“I was never really in my comfort zone”, commented Kramer while looking back at the weekend in Canada. “I really had to fight hard to gain this title. In fact, that gives it a bit of extra sparkle, especially as it’s my seventh title. That really is great. It’s getting harder and harder for other skaters to match this number of titles. As long as I still enjoy all-round skating, I’ll keep doing it. And at the moment, that’s definitely still the case.”
Kramer intends to go after his eighth title next year in Berlin. “Next year, all-round will be very important for me again, which is why I want to improve my performance over all distances, although that’s perhaps the most difficult aspect. In fact, I’m not entirely happy about the level I reached this weekend. If I want to dominate the long distances, I need to raise my game.”
Encouraged by his teammate Douwe de Vries, Kramer achieved a time of 12:56.69 for the ten kilometres. Yuskov didn’t get further than 13:12.49, enabling the Russian to claim the silver in Calgary. The bronze went to Sverre Lunde Pedersen from Norway.
Kramer began Sunday evening with a shared third place for the 1,500 metres. He clocked exactly the same time for the skating mile as Bart Swings from Belgium. The gap between them and Yuskov, who won, was a narrow one at just 1.26 seconds (1:42.92 vs. 1:44.18). That didn’t stop Kramer being annoyed on finishing the race, during which a difficult crossover cost him valuable time.
“It’s a real shame. Of course Yuskov held back a bit in order to catch up with me later – I’d do the same. That’s the nature of the game, but I can’t afford to let it get that far”, Kramer admitted. “I should have held back a bit earlier, so that I didn’t have to do so at the crossover point. Or maybe I should have opened faster.”
Douwe de Vries
Douwe de Vries came 14th at the 1,500 metres. He came sixth at the 10,000 metres, with a time of 13:17.64. The 32-year-old skater from Friesland was allowed to start the final distance after Zbigniew Bródka cancelled.
“Fortunately, I was able to skate the ten kilometres after all. I didn’t manage to clock any great times this weekend, but I did finish sixth in the tournament. I’m pretty happy with that.”