Van der Poel came into action in the penultimate stage, after Roest and Bergsma respectively. He already took a lead on Roest’s schedule at the start of his race, but with lightning-fast final laps he really pulverized the times of the Dutch skaters. He then also defeated his only real opponent, namely his own world record (12.32.95) with which he grabbed the world title and the reign at the longest distance a year ago in Thialf in Heerenveen.
It was striking that Van der Poel encouraged his major competitor Roest during his ride from the middle ground, both in word and gesture. At first it looked like psychological warfare, but a little later Van der Poel was also clapping for him out of sight of Roest. The Scandinavian is in some ways an elusive phenomenon. Although he competes with Roest for the prizes, he also regularly says in interviews that the Dutchman has a special place in his heart. The two have known each other since their era as juniors.
Van der Poel was initially the top favorite for the Olympic title at the longest skating distance in the Chinese capital. The striking appearance from Trollhättan has been unapproachable on long distances since last year. He became world champion in both disciplines and also holds the world records.
Nils van der Poel was in a class of its own on Friday.
In almost all recent races he looks supreme and the competition does not come close to him, but on Sunday at the Olympic five kilometers there seemed to be a trace of doubt in Van der Poel. Roest put him to the test by recording a creditable time of 6.09.31. The Swedish sensation had to crawl under there in the final stage and he eventually succeeded with a lead of only 0.47 seconds. As a result, he won his first gold Olympic medal and the grapes were sour for Roest.
The Dutchman had to settle for silver, Bergsma finished in a disappointing fifth place (6.13.18). Immediately afterwards, Roest stated the goal to attack Van der Poel in the ten kilometers as well, although the NvdP its best distance.
Nils van der Poel (center) and Patrick Roest (left) were already on the podium together after the 5 kilometers.
A few days later, Van der Poel himself detonated a bomb in the Orange camp by accusing them of corruption and the biggest scandal in the history of skating. This following an interview with scientist Sander van Ginkel on skating.nl, in which the Dutchman spoke about influencing Olympic ice master Mark Messer in order to create the best conditions for the top skaters from our country.
The statements of Van Ginkel and Van der Poel resulted in a riot that occupied the minds in Beijing for two days. Van der Poel appeared to experience little hindrance on the ice, given his bizarre ride. During his race against Ghiotto, he left no doubt who the big boss is. Everyone took into account that he would take the title, but that he would realize his mission with such force majeure…
Patrick Roest already won silver in the 5000 meters.
Roest has also been one of the world’s best for years, but still misses the ten kilometers a bit too often. Not infrequently he does not plan his ride properly and he blows himself up prematurely. In Beijing, on the other hand, he drove wisely, only it was not nearly enough for gold. “With a quiet start, I drove my best 10 kilometers in the past,” Roest concluded afterwards. “Although some laps were a bit too quiet. However, I had to get my act together. Fortunately, those faster laps came later. I gave everything. There was no more for me.”
The farmer’s son from Lekkerkerk won three world all-round titles and several European titles in his career, but he is still waiting for his first gold Olympic medal.
Jorrit Bergsma won gold eight years ago in Sochi in the 10 kilometers.
Bergsma became Olympic champion once. Eight years ago he had the ten kilometers written to his name in Sochi. The 35-year-old Frisian has also won five world titles, including three in the ten kilometers. Unfortunately for both Dutchmen, Van der Poel is currently a size or three too big. The brand new two-time Olympic champion breaks through barriers.
The Netherlands has now won eight medals in the skating hall in Beijing. Irene Schouten won gold twice: in the 3000 and 5000 meters. Ireen Wüst and Kjeld Nuis (both 1500 meters) were also on the highest scaffold. Thomas Krol (1500 meters) and Roest (5 and 10 kilometers) won silver. Antoinette de Jong won bronze on the skating mile.
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