoolwerf explained what happened. “I went down and took two men with me.”
Marcel Bosker played no role in the battle for medals and finished tenth. Belgian Bart Swings won the European title for the third time in a row. He is also the reigning Olympic and world champion. Austrian Gabriel Odor came second, ahead of Norwegian Allan Dahl Johansson.
Hoolwerf said he was annoyed after he was beaten by Harm Visser at the National Championships a week earlier. “I was really looking forward to this match and was quite well prepared and sharp. I started feeling better and better during the race and then this happened. In such a full Thialf you want to show the best of yourself. If you can’t participate for the win, it is painful.”
The hard fall with three skaters looked dangerous. “I got a skate on my leg, which fortunately grazed it,” said Hoolwerf, who showed a minor cut. “And on the other side of the suit I have a cut in the cut-resistant part. I’m really disappointed, but I’m also relieved that there is no more damage.”
Gold for De Boo at 500 meters
Jennings de Boo won gold in the 500 meters on Sunday afternoon. The 19-year-old from Groningen was faster than Marten Liiv from Estonia and Marek Kania from Poland with 34.48.
In a direct duel, De Boo beat the Est Liiv who scored 34.78. His lap of 24.7 in particular was much faster than the competition. Both skaters dipped under the fastest time of Stefan Westenbroek (34.93). Janno Botman did not reach there with 35.21, but Kania was slightly faster in the last stage with 34.86, meaning Westenbroek finished fourth. Botman finished ninth.
De Boo became Dutch champion in the 500 and 1000 meters a week earlier in his first season with the seniors. He won earlier at this European Championship silver in the 1000 meters and bronze in the team sprint.
Leerdam again best at 1000 meters
Jutta Leerdam started against compatriot Antoinette Rijpma-de Jong, who won the 1500 meters on Saturday. However, Leerdam showed that he could not be beaten over the kilometer. She recorded a time of 1.14.45.
This made her more than half a second faster than Rijpma-de Jong (1.15.04), who raced to silver. Austria’s Vanessa Herzog finished third (1.15.74) and kept Isabel Grevelt (1.15.94) from the bronze medal.
• Rijpma-De Jong escapes with European Championship gold Jumbo-malaise: ‘The problem was me’
The 25-year-old Leerdam became European champion in the 1000 meters for the first time in 2020. Two years ago she extended her title by defeating Femke Kok, winner of the 500 meters on Saturday but absent in the 1000 meters. In a full Thialf, Leerdam, world champion and winner of Olympic silver, completed the hat-trick of European Championship titles in the kilometer.
Leerdam knew in advance that she was the big favorite. “But you have to do it again and again,” she said. “You can’t catch him and something can happen, like a bad start today. But that is part of it. I wanted to have a good ride, but that didn’t quite work out, but if I act normally, I will win.”
The world champion always wants to perform at the top of her ability. “I prefer to ride like in the world championships, where I have to get everything out of it. Not that everyone was closer at the time, but it felt more like that because it was a World Cup. I prefer to ride with the knife to my throat, then the victory is more fun.”
Silver Nuis, bronze Rust at 1500 meters
In the 1500 meters, the Netherlands had to settle for the closest places of honor. Defending champion Kjeld Nuis, winner of the 1000 meters on Friday, finished second in a time of 1.44.34. He was 0.09 seconds slower than Peder Kongshaug from Norway. The bronze medal went to Patrick Roest (1.44.40). Wesly Dijs finished fifth (1.45.44).
Nuis became European champion in the 1500 meters for the first time two years ago. Then the three-time Olympic champion (twice 1500 meters, once 1000 meters) defeated fellow countryman Thomas Krol, who is missing from the European Championships this year and won the title in 2020. In 2018, the first edition, the Russian Denis Yuskov won.
Nuis was angry with himself. “I leave it in the last 100 meters. I was under Kongshaug’s time, but I lost focus thinking I was already there. And then you lose it by a few hundredths of a second due to a cowardly finish.”
The Olympic champion may have won the 1000 meters, but he would also have liked to extend the title in the 1500 meters. “Taking the double is just really cool and I secretly think the 1500 meters are better than the 1000 meters.”
Roest also saw it as a missed opportunity. “I always participate. My endurance is still good and the race was flatter than ever. I just have to drive faster in the beginning, I have to win on the first lap.”
Gold in team pursuit
The Netherlands set a time of 2.55.70 in the team pursuit and, thanks to its success, remains undefeated in that event at the European distance championships. It is the fourth time in a row that the Netherlands has won the gold medal since the first edition in 2018. Schouten was also there two years ago.
“I was nervous, but we checked everything three times. So then I could go on the ice with peace of mind,” Beune referred to the transponderblunder in Poland in December. “From then on I just have to skate and all three of us can do that, so that is not the problem.”
This turned out to be the case, because the Netherlands was almost seven seconds faster than Germany. The bronze medal went to Switzerland, which was only one hundredth faster than Italy.
Three times gold for Groenewoud
Groenewoud is the most successful skater at the European distance championships in Heerenveen with titles in the 3000 meters, team pursuit and the mass start and silver in the 1500 meters. “Not bad at all,” was the reaction of the 24-year-old Frisian, who won her first international distance title with the 3000 meter individual title.
Groenewoud did not quite expect that the tournament would be so successful for her. “Of course you hope so, but we always have to wait and see. The last day last week was not very good,” she refers to the final day of the National Championships on which she was unable to secure qualification spots for the 5000 (World Championship) and 1000 meters (World Championship and European Championship). “If you win the 3 kilometers on the first day, it immediately gives confidence for the rest.”
• View here skating calendar for the 2023/2024 season
The AH-Zaanlander skater said after her title in the 3000 meters that she did not mind being a bit in the shadow of teammate and three-time Olympic champion Schouten, although she is now increasingly coming to the fore due to the titles. “I try to stay true to myself and drive good races. We still have two World Cups to go. A World All-round World Championship would also be nice,” she looked ahead to the all-round tournament for which she has already qualified.
In addition to Groenewoud, Rijpma-de Jong won twice gold (1500 meters and team sprint) and silver in the 1000 meters. De Boo is the most successful Dutch men’s skater at the European Championships with gold in the 500 meters, silver in the 1000 meters and bronze in the team sprint.
Comment can be found at the bottom of this article. Only comments provided with a full name are placed. We do this because we want a debate with people who stand by what they say, and therefore also put their names to it. Anyone who still needs to enter their name can do so by clicking on ‘Login’ at the top right of our site.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss anything from the stars.
The post first appeared on www.pzc.nl