Nils van der Poel stunned home favourite Patrick Roest and win his first Speed Skating World Championship title on a dramatic opening day in Heerenveen.
Van Der Poel stopped the clock in 6:08.395 in the men’s 5000m to stand atop the global podium for the first time, breaking a Swedish national record prevailing by almost two seconds in a dramatic race in the Netherlands.
His victory ensured a distraught Roest had to settle for silver on home ice, the same colour medal he won in the event two years ago.
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Bronze went to Sergey Trofimov of the Russian Skating Union, winning an individual medal for the first time having skating to back-to-back team pursuit bronzes in 2019 and 2020.
The home favourite wasn’t to be denied in the opening women’s race of the 2021 World Championships with Antoinette de Jong prevailing in the 3000m.
It was an emotional first world title for the 25-year-old, who finished in 3:58.47 and overcame the challenge of three-time Olympic champion Martina Sablikova.
Czeck skater Sablikova bagged silver while bronze went to Irene Schoutten, also of the Netherlands.
Twelve more medals are up for grabs in the Netherlands, with the event taking place in a bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday’s action will also see a dramatic day of action, with the men’s and women’s 500m races and both team pursuits also taking place.
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