Vanessa Herzog (AUT) kept her Russian rivals at bay with a superb second 500m to take the European Sprint title in picturesque Collalbo on Sunday. Daria Kachanova (RUS) secured silver, beating the 13-year-old track record in the 1000m on the way, while her compatriot Olga Fatkulina took the overall bronze.
Solid foundation in 500m
Austria's Vanessa Herzog took the gold medal in the ladies' sprint competition outdoors in Collalbo 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Two blistering 500m races laid the foundation for Vanesse Herzog (AUT) to win her second successive European Sprint title. Both times the athletes took to the ice over that distance in Collalbo, she was the only one who stopped the clock in less than 38 seconds. In Sunday's race she was 0.01 slower than she had been the day before, but 37.62 was still 0.42 quicker than Olga Fatkulina (RUS), who repeated her silver-winning 500m performance from the previous day. Daria Kachanova (RUS) once more took bronze in the shortest distance with 38.22.
"I know I'm really fast in the 500m, because I'm faster in the opener than I was before. That's a good sign for Inzell," Herzog said. The Austrian will face Olympic 500m Champion Nao Kodaira (JPN), who has been unbeatable in the 500m over the past two seasons, at the ISU World Single Distance Championships on 8 February in Inzell, Germany.
Herzog went into the final 1000m with a 1.40 second advantage over Fatkulina, who was in second place after three distances. With 1:15.89 and third place in the longer distance, Herzog secured her title. She was 0.65 seconds faster than she had been on the first day.
Olga Fatkulina (RUS) was pleased to pick up the overall bronze medal at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
"My first 1000m was not so good, but my second was all right, so I'm happy. But for the World Sprint Championships [23-24 February in Heerenveen] I'll have to improve my 1000m," she said.
For Herzog winning outdoors in Collalbo was special.
"I started skating outdoors as a kid and I saw my first indoor rink when I was 13 years old,” she said. “I really love this place. I come from Innsbruck, which is not too far away from here. I skated my first international races as a junior at this rink. I've skated here since I was 15-16 years [old].”
Kachanova, who was 1.53 behind Herzog and 0.13 behind Fatkulina going into the final race, had won Saturday's first 1000m and she triumphed again on Sunday. Finishing in 1:15.21 the 21-year-old Russian broke Anni Friesinger's (GER) 2006 track record (1:15.47). Jutta Leerdam (NED) came second in the distance with 1:15.76, to take fourth place overall.
Daria Kachanova, of Russia, set a track record in the second 1000m, but had to settle for the silver medal overall 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Fatkulina ended up fourth in the 1000m with 1:16.46 and saw her young compatriot pass to second place in the overall ranking.
"I had to skate a super fast 1000m and I'm very happy with the track record,” Kachanova said. "It was a good competition for my experience as a speed skater.”
Having secured the overall bronze medal, Fatkulina was satisfied too.
"I had a stomach problem in the first days of January, but I decided to compete and use this competition as a training for Inzell [World Single Distance Championships in February]. I'm happy with that decision and with the medal."
For full entry lists and further information regarding the European Speed Skating Championships please visit: isu.org/speed-skating. Results are here and you can follow the discussion on social media by using #EuroSpeed and #SpeedSkating.