Last day in Oostende: last four races, last four titles!
Last day in Oostende
The circuit was 1.3K long which is rather short for a marathon circuit and which can be quite boring for the athletes. It is however a great advantage for the spectators since they can see the peloton very often during the race. All eyes in Oostende were focused on speed skating this afternoon!
In the Junior categories, Colombians grabbed 50% of the medals (including one gold). China Taipei, South Korea, and Venezuela took the other medals.
In the Junior ladies
The race remained rather calm. Rare attacks were attempted notably by French skater Anaïs Laurent. The USA were often at the front leading the pack, while the Colombian armada was preserving its strength behind, but always in the first third of the peloton. Other skaters were seen in the front such as German sprinter Alisa Gutermut or local skater Sandrine Tas who could show out her Belgium suit to her supporters. When the bell rang to announce the final lap, about 30 skaters were still in the pack and nobody could really bet on anyone. If Sandrine Tas was still in the pack, you also had most of the Colombians, very fast Taiwanese and South Koreans, or even Italian sprinter Linda Rossi (who won the 500M-sprint on the road). And finally, for the second time of the championships (only), it was not a Colombian who won but an amazing Taiwanese, Yi Suan Liu, who even crossed the line a few meters ahead after a race of one hour and almost thirteen minutes. The rest of the group was led by Johana Viveros (COL) who came second and Wan Yy Su (KOR).
In the Junior men
The race was more animated. The first part of the race was fast but there were no real attacks. The Colombians however tried their chance in the second part of the race and four of them escaped from the pack. After having placed two skaters on each podium in almost all races of the Championships, the plan was probably to place three Colombians on the podium of the marathon. So, whereas they were leading the race, several skaters tried to catch them up, in short pelotons of three, one after another. Denmark, with Stefan Due Smidt and Viktor Thorup were one of the strongest since they were the ones who made the peloton catch the Colombians. As a matter of consequences, as in the girls race, one lap from the end, there was only one peloton counting more than thirty skaters. Finally, despite a bit of suspense, two Colombians, Alfonso Cujanvantes and Andres Jimenez, respectively took the gold and the silver, just before a Venezuelan, Sebastian Paredes.
In the Junior category, Colombians truly dominated the category from the beginning to the end of the championships.
In the Senior category, an Italian and a Dutch (but no Belgium!) took both titles. Colombians were kicked out of the podium in this category.
The Senior ladies race was more like a “waiting race” except for a couple of unsuccessful but animating attacks of New-Zealander Nicole Begg. The most efficient attack came from Dutch skater, Manon Kamminga, who, three laps from the end, managed to escape from the group accompanied by Italian Francesca Lollobrigida and Taiwanese Huang Yuting. The peloton tried to organize a chase, unsuccessfully. In the last lap, the three skaters were still ahead. Another Taiwanese was chasing with a South Korean a few meters behind, and the rest of the peloton was some more meters behind. Finally, Francesca Lollobrigida managed to make the difference before the last lap and passed the line in first position (taking her fourth gold medal of the Championships!), Manon Kamminga arrived second just a second later, and Huang Huting took the bronze six seconds after the Dutch.
The Senior men were the most numerous on the starting line. The local and favorite Bart Swings started in one of the last positions. But not even one lap later, he was already in the front. Just a few laps after the start, New Zealander Peter Michael attacked soon followed by one Taiwanese and a South Korean. The peloton remained calm behind. The first attack rarely is the good one! And indeed, Peter Michael “lost” his two partners before being caught up by the peloton after staying four laps ahead. The peloton was very massive and in the following laps, it remained quite compact but rather fast. About twelve laps from the end, there was another attack notably with Peter Michael, Crispijn Ariens (NED), Nolan Beddiaf (FRA), Tim Sibiet (BEL) and Jorge Bolanos (ECU). Those were strong ones and although it was only the second serious attack, the peloton wit Bart Swings, Ewen Fernandez (FRA), Alexis Contin (FRA), Gary Heckman (NED) or Patxi Peula (SPA) did not seem too worried about the situation. And that context was in favor of the escaped ones. After a couple of laps, there were only Nolan Beddiaf, Crispijn Ariens and Peter Michael left in the front, and the three leaders soon had 30 seconds of advantage, and then 50, until more than a minute at one point. Had the peloton resigned itself? About six laps from the end, the Dutch made the difference with the others. Peter Michael could not follow Crispijn Ariens and had no other choices but to stay with Nolan Beddiaf who managed to stay with the New-Zealander just a few laps before letting Peter Michael go. So, three laps from the end, Crispijn Ariens was in the front, forty or forty-five seconds before Peter Michael who was himself fifteen seconds before Nolan Beddiaf who was now only ten seconds before the peloton who had finally decided to react a little bit: the bronze (at least) was still to be taken whereas it seemed almost sure for the two first ones to grab their medals. Finally, Crispijn Ariens became World Champion after one hour and two minutes of race. Peter Michael came second while the peloton was sprinting just behind him. Nolan Beddiaf had been caught up in between and Bart Swing took the bronze after winning the sprint!
|2||Viveros Mondragon Johana||COL||01:12:58,894|
|3||Hwang Ji Su||KOR||01:12:58,954|
|1||Cujavante Luna Alex Alfonso||COL||01:04:54,614|
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