Speed skating European Championships:

In the Arena Ritten everything is ready

Collalbo, 9 January 2019 - The long wait is at an end! On Friday the opening ceremony for the Allround and Sprint Combination European Speed Skating Championships will take place in Collalbo at 12:30 am.
Afterwards Europe's best skate racers will fight for gold, silver and bronze for three days. Olympic champions, Olympic medallists, World and European champions will be competing on Renon. A total of 82 athletes from 13 different countries have qualified for the European Championships. The host nation Italy is represented with eight speed skaters, but none of them are South Tyrolean athletes.
On the fastest open-air track in the world - 15 of the 28 current open-air world records were set on Renon - the crème de la crème of the international speed skating scene will be competing. Starting with living legend Sven Kramer, who has nine Olympic medals (4 x Gold) and who won 28 World championship titles and nine Allround Speed Skating European Championship titles.
32-year-old Kramer won his very first European Championship title in Collalbo. That was in 2007, when a continental championship in the Olympic sport of speed skating was held for the first time at the Renon ice rink. 12 years on, and Kramer has its eyes firmly set on his tenth European Championship title. But his compatriots Douwe de Vries and Patrick Röst, the Norwegians Havard Bokko and Sverre Lunde Pedersen, or the strong Russian athletes will do everything they can to thwart this plan. The Italian team also wants to join in at the front with Gabriele Galli (H2O Varese), Davide Ghiotto (Fiamme Gialle), Andrea Giovannini (Fiamme Gialle) and Michele Malfatti (S.C. Pergine).
All eyes are on the duel between Wüst and Sablikova
Also represented are Europe’s top female athletes who are also part of the global elite. For example defending champion Ireen Wüst, who won an incredible eleven Olympic medals. With five gold medals she is the most successful Olympic athlete in the Netherlands. In the course of her career, the 32-year-old has also won 18 World Championships and five European Allround Championships - but she "only" won two silver medals on Renon in 2007 and 2011.
Wüst’s strongest competitor for the Renon European Championship gold is likely to be Martina Sablikova from Czechia, who has won six Olympic medals and who keeps 16 World Championship gold medals in her trophy cabinet. It was she who defeated Wüst in 2007 and 2011. For many South Tyrolean fans Sablikova counts as a local hero because she very often trains on her "home track" on Renon. Starting for Italy is Francesca Lollobrigida (Aeronautica Militare). Claudia Pechstein, the ice skating legend from Germany, decided to renounce for the start in Collalbo.
Who is ahead in the sprint combination?
In addition to the Allround European Champions, the sprint combination champions will also be crowned this weekend. A first compared to the last two European Championships on Renon. The fans in Collalbo can therefore look forward to two additional award ceremonies.
In the sprint combination Dutch athlete Kai Verbij and Karolina Erbanova from Czechia are the defending champions. Erbanova retired in summer and will not start on Renon, which is why Russian athlete Olga Fatkulina (Olympic silver medal 2014 in Sochi over 500m) slips into the favourite role. Vanessa Herzog from Innsbruck, who travels to the high plateau with a history of five World Cup victories and the European Championship title on the 500-metre distance, can also be trusted to deliver a strong performance. Six years ago, the 23-year-old also became Junior World Champion over 1000 metres on Renon.
The Italians have nominated Noemi Bonazza (Fiamme Oro), David Bosa (Fiamme Oro) and Mirko Giacomo Nenzi (Fiamme Gialle) for the sprint combination After coming second in the Italian national championships, Yvonne Daldossi from Lana also had hopes of being included, but in the end was not considered.
Competitions start immediately after the opening ceremony
“The preparations are now completed. The last few weeks have been very exhausting for the whole organizing committee. We have done everything in our power to present ourselves as a good host this weekend and to make sure that the competitions are as perfect as possible. We're happy that it’s all finally starting. We wish all the athletes injury-free races and good luck in the race for gold. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our 80 volunteers and sponsors for their support. Without their support we would not be able to organise the European Championships in Collalbo”, said Chair of the Organising Committee Jakob Gamper.
The competition programme for the European Speed Skating Championships in the Arena Ritten will start on Friday afternoon (11 January) following the opening ceremony at 1:30 pm. On Saturday, 12 January, the competitions start at 11:05 am. During the afternoon the first two European Championship titles are up for grabs: the allround for the women and the sprint combination for the men. On Sunday, 13 January the races will begin at 12:30 pm, when the new female European Champion in the allround and the new male European Champion in the combined discipline are determined.
There are still tickets for the European Championships available: They can be purchased for 25 Euros at https://ec2019.ritten.com/. The event ticket, that permits access on all three days of the competition, is available at 65 Euros. Children up to 6 years watch for free. Enjoy the party atmosphere in the heated marquee, during and especially after the races!
Speed Skating European Championships in Collalbo on Renon (11. – 13.1.2019) - Programme
11.01.2019 from 12:30 pm: Opening ceremony
From 1:00 pm: Competition Day 1
Women - Allround 500 m
Men - Sprint 500 m
Women - Allround 3,000 m
Men - Sprint 1,000 m
12.01.2019 from 11:30 am: Competition Day 2
Women - Allround 1,500 m
Men - Sprint 500 m
Women - Sprint 500 m
Men - Allround 500 m
Women - Allround 5,000 m
Women - Sprint 1,000 m
Men - Sprint 1,000 m
Men - Allround 5,000 m
13.01.2019 from 12:30 pm: Competition Day 3
Women - Sprint 500 m
Men - Allround 1,500 m
Women - Sprint 1,000 m
Men - Allround 10,000 m
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