The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer extended his record number of European Speed Skating Championship titles to eight after fending off Belgium’s Bart Swings on the second and final day of competition in Belarus' capital Minsk.
The 29-year-old triple Olympic champion had begun the day top of the standings but was only able to record a time of 1min 48.08sec in the 1,500 metres, which was only the fifth fastest time.
It allowed Swings to move into contention for the overall victory after he finished second in the discipline in 1:46.41, with only Russia’s Denis Yuskov recording a faster time as he completed the distance in 1:14.18.
Yuskov, a specialist over the shorter distances, opted not to take part in the 10,000m which ended his prospects of ending on the podium.
The longer distance event, which was being contested for the final time before it makes way for the 1,000m in 2017, unsurprisingly proved pivotal as Kramer clocked the fastest time in 13:11.98 to finish on a total of 150.102 points, with the lower the score the better.
Swings, a Dutch-born Belgian, finished second in 13:15.47 to end the four-race competition just shy of Kramer on 150.464.
The podium was completed by Jan Blokhuijsen, the winner in Kramer’s absence in 2014, as 151.176 proved enough for the Dutchman to claim bronze.
The Czech Republic’s Martina Sábliková, a three-times Olympic gold medallost, was able to replicate Kramer's feat of winning after an overnight lead as the 28-year-old earned a fifth title in the women's competition.
Sábliková proved dominate throughout the final day as she claimed victories in the 1,500m and 5,000m events to eventually end with a comfortable margin of victory, with a total of 161.455.
Her win prevented Ireen Wüst from achieving four straight titles at the Championship, with the Dutch skater ending on a total of 163.188.
The Netherlands also had skaters in third and fourth positions with Antoinette de Jong and Marije Joling ending on 164.043 and 164.163 respectively.