Thomas Krol won the European title for the first time in his career at the European Championship sprint in Heerenveen. Krol made no mistakes on the closing day and kept his teammate Hein Otterspeer and German Joel Dufter well behind him in the general classification.
At the closing 1,000 meters the 28-year-old Krol was like Saturday a class apart. The Dutch champion rode in Thialf to 1.08,02 and was more than a second faster than his closest attacker Otterspeer, who had to settle for the silver in the sprint classification with a time of 1.09,08.
Otterspeer had to make up for 0.32 seconds on Krol to get the European title. The Russian opponent of the Dutchman, Viktor Moushtakov, went down immediately after the start, which prevented Otterspeer from taking advantage of him.
See below the summaries of all distances in the European Championships sprint:
He did not expect that Krol was honoured as European sprint champion in Heerenveen on Sunday afternoon.
“ I really saw it as a bonus to be able to start here. I put myself in the heels over the ditch. That I could win a sprint title here, I would not have dared dream in my wildest dreams,” said Krol.
The skater of Jumbo-Visma already laid the foundation for his European title on Saturday thanks to a personal record (34.90) on the 500 meters and an excellent 1,000 meters (1,07,49). As a result, he started the second day of the European Championships sprint as leader.
On the 500 meters, which was marred by a hard fall by the German Nico Ihle, he drove to a decent time on Sunday (35.30). Even on the 1,000 meters he remained flawless, although that was not very close. “I suddenly heard my iron hiss after 600 meters. It turned out to be a thick burr on it. From then on, I drove him home safe.”
Otterspear mist shape
For Hein Otterspeer the tournament was not quite as desired. “I felt that I didn‘t have the shape I had at the NK sprint. My last 1,000 meters was far below the standard. Given the circumstances, silver was the highest achievable”, said the Dutch sprint champion.
Otterspeer, who also stood second in the ranking at the beginning of the day, made up for his Dutch teammate on the 500 meters, but not enough to take over Krol’s leadership.
After a false start he drove to a disappointing time of 35.12. Saturday, he was 0.27 seconds faster on the first 500 meters.
Far by lightning fast, but without chance
Defender Kai Verbij went down on the first 500 meters on Saturday and played no part in the ranking. He still started on the second 500 meters. That proved not for nothing: Verbij won the ride and drove 34.58 his fastest time ever in Thialf.
The German Joel Dufter surprised in Heerenveen with four stable rides, which earned him third place in the ranking.
The European Championships sprint and the European Championships all-round are the first international skating competitions of the season. All participants had to submit a negative corontest to participate in the tournament.
The international ice skating stop will spend a total of five weeks in a bubble in Heerenveen. After this weekend, two more World Cup matches and the World Cup distances in Thialf will follow.