Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) powered to victory in the Ladies’ Mass Start at the ISU European Single Distance Championships in Kolomna on Sunday. Her compatriot and namesake Francesca Bettrone took silver and Vanessa Herzog (AUT) grabbed the bronze medal.
Tatsiana Mikhailava (BLR) was the first one to attack in the 16-lap Mass Start race and everyone looked at Lollobrigida to counter. The Italian favorite did catch the Belarussian escapee straight away and went on controlling the entire race.
Dutch Carlijn Achereekte tried to get away, but Lollobrigida countered and when Annouk van der Weijden tried to jump, again Lollobrigida countered.
Saskia Alusalu attacked In the penultimate lap, but Lollobrigida did not allow the Estonian skater any space.
Heading into the final corner Lollobrigida and Bettrone were in the lead with Victoria Filyushkina (RUS) struggling to position herself for the sprint in third place. The Russian crashed out while Lollobrigida went on to win. The Austrian 500m champion Vanessa Herzog managed to take third place behind Lollobrigida and Bettrone.
Blokhuijsen seals victory in Dutch team effort
Jan Blokhuijsen (NED) won the Men’s Mass Start thanks to a great deal of work by team-mate Simon Schouten (NED). After a couple of attacks by amongst others Vitaly Mikhailov (BLR), Mathias Vosté (BEL) and Marcin Bachanek (POL) and Schouten the race stalled.
No one wanted to take the initiative until again Schouten and Andrea Giovannini (ITA) tried to set up an escape with about 6 laps to go.
They were hauled in and Schouten pulled in front of the pack to set up a final sprint for Blokhuijsen, who came from behind Haralds Silovs’ (LAT) back on the penultimate straight, with a powerful sprint to the line. Giovannini finished second and Ruslan Zakharov (RUS) grabbed bronze.