Nils van der Poel (SWE) won the first title for Sweden in the history of the ISU World Single Distance Championships on Thursday. The 24-year-old endurance specialist upset major favorite Patrick Roest (NED), who had to settle for silver, while Sergey Trofimov (RSU) came away with bronze.
Nils van der Poel (SWE) at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Patrick Roest had won 17 of his previous 19 races in the 5000m. The only two he did not win were the World Championship races in Inzell (2019) and Salt Lake City (2020). With a fabulous track record of 6:05.14 and another win, in 6:05.95, at the World Cup in Heerenveen, the 25-year-old Dutchman seemed unstoppable in his favorite distance this season.
“I felt good working towards the World Championships,” he commented. “But when I had started my race, I felt that it did not come as easy as it did at the World Cups.”
Patrick Roest (NED) at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Roest skated in the third-last pairing and had to set his time before Van der Poel took the rink. With the air pressure being a lot higher than during the World Cups, he did not expect to match his track record again. He was right. Finishing in 6:10.05, he was still six seconds faster than Danila Semerikov (RSU), who had set the fastest time so far.
No one was able to beat Roest’s time, except Van der Poel. “I did not skate to my full potential but it was not too bad,” Roest said. “Van der Poel just skated a very good race and even on a good day it would have been difficult for me to beat him. Today he skated faster than he did when the air pressure was lower. That says a lot.”
The Dutchman was gutted to have failed at a third successive World Championships and covered his head under his jacket after Van der Poel had finished in 6:08.39.
Sergey Trofimov (RSU) at the ISU World Speed Skating Championships 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Happy though he was winning the title, the Swede immediately comforted Roest. "I feel bad for him,” van der Poel said. ”I wish we could share this medal. He’s probably the best skater there is and he deserves this more than anyone. We’ve been skating against each other since we were kids. That guy has been more inspiring to me than anyone else.”
Van der Poel had not expected to win the 5000m because he’s targeting his main goal this Sunday. He explained: “For me, Speed Skating is all about the 10,000m. This is half the distance, half the challenge, half the pleasure.”
Whereas Roest had inspired Van der Poel, the Swede had inspired Trofimov. The 25-year-old from Nizhny Novgorod said: “I saw Nils’ result and it gave me extra motivation before the start. I knew that it was possible for me to be on the podium today.”
Where to Watch
Viewers will be able to watch the ISU Speed Skating competitions that will take place within the hub either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel.
All the information is available in the Where to Watch which will be updated after each competition. The individual announcements and entry lists will be published under the respective events as soon as they are available. For further information regarding the ISU Speed Skating Hub please visit: https://www.isu.org/heerenveen2021.
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