2014 Speed Skating European Championships: Last day on track
1000 m Races
1000 m Senior Men
Italy takes control with Lorenzo Cassiolo followed by Swiss Livio Wenger. Tim Sibiet (Belgium) catches up with the lead but Cassioli wants to stay in front. Bart Swings progressively catches up from the rear. He passes Cassioli one lap from the arrival. As a clever strategist, Bart Swings (Belgium) imposes himself, finishing in front of Livio Wenger (Switzerland) and French Gwendal Le Pivert and Alexis Contin.
1000 m Senior Women
The women's race is calmer during the first laps until German Sabine Berg breaks away from the rear to take the race over. At the bell, Erika Zanetti takes the lead with Manon Kamminga (Netherlands) in her stream. Kamminga passes her on the inside and imposes herself on the line in front of Erika Zanetti (Italy) and Mareike Thum (Germany).
1000 m Junior B Men
The race starts at a good pace at the instigation of the Netherlands. Spain and Portugal are in the stream. The French and the Italians catch up from the rear little by little. At the bell, Nicolo Greguoldo shoots like a cannon ball. He gets the victory in front of Chris Huizinga (Netherlands) and David Lopez (Spain). The two French, Flavien Foucher and Martin Ferrié, have to make do with the 4th and 5th places.
1000 m Junior B Women
Italy takes control of the race right away. The three Italians gather in the lead at the second lap. Margaux Willaume (France) tries to make her way to the second place. On the line, Linda Rossi (Italy) finishes in front of her team mate Chiara Luciani and Hungarian Blanka Sántha. One of the Spanish skaters was heckled and went down on the last bend.
1000 m Junior A Women
The two Spanish skaters of the final make the first move. Amaia Faber breaks away alone while her team mate Izaskun Barba temporizes to give her more space. Italian Giula Lollobrigida and Belgian Sandrine Tas take a while to counter attack. Finally, a pack, led by Sandrine Tas and Vanessa Bittner (Austria), launches the chase. They cross the line in front of German Jenny Peissker.
1000 m Junior A Men
The race starts for good after a false start. The competitors leave German Simon Albrecht in charge of the operations. Raphaël Planelles gets in his stream. The two Italian skaters reach the front but Albrecht watches over them and places himself in second position. Then starts a war of position where each place is harshly fought for. Stefano Mareschi (Italy) leads the sprint but Albrecht makes a blistering acceleration in the last bend. He finishes in front of Italian Mareschi and Dutsch Schipper, who knew when to seize opportunities.
Relays, the ultimate track competition
The day goes on with the relays races.
Junior A Men
Germany takes the lead from the start, with Italy and France on their heels, and the Netherlands in the French stream. Italy passes in front after two laps, before the Netherlands overtake them on the inside. Places change at each lap. Italy is back in the lead, then it is France's turn... But the Italians' skating skills enable them to immediately take the reins back up. While the pack is busy heckling, the leading Italian secures his place. The other nations are now fighting for bronze and silver. Italian Cistola crosses the finish line first, while behind him Albrecht catches up like a bolt of lighting, overtaking French Soulet on the line.
Junior A Women
After a false start, Germany takes the lead for a lap before the Netherlands spark things up. But Germany soon takes control back, with Spain and Italy in her stream. Spain launches a great attack but the followers quickly catch up. Belgium and Germany are neck and neck. Belgium manages to take off, with the Spanish on her heels. Tas (Belgium) widens the gap in the last lap and wins. Behind, Guttierez finishes second for Spain, followed by Peissker for Germany. The race was closely fought and of homogeneous levels.
Junior B Men
The Netherlands, France and Germany are in the lead for the first part of the race. Italy and Belgium seem a little in the background. Halfway through, the pack has finally got back together. The Netherlands lead the operations until France takes over. The French contain the opposing attacks in keeping the inside line, with Italy and the Netherlands on their heels. Thomas Dambrun (France) crosses the finish line first, while Greguoldo (Italy) passes Huizinga (Netherlands) with a finish hawk.
Junior B Women
Germany takes the lead with Italy and Spain in her stream. The French are not far behind. After a relay in the lead for Switzerland, Spain speeds up a notch, followed by France. The Spanish can't keep up and see the other nations catching up at breakneck speed. No country really manages to secure the lead until Germany launches a decisive attack. Only Italy, with Bonechi, manages to catch up in the last lap, and steals the gold from Binus on the finish line. Final ranking: Italy, Germany, Switzerland.
Spain performs a great start, rejecting with more or less efficiency the attacks of the Dutch, Germans and Italians. A fall happens during a relay transition, leaving France and Austria high and dry. In the lead, Spain is still in front, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The German sprinters hit the accelerator to outdistance the Spanish and the Dutch. Germany stays in front until the end, crossing the line with a comfortable lead on the Netherlands and Spain.
The last race of the day is that of the senior men. Italy seems resolved to win the title. The Squadra Azzurra is in control of the lead for several laps before Germany passes in front. The French fall during a relay transition that was a little close to the Italians'. Germany takes off with the Netherlands in their stream. There are only 4 teams left in the running, the relay transitions are cleaner. Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany fight a tough battle in the last laps. Bart Swings draws on all his skills and talent to catch up from the 3rd place and offer the title to Belgium, in front of Germany and the Netherlands. Hats off!
Translation: Chloe Seyres