Thomas Krol is the surprising leader after the first day of the European Championships sprint. The Dutch skater drove a good 500 meters on Saturday and convinced a little later on the double distance.
Hein Otterspeer was the first of the favourites during the 1000 meters and set a good time with 1.08,27. Yet that time was wiped out by Thomas Krol. He drove 1.07,49 and passed Otterspeer in the general classification.
Leader Viktor Mushtakov was allowed to start in the second last ride. The Russian obviously had a faster opening than Krol, but lost too much time in the rounds. He was almost two seconds slower than the new ranking rider. Kai Verbij – who fell at 500 meters – ended up second in the 1000 meters at more than appropriate distance from Krol with 1.08,17.
In the ranking Krol now has a head start of 0.34 on Otterspeer for the 500 meters of Sunday. The German Joel Dufter now stands third for Mushtakov.
Verbij falls at 500 meters, Mushtakov wins
The first 500 meter in the men at the European Championships sprint in Heerenveen was won by Viktor Mushtakov. The Russian skater defeated the surprising German Joel Dufter and Hein Otterspeer just before Thomas Krol. Kai Verbij went down within a hundred yards.
Verbijs ride against Artem Arepyev was mainly a spectacle for disaster tourists. The Russian started with a complete miss at the start and a good fifty meters further, Verbij fumbled forward. Arepyev finished in a nice time, but for Verbij it was unstarted work after his fall.
Mushtakov won the first round with a time of 34.69 seconds, followed by the German Dufter who set a personal record with 34.79. Dutch sprint champion Hein Otterspeer finished third in 34.85.
Thomas Krol rode a personal record at 34.90. The mediumdistance specialist ended up in fourth place.
The dreaded Rus Pavel Kolizhnikov is missing from the contestants field. The world record holder at 500 and 1000 meters tested positive for the coronavirus at the end of last month. Later this month he is expected to start again at the two World Cups in Thialf and at the World Championships in mid-February, also in Heerenveen.