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Patrick Roest lived up to the expectations at the European Single Distance Championships on Saturday. The 24-year-old speed skater of Team Jumbo-Visma won his first ever European title in the men's 5000-meter race at Thialf, Heerenveen. He also set a new track record. Sven Kramer won a silver medal at 5,000 meters.
Roest managed to skate an impressive race, crossing the line in a time of 6:08.92, beating the track record (6:08.96) – set by Danila Semerikov on December 16th of 2018 - by 0.04 seconds. Kramer, who skated in the second of eighth pairings, seized silver with a time of 6:10.76. Denis Yuskov (Russia) ended up in third place: 6:12.26.
"I was the man to beat, so I am happy I was able to win today", Roest said after his race. "I was not aiming for the track record. Today, the most important thing was to skate a good race and to win my first European title. However, it is nice to have the track record back. I had tried many times before, so I am glad I managed to get it done."
Besides his first European title, Roest also really enjoyed the atmosphere at the sold-out Thialf. "It was very nice to skate at this rink today", he said. "It gave me goosebumps; it was absolutely amazing."
Kramer had mixed feelings about the color of his medal. "A time of 6:10.76 is not bad at all", the multiple Olympic champion said. "During my race, I had some small mistakes and because of that I lost some costly time. In the past you would relatively easy win with a time like this. But nowadays you need to skate faster. Patrick was really impressive and he deserves the win."
"The gap between Roest and myself is just 1.8 seconds, while it was way more at the beginning of this season, so I am progressing well. I am looking forward to the fifth World Cup in Calgary and the World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City. Hopefully I can finish this season on a high note."
Team Jumbo-Visma skaters Jan Smeekens and Carlijn Achtereekte ended up in fifth place on Saturday. The 32-year-old sprinter set a time of 34.78 in the men's 500-meter race, finishing 0.4 seconds behind winner Pavel Kulizhnikov (Russia): 34.38.
Olympic champion Achtereekte had to settle for fifth place in the ladies' 3000-meter race. She crossed the line in 4:02.19, while Esmee Visser seized gold in 3:59.15.
Pictures: Stephan Tellier