Kolomna / Russia

#EuroSpeed                                 #SpeedSkating

Esmee Visser (NED) surprised herself and the rest of Europe when she took gold in the 3000m in Kolomna on Saturday. Carlijn Achtereekte (NED) grabbed silver and Natalia Voronina (RUS) bronze.

GettyImages 901859660 Visser

Visser, who surprisingly qualified for the Olympic 5000m in PyeonChang at the Dutch trials last week, started in the third pairing versus Camilla Lund (NOR). The 21-year-old Dutch prodigy was the only one to set a personal best in Kolomna. She almost crashed on the final straight, but managed to stay on her feet to finish in 4 minutes and 5.31 seconds.

Olga Graf (RUS), who took 3000m bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, was the first who had to bow her head for Visser, finishing in 4:11.28 for sixth place.

One after the other started faster than Visser, but no one was able to maintain the pace throughout the race. Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) also challenged Visser’s time, but the Italian mass start specialist paid the price for a fast start in the second part. She finished in 4:08.77 to end up fourth.

Voronina also chased gold in the final pairing versus Achtereekte. She was faster than Visser until the 1800m split, but bit in the dust like everyone else.

Achtereekte was more than a second behind Voronina halfway the race, but she waited patiently and slowly chased her prey in the second part of the race to finish in 4:06.81. Voronina clocked 4:07.62.