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Thomas Krol and Patrick Roest became European champions for the first time in their career at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships on Sunday. Krol was the strongest in the sprint tournament, while Roest won the allround title. Antoinette de Jong managed to extend her European title allround. Marcel Bosker (allround) and Hein Otterspeer (sprint) seized silver at Thialf, Heerenveen.
After his victory in the men's first 1,000-meter race, Krol managed to win the second kilometer on Sunday afternoon as well. The 28-year-old skater of Team Jumbo-Visma triumphed in a time of 1:08.02. Teammate Otterspeer retained the second place in the final classification with the fourth time (1:09.08), after he had finished fifth earlier in the day in the men's second 500-meter race (35.12).
Krol skated an almost flawless tournament. On Saturday, he had started the tournament strong with a personal best in the 500m (fourth in 34.90). After that, he won the 1,000m with an impressive performance: 1:07.49. On Sunday, he skated a solid second 500-meter race (eighth in 35.30) and he finished off the sprint tournament by winning the men's second 1,000-meter race.
"This gives a lot of satisfaction. I am not a huge fan of sprint tournaments, since I think they are very difficult", Krol said afterwards. "For me, it was already a bonus that I could even start here. Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't have dreamt a better result. This is really an unexpected bonus. It was a beautiful weekend, in which I have learned a lot. I am really happy with this outcome."
Otterspeer, who made his debut at the European Speed Skating Championships, was slightly disappointed afterwards. "This was not my best weekend. I did not have the form I had at the Dutch Sprint Championships. My second 1,000-meter race was not good at all. Looking at Thomas' form, I think I need to be happy with this silver medal."
After winning three world titles, Roest can now add a European title allround to his palmares. This weekend, the 25-year-old Lekkerkerker won two distances at Thialf (5,000 and 1,500 meters) and finished third in the final 10,000 meters: 13:03.08. By doing so, Roest managed to secure his first ever overall victory at the European Speed Skating Championships.
Team Jumbo-Visma teammate Bosker seized silver in the general classification. He set the fourth time in the men's 10,000-meter race (13:16.25). As a result, he finished just ahead of the Norwegian speed skater Sverre Lunde Pedersen, who took bronze.
"This is another great title to have", Roest said after winning gold. "I had hoped that some races would have gone better, but in the end I reached the main goal: winning the European title. For now, that's the most important thing. I am also happy that Marcel was still able to finish second, so our plan worked out well. I really love the allround tournaments, so I am really glad to win another one. I hope to continue to win as many titles as possible in the future."
Bosker was all smiles after finishing second in the overall rankings. "Winning a medal at the European Speed Skating Championships is something you dream of as a little boy. It is really nice that that dream has become reality. Of course, my third place at the World Allround Speed Skating Championships in Amsterdam was still a little bit better, but I think I can be really proud of what I have achieved this weekend."
In the ladies' allround tournament, De Jong managed to prolong her European title. The 25-year-old speed skater of Team Jumbo-Visma, who won her first title in Collalbo (Italy) two years ago, led the classification at the halfway point but the defending champion was not confident heading into the final day, after losing more than four seconds to Irene Schouten in Saturday's 3,000m.
De Jong made up for that in the 1,500m. Taking the ice in the final pairing, De Jong left her main rival for the title far behind from the start. And what a difference she made: De Jong won the 1,500-meter race in 1:54.83 and increased the gap over Schouten to 9.87 seconds in the 5,000m.
Facing Schouten again in the final distance, De Jong kept her rival behind for most of the race, only to concede just over two seconds in the final laps. Schouten skated 6:55.38 to finish second in the 5,000m and De Jong came third in 6:57.72. Martina Sáblíková won in 6:53.22. Behind De Jong, it was Schouten, who took silver and Sáblíková seized bronze. Team Jumbo-Visma speed skater Joy Beune ended up in fifth place.
"It was all or nothing in the 5,000-meter race today", De Jong said. "I had to put the pressure on Schouten, because I know how good she can be in the 5,000m. I chose to attack and that was the right thing to do. I am so happy I made it happen. I managed to defend my European title allround at Thialf, Heerenveen. I don't think it can get any better than this."