Dresden / Germany

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When Martina Valcepina beat her Italian teammate Ariana Fontana earlier in the day to win the Ladies 1500m gold at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating 2018 in Dresden, it could partly be put down to luck: Fontana had crashed out in the final laps.

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Nobody was more surprised than Valcepina. “I can’t believe it, it’s a big surprise”, she said after securing her first major speed skating title.

But Valcepina added a second title in quick succession at the EnergieVerbund Arena. She finished ahead of six-time overall European Champion Fontana fair and square in the 500m, looking powerful throughout and possessing a great burst of speed on the final straight.

“I wasn’t expecting to win at all, so I’m really happy,” she said. “My tactic was to start at the front and go all out. I wanted to just keep steady and stable, go as fast as I could, and hope it worked.

“It’s great being with Ariana and racing against her. We’ve been on the same squad for eight years, so we know each other very well.” 

Can she surprise herself further and add a third gold tomorrow in the 1000m? “It’s not my best distance, but I’ll do my best,” she said. 

Fontana was second, with Lara van Ruijven (NED) third. The B final was won by Suzanne Schulting (NED).