Amsterdam / Netherlands

#AllroundSpeed                           #SpeedSkating

Patrick Roest (NED)

The men’s event at the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships in a rainy but atmospheric Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, has become a clash of generations after the first two distances. 22-year-old Patrick Roest (NED) and 25-year-old Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) are on top of the rankings after winning the 500m and the 5000m respectively. Nine-time champion Sven Kramer (NED) is ranked third. In all the nine previous tournaments the 31-year-old Kramer won the title, he was on top after the first two distances.

For Pedersen it was the first time he beat Kramer in the 5000m. “He’s probably the greatest skater of all time”, the Norwegian said. “To beat him here on his own track is a little crazy, but I like it and, you have to enjoy it.”

Roest draws first blood
Roest started the Championships in spectacular fashion. The 22-year-old Dutchman was the only one to skate a sub-37 second 500m. He set the bar in the second pair, and one after another failed to jump it. Konrad Niedzwiedzki (POL), who already won the 500m in a ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships twice (2010, 2014) came closest when he stopped the clock at 37.00 in the final pair versus Simen Spieler Nilsen (NOR), who set the best opening in 10.22, but failed to pull through and finished in 37.50 for seventh place. Haralds Silovs skated 37.04 to take finish third in the 500m.

“Of course it’s nice to start the tournament with a bit of an advantage,” Roest said. “That inspired me to give it my all in the 5000m.”

Pedersen, who wants to add Allround gold to his previous bronze (2015) and silver (2016) medals, skated 37.42 to come fifth. He did not manage to take an early advantage over defending champion Kramer, who came sixth in 37.43. After the 500m he faced a 4.50 second gap towards leader Roest, and Kramer a 4.60 second gap. Dutch national Allround champion Marcel Bosker set 37.85, and he was 8.80 behind.

Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR)

Pedersen celebrates beating the greatest
Roest faced Russian prodigy Danila Semerikov (RUS) in the 5000m. The Russian was far behind in the classification after the 500m, but he proved to be a threat in the longer distances. The Dutchman took an early lead and seemed to be out of sight, when Semerikov came back and even overtook Roest with two laps to go.

“I had not expected the Russian to overhaul me,” Roest said. “He gave me a scare and I thought, this is not going to happen to me, I won’t lose this race.” The Dutchman fought back and eventually managed to win the pairing in 6:37.07. He ended up fourth in the distance. Semerikov came fifth in 6:37.14.

Kramer skated in the ninth pair and was more than four seconds ahead of Roest’s time with two laps to go, but he had to concede more than a second in his final two laps. “I have fought my guts out,” the defending champion said. “I have skated tougher 5000m races in the past, but it doesn’t come easy today.” Kramer clocked 6:34.15, but it was not enough to win the distance.

Heading into the final pair Pedersen knew he could beat Kramer’s time: “I had to skate low 31 laps, I felt good and managed to put all my energy in the race,” the Norwegian said. Pedersen comes from Bergen, which is the rainiest city in Norway. As a kid he used to skate outdoors a lot. “I skated a lot in the rain, I’m used to it. Actually the ice here is much better than it used to be in Bergen.” Pedersen is 0.38 down on Roest in Sunday’s 1500m and 0.13 ahead of Kramer. When asked who he considered to be his major rival for the title Pedersen said: “Both, it will be a tough day tomorrow.”

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Sven Kramer (NED)

Roest believes he can become world champion: “Everything is possible. I have to skate two very good races and the rest may have to make small mistakes. You never know in an Allround tournament.” Kramer definitely thinks his nine-year-younger team mate can win the title: “He’s on top now so why not? He can skate a fast 1500m, he’s the Olympic silver medalist in that distance.” The nine-time-champion enjoyed the atmosphere with 25,000 spectators in the tribunes, but he still aims to beat both Roest and Pedersen: “The atmosphere is great, nobody can complain about that. but I came here to become World Champion.”


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Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR)

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Patrick Roest (NED)