Rest is as important to Roest en Schouten as continuing to study during the “winter break”.

Rest is as important to Roest en Schouten as continuing to study during the “winter break”.

A winter break in the middle of skating season almost felt like three weekends without a long track tournament. From Friday, Dutch top drivers must stand up again and Thialf will refuel.

Three days will be fought for NK distances, starting tickets for the national championships and above all for the World Championship distance. The top three runners per distance (women’s 5,000m and men’s 10,000m top two) qualify for the World Championships to be held in Heerenveen from 2-5 March.

You can view the schedule of Daikin NK distances below:

Ever since the end of September, when the first drivers were looking forward to the new season at the latest, the world championship distances have come to be known as the point on the horizon. For many, it’s the absolute main goal of the post-Olympic winter. It has to be there, everybody wants to be good at it.

The unbeatable time of the last few weeks has not been inconvenient for Roest. On Sunday, January 8th, after an intense battle with Norwegian Sander Eitrem, he clinched the all-round European Championship title. It is not allowed to reappear until the first weekend of February.

“After the European Championships, I was home for five to six days and then nine days in Collalbo,” says the skater from Reggeborgh, who, like Jumbo-Visma, completed a training camp in the Dolomites.

AH-Zaanlander skaters were looking for the Spanish sun and went to Tenerife. There Irene Schouten prepared for the most important part of the season.

“Of course I want to win the three- and five-kilometer championships at the Dutch Championships. And if I accept that, then I automatically qualify for the World Cup. But after all, the World Cup is the most important competition.” That’s why I’d rather win silver with NC and gold at World Championships than vice versa.”

No accent on Christmas

The so-called winter break lasted longer for Schouten than Roest because he skipped NK in every way and therefore also missed the European Championship in Hamar.

“What was particularly strange was that I didn’t peak at the end of December. It felt strange not to be involved in the games at all. Normally Christmas is secondary and now it was the main thing.

“I was out of the competition for a really long time, but it’s been good for me. I am happy with my choice. After Christmas I wasn’t very fit either, I had the flu for a week. had a busy year,” says the three-time Olympic champion.

“From then on, I better understand why other skaters voted more often.”

Success in the World Cup?

Choose and dose, not always wanting to give it all and not wanting to go to extremes everywhere. Roest learned this over the years, too.

The World Distance Championship has not yet turned into his tournament. To Roest’s credit, he has never won an individual World Cup gold medal, although he has three world titles and four Olympic medals.

“Well, I’ve raced in important races, but the World Championship wasn’t my best yet. I hope to change that.”

In 2019, Roest was defeated by Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen in the five kilometers, and a year later, Roest had won all five kilometers of the season so far, placing fourth.

Worse, he was also disqualified for not wearing his bracelet.

“I was a little tired when I started the World Cup in Salt Lake City. “You have to learn from these mistakes,” he said.

At NK distances, Roest is hoping for a spot in the fifth and tenth kilometers, and national coach Rintje Ritsma has undoubtedly reserved a spot for him in the team pursuit selection.

Roest can also climb over 1,500 metres, but the classification of distances at the World Cup is an obstacle.

“Sunday is almost impossible because the distances are done one after the other. If you want anything at ten kilometers, it’s hardly wise to do the 1,500 metres.”

“Fresh and full of energy”

After NK, two more World Cups will follow in Tomaszów, Poland. Roest: “These are great training games for keeping fit. But we won’t know until later this weekend what the best way to go to the World Cup is.”

Both Roest and Schouten are probably not going to open their mouths to become world champions in Heerenveen, the big goal of winter.

“I always use everything. But you can’t keep it high forever,” says Schouten. Roest: “I do my best when I start fresh and full of energy.”

Source: NOS