Antoinette de Jong takes the lead after the first day of the European championships. In Heerenveen, the defender became third in the 500 meters (38.89) and third in the 3,000 meters (4.02,19).
Debutante Irene Schouten surprised with a lightning-fast 3.000 meter, she won in 3.57,95 and is now in second place with a backlog of 0.79 seconds on De Jong at the 1.500 meter. With the eighth time (39.86), she already laid a good foundation for the classification.
On the three kilometers Schouten fought a nice duel with Natalia Voronina. The Russian skater started as a rocket, but Schouten struck at the end of the ride and approached the track record of De Jong with 3,57,95 (3,57,32).
Joy Beune, the third Dutch skater to take action at the European Championships all-round, stands sixth after the first two distances. She was seventh (39.78) in the 500 meters and clocked in the fifth time (4,03,18) on the 3,000 meters. On the 1,500 meters she has to make up for 3.16 seconds at De Jong.
Martina Sábliková, five-time European all-round champion, did not start wrong in Heerenveen. The Czech skater recorded 39.89 in the 500 metres and 4,02.31 in the 3,000 metres. Shes fourth in the leaderboard, 3.06 seconds behind.
De Jong, after the first distance, indicated that he mainly took into account Schouten and Sábliková. “They are very dangerous. Of course youre unconsciously busy with what others are driving, but Im just trying to drive three more good races myself.”
De Jong: “Sábliková always rides well and has not ridden any competitions this season. She will come back, she has been looking forward to this and will really show something on those longer distances.”
No Wüst and Kramer
Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst are both absent at a European all-round championship for the first time since their European debut in 2005. At the qualifying tournament for the international competitions, at the end of December, both skaters were not able to place themselves.
Wüst, who won the European Championships all-round five times, will still be in action this season at the World Cup distances (1,500 meters) and during the World Cup races in Heerenveen.
After four Dutch competitions in Thialf, the European Championships are the first international meetings of the skating season. All skaters participating in the European Championships all-round and the European Championships sprint have undergone a negative corontest.
A total of 143 participants are involved. The skaters stay in a secluded bubble for five weeks. After this weekend there are two more World Cup races and the World Cup distances in Heerenveen.