Tour preparation Team Jumbo-Visma at altitude camp in Tignes
Before the start of Tour de France, Team Jumbo-Visma will visit the French area ...
Sven Kramer skated his first race of the season on Saturday. Afterwards he was quite happy with the outcome. The 33-year-old skater from Team Jumbo-Visma, who was hit by a car in Inzell exactly two weeks ago, skated a 'solid' race at 3,000 meters. His teammate Thomas Krol was very impressive in the men's 1,000-meter race, skating a fast time of 1:08.00.
Kramer set a time of 3:40.69 in the men's 3,000-meter race. With his time the multiple Olympic champion was almost one second faster than last season, when he clocked 3:41.59 in his first race of the season at NK Clubs. Marcel Bosker (3:42.13) finished second and Jorrit Bergsma (3:43.96) ended up in third place on Saturday.
"I had to get used to racing again", Kramer said after his race. "A time of 3:40 at 3,000 meters is never a bad thing. However, nowadays some skaters can go faster. Not everybody, but some of them can. For now, this time is fine. My race was not bad, but not very good either. It was solid for a first race of the season. Especially when you look at where I am coming from with my knee injury."
When asked if he was still bothered by his injured right knee, Kramer answered. "Once you are involved in a competition like this, it doesn't bother you that much. The adrenaline is going. We will see how my knee feels tomorrow."
Next week the important World Cup Qualification Tournament will be held at Thialf Heerenveen. Kramer thinks he will be able to race. "I don't expect any changes after tonight's race. Normally, I will be at the start of the 5,000-meter race next Friday."
Krol continued his strong form from last week, setting a very fast time in the men's 1000 meters on Saturday. The reign world champion at 1,500 meters won the race with a time of 1:08.00. Before Saturday, Krol had never been faster at Thialf. Last season he set a time of 1:08.03 at the World Cup Qualification Tournament and clocked 1:08.26 at the Dutch Single Distance Championships.
"For me this is a personal best at Thialf, so that's a very nice feeling!", a very happy Krol said afterwards. "I made some little mistakes, but besides that my race went really well. For now, this is a very good time. I have never been faster before at Thialf, so I can be very pleased with this result."
"Two weeks ago, I skated a very bad race in Inzell (Krol clocked 1:09.51). It didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. Fortunately, everything has gone a lot better since then. I was already pleased with last week's 1500-meter race, but this one is even better. Hopefully it continues likes this. If I show this form at next week's World Cup Qualification Tournament good things will happen for sure."
Picture: Glenn Wassenbergh