Sunday, December 28, 2008

Essent Cup 9 Assen

Last night was yet another Essent Cup race in the rink of Assen. It was a great night for the DSB Bank's ladies team with Maria Sterk crossing the line in first place with her first victory in the Essent Cup for 2009 and gaining more points over Viks Mariska Huisman in the battle for the Gold Jersey.

The ladies race started like most weeks at 18:30. It was a cold evening in Assen with temperatures getting as low as -4 degrees. DSB Bank's Maria Sterk decided to race the race sitting on the skater closest to her in the overall ranking which is Mariska Huisman (Viks). There were a few breakaway attempts in Assen from the long track skater and silver medalist at the Salt Lake Olympics Gretha Smit (Hofmeier).

The final of the ladies ended up in a sprint finish. Mariska Huisman (Viks) getting caught on the inside of the peleton and not moving to the outside with one lap to go ended up having to try to catch back up to Maria (DSB Bank) in the final lap to try to take the victory. Maria Sterk (DSB Bank) making her sprint with one lap to go took the outside line and going into the last corner was in first place carrying on to the finish lline in first to take the race victory in Assen. Mariska Huisman was in second place going into the final corner but with Maria having one to two meters was unable to close the gap completely by the finish line but the race ended up in a lunge at the line. Third place went to Andrea Sikkema (Van der Wiel) and fourth went to the strong Gretha Smit (Hofmeier).

Ladies Results
1st Maria Sterk (DSB Bank)
2nd Mariska Huisman (Viks)
3rd Andrea Sikkema (Van der Wiel)
4th Gretha Smit (Hofmeier)
5th Erna Kijk In de Vegt (Landjuweel)

The mens race didn't end in a way that everyone expected. The mens race started off with Cedric Michaud (Nefit), Bob de Vries (BAM) and Jan Maarten Heideman (DSB Bank) going for the first three sprint points of the race. Jan Maarten Heideman (DSB Bank) decided he wanted to make the race hard and tried to attack after the sprints with Bob de Vries (BAM) and Cedric Michaud (Nefit) sitting behind him not leading. After many laps of continuing on Jan Maarten decided it was time to go back to the peleton and there once he again he decided to attack off the front.

After many attempts Jan Maarten (DSB Bank) gave up the breakaway attempts. This left the door open for his team mate Ingmar Berga (DSB Bank) to attack off the front with approximately five other skaters including Crispijn Ariens (Pe People), Christijn Groeneveld (Renault) and Douwe de Vries (Adformatie). In this breakaway everyone was pulling through for leads except Christijn Groeneveld (Renault) who was intructed by his coach to not lead. After many laps of trying to escape this breakaway ended up coming back to the peleton for the re-group before the final 20 lap sprint elimination.

In the final sprint for the elimination DSB Bank went to the front with Jens Zwister taking the lead followed by Jan Maarten Heideman and then Ingmar Berga. On the outside of the peleton BAM made their move with approximately six laps before the sprint and Jens Zwister stepped wide after finishing his laps in the front. Moving up on the outside was Shane Dobbin (DSB Bank) who was sitting in good position inside the top 10 crashing down the back straight with only four laps before the sprint elimination. Jan Maarten Heideman and Ingmar Berga (DSB Bank) were left at the front and Jan Maarten Heideman got caught in bad position and making it through to the final 20 for DSB was Ingmar Berga.

In the final 20 laps there were a few breakaway attempts but BAMs Willem Hut lead the peleton at the front and closed down any attempts soon after they started. Ingmar Berga sitting on Sjoerd Huisman (Nefit) in the final 10 laps ended up getting completely taken out of the race getting thrown in the air and down again. With BAM's Bob de Vries leading out the sprint going down the back straight Sjoerd Huisman (Nefit) went around the outside while going into the final corner Bob de Vries (BAM) stepping wide and Sjoerd skating between the gap and into first place. Crossing the line in first place was Sjoerd Huisman (Nefit) but with the Jury thinking it was Sjoerd that took out Ingmar Berga (DSB Bank) ended up getting disqualified for a fault. So after his disqualification the victory went to Arjan Stroetinga (BAM) who crossed the line in second.

Mens Results
1st Arjan Stroetinga (BAM)
2nd Karlo Timmerman (Renault)
3rd Cedric Michaud (Nefit)
4th Christijn Groeneveld (Renault)
5th Bob de Vries (BAM)

Results of the final event of the evening are below

First Division Marathon results
1st Bart van der Valk (Geoenehart)
2nd Rob Russer (BCT Schaatsteam)
3rd Engbert de Vegt (GIBO-BEKA)

For more photos go to

Just confirmed yesterday there is a natural ice race that is for all the A grade skaters held in Haaksbergen in the West of Netherlands on tonight. The natural ice race is on a 400 meter road circuit that has been flooded with water and frozen solid and because of the cold temperatures. The ice has to be a minimum of 8cm before an ice race can be held on it and like last year Haaksbergen is the first of year. The race is 125 laps which is over 40 kilometers. Starting for DSB Bank will be Shane Dobbin, Ingmar Berga, Jens Zwister and Arjan Smit. All six skaters can start but DSB Bank's other team members have been suffering with the winter flu. The ladies race starts at 19:00 and followed by the men's race at 20:00.

Keep posted for results online soon!

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