Action began today in the International Skating Union European Speed Skating Championships in Collalbo in Italy, with qualifying racing in four events.
With action in the men’s and women’s 500 metres, the 3,000m ladies allround and the men’s 1,000m sprint at the Ritten Arena, it was a strong day for the Dutch as they topped qualifying in all four events.
In the first event of the day, the women’s 500m, Antoinette de Jong, who won Olympic team pursuit silver at Pyeongchang 2018, set the fastest time with a personal best of 39.194sec.
That saw her come in just seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Russia’s Elizaveta Kazelina, winner of five gold medals at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Changchun.
Spurred on by the home crowd, Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida came in third with a personal best of her own at 39.563.
The Dutch also picked up first place in the men’s event as well, where 2017 European sprint champion Kai Verbij set the fastest time of 35.232.
He came in ahead of Norway’s Henrik Fagerli Rukke, who finished in 35.367, while another Dutchman Kjeld Nuis, the 1,000m and 1,500m gold medallist at Pyeongchang 2018, came third with a time of 35.471.
Having qualified fastest in the women’s 500m, de Jong then returned to the ice for the 3,000m allround event, and promptly qualified fastest once again.
With a time of 4min 08.075se c she finished ahead of the Czech Republic's Martina Sáblíková, the two time Olympic champion from Vancouver 2010, who set a time of 4:08.226.
Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida was third in 4:11.282.
Perhaps the performance of the day came in the last event, when Verbij returned from finishing top in the 500m to set a track record in the 1,000m.
He finished in a time of 1:08.970, almost a full second ahead of Russia’s Victor Lobas.
Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen from Norway then came third in 1:09.889.