Report on the 2012 Flanders Grand Prix
A beneficial renovation of the Oostende track
In 2012, Italy organizes the World Championships of Speed Skating. In 2013, it is Belgium's turn… on the track of Oostende, the vacation resort of the Grand Prix of Flandres for several years now. So that the track has been totally renovated for the occasion with a brand-new blue Vesmaco surface. By the way, a lot more skaters have come to the track this year, which is proof that the quality of the equipment influences the skaters' choice. Probably too, lots of skaters must have come to test the track before the upcoming international date!
The Opening Ceremony of the Grand Prix started with the inauguration of the track of Zandvoorde (Oostende) in presence of Dr. Roberto Martta, the president of the International Speed Skating Committee and of lots of elected representatives. Then, the organization insisted to offer a bunch of flowers to every European Champion present…
The Present Forces
A few weeks after the European Championships of Speed Skating in Szeged in Hungary, no less than 47 European Champions made the trip to Belgium to confront one another. It is a nice proportion compared to the 500 registered skaters! It is also the occasion to get ready before the World Championship in Italy in early September.
Report on the Men's Senior Category
Without much surprise, Bart Swings (Powerslide Matter World) showed great steadiness at home all through the competitions of the 2012 Grand Prix of Flandres. He won 3 races out of 5: the 10 km point race, the 8 km line and the 30 km race. He leaves the victory to his opponents only twice: the first time to his team-mate Ewen Fernandez (Powerslide Matter World) on the 15 km elimination race, and the second time on the 1000m sprint against Gwendal Le Pivert (French Team). All in all, Bart is an all-rounded skater able to express himself in long sprints as well as in long-distance races.
He did several solo laps during the elimination race, in order to avoid the surrounding agitation. He also knew how to quickly escape during the 30 km road and get more than one minute ahead of the pack.
The second place of the general ranking goes to Ewen Fernandez (Powerslide Matter World). The French has been rising for 2 years: He won the marathon in Berlin in 2011 and joined the leading team of Powerslide. In 2012, he seized a couple of nice places at the last European Championships in Hungary, including a 2nd place at the 10 km elimination point race.
Dutch Ariens Crispijn (Skov Heerde) also showed great adaptation capacities all through the races. He ends up 3rd of the general ranking. He is around the 3rd and the 7th place at each race. He was close from being deprived of the Bronze by Nolan Beddiaf (RPM Poli Cadomotus), who was on form during the first two days. Ariens Crispijn was saved by his elimination race during which he managed to stay safe longer than the French…
The Women's Senior Category
Just like Bart Swings, French Justine Halbout (French Team) won 3 races out of 5. She mastered the 1.000 m, the road and the elimination race. Just like Bart, she scores a total of 7 points. The 2nd and 3rd places go to the Germans of the Powerslide World Team: Sabine Berg and Katharina Rumpus. Sabine Berg showed good steadiness in remaining in the 2nd to 5th places throughout the races. Behind her, Katharina Rumpus had to fight hard to keep her 3rd place. The women's ranking is far tighter than that of the men's, there is a gap of only 9 points between the 3rd and the 6th women!
For example, Manon Kamminga (Team Sprog), 5th at the general ranking, managed to win the 3.000 m. As for Déborah Marchand (French Team), she ends up 7th in winning the 1.000m.
NOTE: the disqualification of Nathalie Barbotin (French Team) who could have aspired to the Top-5 probably. She played the role of a deluxe team mate for the other French skaters.
From a media point of view, things were pretty well done. Despite a few failures, the live broadcasting was good and enabled to follow most of the competitions with a few very useful overlays. During the elimination races for example, there was the list of the eliminated skaters.
Let's also note the quickness of the uploading online of the photos and the results by the organization. It is yet a shame that the sound was in mono, it is not very pleasant to listen only with one ear. The few seconds of stereo were a lot more captivating! Otherwise, a very good work on the whole for a successful collaboration of several media.
General ranking of the Men's Category
|1)||Bart Swings (Powerslide Matter World Team)||BEL||1||2||1||1||2||7|
|2)||Ewen Fernandez (Powerslide Matter World Team)||FRA||2||3||2||2||1||10|
|3)||Ariens Crispijn (Skov Heerde)||NED||3||7||6||3||5||24|
|4)||Nolan Beddiaf (RPM Poli Cadomotus)||FRA||5||9||3||4||14||35|
|5)||Felix Rijhnen (Powerslide Matter World Team)||GER||19||6||22||7||3||57|
|6)||Tim Simbiet (ZRC Zandvoorde)||BEL||4||19||12||12||15||62|
|7)||Jore Jan Den Berghe (ZRC Zandvoorde)||BEL||11||8||8||11||24||62|
|8)||Martin Dias (Roller Lagos)||POR||13||11||18||10||10||62|
|9)||Diogo Marreiros (Roller Lagos)||POR||20||20||9||9||6||64|
|10)||Gwendal Le Pivert (Equipe de France)||FRA||21||1||5||19||20||66|
General ranking of the Women's Category
|1)||Justine Halbout (Equipe de France)||BEL||2||1||2||1||1||7|
|2)||Sabine Berg (Powerslide Matter World Team)||GER||3||3||5||2||2||15|
|3)||Katharina Rumpus (Powerslide Matter World Team)||GER||11||6||3||3||3||26|
|4)||Juliette Pouydebat (EO Skates)||FRA||7||5||8||4||6||30|
|5)||Manon Kamminga (Team Sprog)||NED||15||2||1||7||8||33|
|6)||Irene Schouten (Radboud)||BEL||6||11||6||8||4||35|
|7)||Deborah Marchand (Equipe de France)||FRA||1||13||9||5||15||43|
|8)||Tina Struever (Equipe d'Allemagne)||GER||9||12||10||6||12||49|
|9)||Bianca Roosenboom (Team Sprog)||NED||12||7||13||9||11||52|
|10)||Nadja Wenger (Liestal RSC)||SUI||10||14||12||10||09||55|
Translated by Chloé Seyres
Photos: Kevin Lesueur (RSSP)