During the first KNSB track/road competition in Heerenveen, Bart Hoolwerf was cruising comfortably. He often crossed the line first in a points/elimination race, so he could win the segment. And this is while the jockey won the silver medal at the world championship distances only a month and a half ago. “We’re still in the last stretch of the rest, in fact I just got off my vacation. It’s my fourth time on the skates this year. Last week I was half an hour, last Wednesday I was allowed to train with the Dutch preselection and yesterday another hour.”
“It just felt so easy. I had a very good winter and you wouldn’t lose that level in three or four weeks. Besides, I’ve already picked up the string a little bit through a few cycling training sessions,” Holwerf explains.
It was the first competition for many, because the skater wants to focus more on vaccination again. In the past, I mainly stayed with national competitions, but the international field is not an unknown territory for Eemdijker. In the junior ranks, he has already become European champion on the road, and last year he was the best in the Netherlands in the points race. “The game is amazing. How you chase through corners in the peloton, what a nice feeling. I will definitely continue to play this sport.”
Results from the past and on the ice make no guarantees at the international level, as Hoolwerf knows. “The level is much higher there. Then I really have to work. I still don’t know where I stand. I’ll probably face the facts for a while. But that’s fine. Then I have things to work on again.”
The summer program isn’t over yet, but Hoolwerf hopes to be at the start of the European Championships in France. “If it fits into our schedule, I’d like to participate. I think it’s good for the sport and for myself. Mass starts are often chaotic, just like snowboarding. So I really need to take this race back a bit. I also think it’s a good motivator to touch my highest level this summer.” In addition, I like it, ”the 25-year-old driver confirms once again. After the European Championships in July, he will focus on skating again, until Holwerf will miss the World Figure Skating Championships anyway.
Kai Schipper wins the tumultuous final
Four men were preparing for the final battle in the 500m: Glenn Nijenhuis, Raymond Quandt and the Schepper brothers. A great way for Kwant to show that his hard work in Italy has paid off. Unfortunately, the final ended too soon for him, as the second false start of the day put an end to the sprint distance. After an incident with Rick Schipper, Glenn Nigenhuis was also disqualified. As a result, only Kai and Rick Schepper crossed the finish line in an organized manner. “A very crazy final. In fact, I was hoping to put on a show here, a great start to the season. And let’s see how the balance of power is,” says the winner, Kai Schepper.
While he had to ride the 500m and race the points himself, he was also busy training. “You need a lot of energy to pull that together, but I also get energy from it.” This interaction was also evident all along the track. In between his races, Scheiber engaged with young skaters, and during his races encouraged them loudly. “Now I am comfortable, it is the beginning of the season and we are not competing with the world champions. A mistake is still acceptable.”
In addition to training, the Schipper brothers are also committed to the development of sport in the Netherlands in other ways, for example by organizing training camps and clinics. Multiple times world champion Joey Mantilla was one of the guests. “We have known Joey since 2015, when he slept in the attic for two weeks during his stay in the Netherlands. We took care of him like two small children. Now he is back in our country for a longer period, so we discussed the possibilities of the clinic with him. He brings a little charisma and can explain very well. Moreover That, too, had a refreshing note for me. It’s not often that someone gives me technical advice anymore. In addition to Joey, Desley Hill and Michelle Mulder have given clinics. “We love helping people in the Netherlands who embrace the sport,” says Kai Schepper. “.
However, the brothers are committed to making a big impression this summer. With international tournaments in mind, they have joined courses for national pre-selection again. “For me, it’s not just about the place in choosing the European Championship, but also the road to it. This is more important than the trip to France. It doesn’t matter if it’s successful or not. If the road looks right. With two new assistants, it’s taken Nice step forward, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Curious about all the results of the first national competition? look here.
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