The European Long Track Speed Skating Championships get underway tomorrow with a squad of four GB skaters set to build on an incredibly impressive series of results at recent World Cups.
In the women’s side of the competition Ellia Smeding will skate in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m with Gemma Cooper competing in the Mass Start. Cornelius Kersten will race in the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m and Peter Riches has a spot in the Mass Start.
The major event comes in the same week that Kersten was unveiled as the first long track speed skater to be selected to represent Team GB in 30 years. There are just 29 days to go until the Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing.
The European Championships will be anything but a warm-up act for the Olympics, with some of the very best skaters from across Europe descending on Heerenveen, Netherlands to race.
Friday will see Kersten compete in the 1000m, his favoured distance at 19:42. Smeding will be on the ice at 13:49 in the 500m before retuning at 15:58 for the 1500m.
Sunday has a packed schedule for GB interests as Kersten skates the 1500m from 13:32, his partner and fellow coffee brewer Smeding follows from 14:21 in the 1000m. It’s a quick turnaround as the men’s 500m starts at 15:05 before the day is ended by both the women’s and men’s mass start. Gemma Cooper goes in the women’s race at 15:46 before Peter Riches races in the men’s Mass Start at 16:09.
You can watch every race live on the ISU YouTube channel. Eurosport will also broadcast the entire competition.