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ISU World Cup

Photo Credit PHOTO CREDIT 2018©INTERNATIONAL SKATING UNION

While many are pondering if and when they can return to play any type of sport, locally we are privy to have the Vancouver Canucks return to Rogers arena for their 2021-22 home opener.

While the current road trip hasn’t been all that friendly for them, in conversation with Canucks media they are ready and set to kick-off the season.

In addition to the Canucks returning to play we have received the following from the International Speed Skating season in the Heerenveen Hub albeit condensed which resumes with the first of two ISU World Cup Speed Skating events January 22nd 

After the ISU European Speed Skating Championships last weekend, this will be the first chance for Skaters from the other continents to see how they stand at an International level. 

The 2020/21 ISU World Cup Speed Skating series, which comprises two events in Thialf in back-to-back weekends, will also serve as one of the qualifying events for quota places at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships 2021 in February.

Different mindset

Last weekend the best European Skaters battled for the All-round and Sprint crowns, which are overall titles adding up the results of four distances in a single weekend. 

At the ISU World Cup Speed Skating events, the Skaters race for Single Distances honors. 

That requires a completely different mindset. 

Winning the Allround title, Antoinette de Jong (NED) proved to be the most complete Skater in the Ladies’ field, but she really struggled in the 3000m. “The 3000m in an Allround tournament is always more difficult (than in Single Distances format), and I always have difficulties,” she commented. “Maybe it’s because I’m just too focused on the sprinting legs. Switching to the 3000m I just did not have the right feeling.”

Fresh legs

When De Jong starts in Sunday’s 3000m at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating, she’ll have fresh legs and having skated the track record in this distance in December, she’ll be one of the favorites but the Ladies’ long distance field is very competitive. 

Irene Schouten won the 3000m at the ISU European Speed Skating Championships, just ahead of Natalya Voronina (RUS), who is always a contender in the long distances. 

And after the exclusive European party last weekend, Canadian endurance specialist Isabelle Weidemann will also be in the mix.

Single distance specialists

Patrick Roest‘s career first ISU European Speed Skating title was based on a superb display in the 1500m and the 5000m, which he won both. 

At the ISU World Cup Speed Skating events, he’ll have to deal with specialists in those events, however. In the 1500m those specialists are his compatriots Kjeld Nuis and Thomas Krol, who won the European sprint title by surprise. 

Not being a natural born sprinter Krol admitted that the 500m is not ‘his hobby’, but he really excels in both the 1000m and the 1500m.

Endurance engine Van der Poel

In the 5000m Roest will face competition from countrymen Jorrit Bergsma and Sven Kramer, but Sweden’s Nils van der Poel also proved to be a strong contender in the Men’s long distances, coming second in the 5000m and winning the 10.000m by a 18.27 second margin. 

After having been absent from International Speed Skating for two years, Van der Poel will start in the B Division, but he hopes to promote to the A Division. 

Because there will not be a 10,000m race in this season’s ISU World Cup Speed Skating series, he needs the 5000m races to qualify for the 10,000m at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in February.

Bloemen defends Canada’s honors

From outside Europe the World 5000m champion Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN) will probably be the strongest endurance specialist in the Men’s field. His compatriot and world record holder in the 10,000m Graeme Fish was nominated for the Canadian team too, but decided against travelling to Heerenveen in January.

Golikova looking forward to favorite distance

“I was tired,” Angelina Golikova (RUS) said. “It’s not easy, four distances in one weekend.” The Russian Sprinter was on top of the rankings after three distances into the European Sprint Championships, but eventually lost the title to world 1000m champion Jutta Leerdam (NED). Being more of a 500m specialist,

Golikova can eat her heart out at the World Cups, with a 500m on both Saturday and Sunday, and only one 1000m on Sunday.

Part two scheduled for Saturday’s post!!