First day of the 2014 European Championships of Speed Skating
300 m against the clock: Simon 'Boom Boom' Albrecht surpasses the Seniors
Senior Women: Bunched together
The 300 m races traditionally open the ball in speed skating. Without much surprise, Erika Zanetti won the first Italian gold medal of the day. Yet she's only 11 hundredths in front of young Laetishia Schimek (Germany). The third place goes to another Italian, Giulia Bongiorno, 14 hundredth behind. A tight competition!
Note : Erika Zanetti broke the World record: 25,889!
Senior Men: Same scenario
Young French Darren de Souza (23.538) seized the title to the King of Distance Skating, Spanish Ioseba Fernandez (23.555)... for less than two hundredths! Bronze goes to another French, Nicolas Pelloquin, who is back and in good shape. Ronald Mulder (Nederland) has to make do with the 4th place. The TOP 9 is under 24 seconds.
Juniors A Women
Austrian Vanessa Bittner (26.246) outdistanced Belgians Stien Vanhoutte (26.469) and Sandrine Tas (26.545) by two tenths. The TOP 10 is under 25 seconds.
Junior A Men: Sinon Albrecht wins unanimous support
Valor does not depend upon age! Young German Simon Albrecht did the stunning time of 23.003 seconds... That is to say, 5 tenths less than the best Seniors! Italian Ricardo Passarotto is more than 1.2 seconds behind. French Benjamin Soulet (24.249) takes the 3rd place, being 5 thousands 'late' on the Italian.
Juniors B Women: An Italian podium
The Squadra Azzurra grant themselves the three steps of the podium with Giorgia Normida, Carlotta Camarain and Giulia Bonechi. French Marine Lefeuvre finishes at the 4th place.
Junior B Men: Tight results
The Junior B had a hard fought race. Marco de Flaviis (24.461 - Italy) and Tim Siegel (24.478 - Germany) are only one hundredth apart while Thomas Dambrun (24.581) is one tenth behind. Italy places 3 skaters in the TOP 5.
Point and elimination races
Senior Women - 10 km point and elimination race: The Dutch-Italian fight
The senior women's point and elimination race witnessed a fight at the top between the two favorites. Francesca Lollobrigida gleaned 23 points facing Dutch Manon Kammiga (17 points). French Clémence Halbout completes the podium with 7 points, as a result of having patiently capitalized to outdo German Sabine Berg (5 points).
Senior Men - 10 km point and elimination race: A high level upper crust
French World Champion Alexis Contin (15 points) fought for the victory in the last meters of the race against German Felix Rijhnen (15 points too). Felix continues to improve throughout the years. The two men surpassed two big names of the discipline, favorite Belgian Bart Swings and Italian Fabio Francolini. Top world skaters were alined on the start line!
Junior A Women - 10 km point and elimination race: France in the lead
French Déborah Marchand (32 points) didn't give her opponents the slightest chance in collecting 32 points out of the 67 available. Belgian Sandrine Tas (18 points) ends up 2nd in front of Italian Laura Brandolini (11 points).
Junior A Men - 10 km point and elimination race: Another Italian podium
Italians Daniel Niero, Stefano Marschi and Alessio Paciolla performed a great team race, respectively getting 16, 14 and 10 points. French Timothy Loubineaud is relegated to the 4th place, at the foot of the podium.
Junior B Women - 5.000 m point race
Talented Linda Rossi (15 points) gets a new continental title in winning her first race of the 2014 European Championships. She finishes in front of Spanish Ana Humanes (11 points) and Italian Martina Zanini. Italy places 3 skaters in the TOP 6.
Junior B Men - 5.000 m point race
France does a nice double in getting the title and the 3rd place with Flavien Foucher (12 points) and Martin Ferrié (4 points). The 2nd place goes to Spanish David López (6 points). Bronze was closely fought with 3 skaters at 4 points! Chris Huizinga (Nederland) has to make do with the 4th place and Doucelin Pédicone (France) with the 5th place. The French are 3 in the TOP 5.
Medals stocktaking after the first day
Italy gets off to a great start in winning 6 titles as soon as the first day. France, with a team that seems to experience a renewal on a continental level, should be closely watched after. Germany and Nederland seem to stay in the background compared to the previous years.
Useful linksBy Alfathor
Photos : Thomas Wendt
Translation: Chloe Seyres