Last day on the road of San Benedetto: 500m
Rubber boats, raincoats and umbrellas were highly recommended!
Races could only start later in the day with the 500M-sprint-qualifications of the Seniors. The beginning of the evening started with the 500M-finals of the Juniors (that had been rescheduled from the day before) and the relay-qualifications in all categories. The evening ended with the finals of those relays.
500M-sprint-finals: Colombia dominates in the Junior category, not in the Senior one !
In the Junior ladies final, they were two Colombians, Yesenia Escobar and Magda Garces, with one German, Alisa Gutermuth, and one Venezuelan, Yarubi Vandres. The two Colombians, also finalists on the 500M-sprint on the track had no other goal than doing the same race as in Ascoli. And that is what they actually did since they both finished on the two first place of the podium after skating the perfect race. The only difference remained in the order of the two girls since Magda Garces took the gold whereas Yesenia had taken it on the track. Alisa Gutermut came in 3rd position, and Yarubi Vandres arrived 4th.
The four skaters of the finals were of four different nationalities: one Chilean, one Argentine, one Colombian and one Dutch. Once again, Colombia, with Andrés Campo, did not let any chances to his opponents. He won quite easily his finals in 42.268, whereas Lars Scheenstra (Netherlands) was probably counting on his height, hopping that his long legs would enable him to pass the other skaters on the arrival line. But things did not go as the Dutch would have liked since he had to be satisfied with the bronze. Lucas Silva (Chile) came in 2nd position and Nicolàs Nanni (Argentina) arrived 4th.
In the Senior categories, which could be called the top categories, it must be noted that the trend was reversed as far as the Colombian domination was concerned. European skaters ended up being at the top level since both in the ladie’s and in the men’s races two European skaters came in first and second positions, whereas Americans took the bronze in both categories. Colombia missed the podium also both in the ladies and the men’s races.
Italian skater, Erika Zanetti, was more than eager to take her revenge after her disqualification on the 200M two days before. Cecilia Baena (Colombia), who had not yet won any medals in the competition, was also very motivated to show that she still deserved to be considered as a star. Erin Jackson (USA) and Manon Kamminga (Netherlands) were the outsiders and could legitimately hope for a surprise. Kamminga took the lead very early in the race, closely followed by Baena who was probably hiding behind the Dutch, trying to preserve as much energy as possible for the final sprint. Zanetti was just behind Baena, so that she could control Baena who looked like being the most dangerous opponent. Jackson was at the end. In the last corner, Baena passed Kamminga thinking that the gold was waiting for her at the end of the race, but the Colombian seemed like she was missing power. The Italian quite easily passed her and Kamminga, and grabbed the gold that she had dreamed of in 47.077! Baena was passed by all ladies, including the American who came 3rd after Kamminga. Zanetti is the only Senior lady who took part in the 500M-final both on the track and on the road. She improved her result since she had grabbed the silver medal in Ascoli.
Two out of the four skaters were also qualified for the 500M-final on the track.Those two skaters, Gwendal Lepivert (France) and Andres Munoz (Colombia), were therefore probably considered as the favorites. Michel Mulders (Netherlands) and Justin Stelly (USA) were both outsiders then. French skater decided, as Manon Kamminga, to take the lead of the group quite early. He hoped that his strength and amazing speed would enable him to keep that position until the end. But that was without counting on Michel Mulder who managed to pass Lepivert in the very last meter of the race. The Dutch, who skated the race in 42.040, could not believe what he had just done! However, the French seemed very disappointed. How frustrated for him who was dreaming of achieving the same performance as his teammate, Ewen Fernandez, who had grabbed the gold the night before! Lepivert however became vice world champion for the first time of his career. Justin Stelly succeeded in kicking the Colombian out of the podium, taking the bronze medal, whereas Munoz had taken the gold on the same distance in Ascoli a few days before.
Useful linksBy Léa Réguer-Petit
Photos: © timsimaging.nl et Daniel Busser