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Tijmen Snel, Development Team athlete of Team Jumbo-Visma, makes an immediate move to the professional speed skating team. The 23-year-old is the first ever speed skater promoted within the team of coach Jac Orie.
Almost two years ago, Team Jumbo-Visma started the Development Team. Initially, the team, which is led by coach Sicco Janmaat, consisted of four speed skaters: Joost van Dobbenburgh, Merijn Scheperkamp, Serge Yoro and Tijmen Snel. At the beginning of last season, Robin Groot and Jordy van Workum were added.
Last season, Snel showed his talent by setting a time of 1:08.48 in the men’s 1,000-meter race at the qualifying tournament in Heerenveen. It was the first time he broke the 1:09 barrier (his personal best was 1:09.06) in his career. He also finished fifth in the final classification at the Daikin Dutch sprint championship, behind teammates Thomas Krol, Dai Dai N’tab, Kai Verbij and winner Hein Otterspeer.
"It's really nice I'm able to take this step in my career," Snel said. "Two years ago, I joined the Development Team, in hopes one day I’d be able to join the professional speed skating team. It’s a great feeling when it actually happens. It's also a confirmation I'm on the right track. Hopefully, I will continue this upward path in the upcoming years."
"I'm really pleased with my performances last season. I've made a lot of progress and achieved some great times in the biggest races. Although I still need to become a little more consistent, especially in test races; when it mattered most, I performed well. I've achieved the first goal by joining the professional speed skating team, but I’m not quite there yet. I will do everything I can to keep improving myself."
Orie, Sports Director of the speed skating team, explains why Snel is ready for this step in his career. "Two years ago, Tijmen joined our Development Team and has made great progress. He’s getting close to the World Cup level. If you look at his endurance in combination with his speed skating skill, he is ready to take this step."
"Tijmen's move to the professional speed skating team proves the importance of our Development Team," Orie said. "Since he joined the team, he has crushed his personal best in the 1500m by more than two seconds (1:47.97 -> 1:45.73) and by almost 1.5 seconds in the 1000m (1:09.82 -> 1:08.48). I’m proud of the progress Tijmen and the other Development Team speed skaters have made over the last two years."
Snel taking this step in his career gives coach Janmaat a 'proud feeling', as well. "Two years ago, we started this program with the intention of developing speed skaters for our professional speed skating team. So, it’s amazing that we made it happen. The coaching staff already knew Tijmen was capable of performing this well. However, he still had some growth to achieve. Last season, Tijmen showed great form in the most important races, so he really deserves this move."