Four laps later, Suttels' left ski went off and a cry of desperation went through the crowded Thialf. However, there was no disappointment with the trio. It was a fall that the young skater can only learn from.
The Norwegian opponent (Sander Etrim, Peder Kungschug, Sverre Lunde Pedersen), also Olympic champion, set a new world record: 3:34.22 (old: 3:34.47 by the USA in 2021 in Salt Lake City). At the moment of the fall, Belgium was more than a second faster than defending champion Netherlands, which ranked third behind Italy.
The strategy was for veteran Swings to skate into the lead for eight laps. “A cross hand from Indra in the back. “That really helps,” Swings says. A fall is no reason for figure skating coach Suttels to question his choice of skating. “Oh come on. “This sport is just getting started.”
“If Sottiles had stayed afloat, there could have been a national record,” Swings said. That had been 3:45.64 for over a decade and had been ridden by Swings, his brother Martin, and Ferry Spruyt in Salt Lake City. There, Belgian pursuers in the World Cup competition ski in three divisions. And in Utah, they can qualify for next month's world championships in Calgary.
Belgium was the only one of the six teams in Thialf Arena to score with only three skaters, simply because the other Belgian skaters would not be able to keep up with the pace. Other countries can choose from four drivers.
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